Shenango kicks off 50th anniversary with alumni and friends celebration

On Saturday, Aug. 22, Penn State Shenango will kick off its 50th Anniversary with a double celebration. A Community Open House outside on the campus lawn from 3 to 5 p.m. will include live music by The Bootleggers, children's activities, refreshments, storytime, a community art show, tours of the campus, and more. This event is free and open to the public.

An Alumni and Friends event, to be held from 5 to 8 p.m., will include live music by Grant Street Exit, dinner, tours of the campus, a video montage of photos from the past 50 years, and a Penn State football raffle ticket drawing. There is a nominal $10 fee for the evening event. To register for the 5 to 8 p.m. event, call 724-983-2905 or visit Tickets for the Alumni and Friends event will not be sold on the day of the event. Note: Penn State Shenango will celebrate its 50th Anniversary kickoff the same day as WaterFire Sharon's second summer event in downtown Sharon. Come early and stay late for the fire lighting!

“We are really looking forward to having many of our alumni back on campus for the start of our 50th anniversary celebration,” stated Steve Hessmann, director of development and alumni relations. “It should be a great day with many things going on for both the young and older crowds. Penn State Shenango is here for our community, and on Aug. 22, we want to showcase the great things going on down here.”

Discussions that brought Penn State to this area began more than 50 years ago, when a group of local citizens had a dream of bringing an affordable college to the Shenango Valley so that students in the area could continue their education. Following the idea, in 1964, the Penn State Board of Trustees met with The Shenango Valley Citizens College Procurement Committee, and in 1965, the first students enrolled at the, then, Penn State Shenango Valley Campus, which occupied the east wing of Kennedy Christian High School for the first two years of operation.

Flash forward to 2015, and Penn State Shenango now sits on 14 acres in downtown Sharon as the only urban campus in the Penn State system. The campus offers both baccalaureate and associate degree programs. Many of its students complete their degrees without having to leave home.

During the past 50 years, the Shenango campus has completed millions of dollars of new building construction as well as major renovations, transforming the former Sharon City School District’s grade school and junior high, and the downtown North Flats area, into a state-of-the-art higher educational institution with up-to-date technology and computer labs, advanced chemistry and biology labs, a student-centered Great Hall and fitness center, a contemporary library and auditorium, a valued Academic Resource Center, modern offices, outside sitting and studying areas, as well as many other amenities.

“Our campus has transformed itself many times over the years,” said Campus Director Jo Anne Carrick. “Keeping with the small campus setting, we have modernized our buildings, constructed state-of-the-art labs and classrooms, and provided our students with beautiful areas to relax and workout. As we look at the next 50 years, we will continue to upgrade our campus facilities, establish new academic offerings, provide our students with opportunities only a Big Ten University is able to do, and collaborate with our local leaders and government in making our region an area where people want to live and learn.”     

In celebration of its 50 years, Penn State Shenango will be hosting more events throughout the academic year, including a 50th Anniversary Gala on March 31, 2016. For more information or a brochure, contact Liz Izenas at 724-983-2906 or Erika Jones at 724-983-2905.