The University that would become Penn State was founded in 1855 as an agricultural college. Several years later, it became a land-grant institution, having been granted an endowment through the state’s sale of certain government lands. Curriculum and outreach programs began immediately to expand, and the land-grant tradition of serving the common good through teaching, research, and public service became the Penn State mission.
Penn State’s history is one of making vital improvements in education at all levels, providing expertise on global issues, and arriving at solutions for a host of urgent social needs. The University and its people have put knowledge to work for society—through an extensive research enterprise, high-quality educational programs, extensive cultural assets, and a vast number of partnerships across the nation.