Address: University Park PA 16802
About Us / Pennsylvania State University History: Penn State, founded in 1855 as an agricultural college, admitted its first class in 1859. The Pennsylvania legislature designated Penn State as the Commonwealth?s sole land-grant institution in 1863, which eventually broadened the University?s mission to include teaching, research, and public service in many academic disciplines. Penn State has awarded more than a half-million degrees, and has been Pennsylvania?s largest source of baccalaureate degrees at least since the 1930s. Although the University is privately chartered by the Commonwealth, it was from the outset considered an ?instrumentality of the state,? that is, it carries out many of the functions of a public institution and promotes the general welfare of the citizenry.