Campus Timeline

Penn State Wilkes-Barre Timeline
Year Event
1916 A community group, working through the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club, asks Penn State to come to this area. Classes are held in what is now Coughlin High School on Washington Street. 150 students enroll in evening courses on surveying, reinforced concrete, mechanics, and advanced mathematics.
1922 Three-year courses are added in Mechanical, Electrical, Civil and Mining Engineering, creating the only Engineering Extension School in the region.
1936 The school changes its name to the ”Pennsylvania State College Wilkes-Barre Technical School Center.“
1946 The name of the school is changed to the ”Wyoming Valley Evening Technical Institute of the Pennsylvania State College.“
1947

Due to overcrowding because of the influx of new students enrolling under the GI Bill, daytime classes are added to the schedule; thus, the ”Wyoming Valley Technical Institute of the Pennsylvania State College“ is born.

1948 George W. Bierly is appointed administrative head of the Day School.
1950 Classes move to the Guthrie Building in Wilkes-Barre, now the headquarters for InterMetro Industries. The school’s name becomes the “Wilkes-Barre Center of the Pennsylvania State University.”
1953 Penn State's first two-year program designed to lead to an associate degree in Engineering is offered at the Wilkes-Barre Center.
1957 The first associate-degree woman student, Immaculata Comitz of Sugar Notch, enrolls for engineering courses; she subsequently earns her degree in 1959. Surveying Technology is added to the list of associate degree programs.
1964 Hayfield House, former residence of Mr. and Mrs. John N. Conyngham III, is given to the University by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Robinson to be developed into a permanent campus.
1967 More than 100 community leaders are on hand for the ground breaking on May 24 for a new classroom building on the Hayfield property.
1968 The campus moves. The first classes are held on the new Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus in Lehman.
1971 Academic program expands; the first two years of more than 100 of the baccalaureate degree majors offered by the University are now available at the Wilkes-Barre campus.
1973 Groundbreaking takes place for a Science Center to include an auditorium, laboratories, and much-needed classroom space.
1975 The Biomedical Equipment Technology program, first of its kind, is added to the curriculum.
1980 An associate degree in Telecommunications Technology is offered for the first time in the state of Pennsylvania.
George Bierly retires as director of the Campus, and the Science Center Auditorium is named in his honor.
1981 Dr. James H. Ryan is named Campus Executive Officer.
1982 A new campus-wide Academic Advising Center is opened. A two-year associate degree in Business Administration is added.
1984 The campus Alumni Constituent Society is initiated. A classroom building is converted into the campus library.
An annex is added to the Commons Building to provide a food service area, lounges, and the Penn State Bookstore.
1985 Funds for the Athletics and Recreation Building are released by the Commonwealth and planning begins.
1986 The campus' 70th Year celebration takes place; the Campaign for the Center for Technology begins; the Northern Tier campus in Towanda opens.
1987 For the first time, the campus offers an extended baccalaureate degree program that can be completed here: a bachelor of science in Electrical Engineering Technology.
1988 Center for Technology construction begins in June.
1989 Groundbreaking for Athletics and Recreation Building is held in May.
1990 The Bell Center for Technology opens for classes. The Friedman Observatory is dedicated.
1991 Dr. William A. Pearman is named campus executive officer. The Wilkes-Barre campus begins celebration of its 75th anniversary year. The new Athletic and Recreation Building is formally dedicated.
1994 Authorization to offer the baccalaureate degree in Surveying is received.
1997 Dr. Mary Hines is named campus executive officer.
2000 The campus receives authorization to offer the bachelor of science in business.
2001 Authorization to offer the bachelor of science in Information Science and Technology is received.
The campus offers degree programs for adults at its Kingston Center in collaboration with the Wyoming Valley West School District.
The campus celebrates its 85th Anniversary.
2002 Authorization to offer baccalaureate degree in Administration of Justice on extension from Penn State Fayette.
Authorization to offer baccalaureate degree in Letters, Arts, and Sciences is received.
2003 Authorization to offer associate degree in Nanofabrication Manufacturing Technology (with engineering/technology option) is received.
2004 The campus receives authorization to begin offering the baccalaureate degree in English.
The campus receives authorization to offer the baccalaureate degree in Administration of Justice.
2005 The campus is approved to offer the baccalaureate degree in Organizational Leadership (OLEAD), a degree program created exclusively for adult students.
2006 Dr. Charles Davis is named Chancellor.
Groundbreaking for the Abram Nesbitt III Academic Commons.
2008 In January, the Abram Nesbitt III Academic Commons opens. The facility includes several technology-equipped classrooms, a café, an art gallery, the Barry auditorium, and the new Nesbitt Library.
Work begins on the old Nesbitt Library building to convert it into a Student Services Center.
The John R. Murphy Student Services Center opens in the fall. It includes the Admissions, Career Services, Financial Aid, Advising, Student Success Services, Learning Center, Counseling, and Registrar offices.
2009 Campus begins offering a 5-campus Business degree program, collaborating with Scranton, Hazleton, Schuylkill, and Great Valley to offer joint courses remotely to students at all five campuses using distance education technologies.
2012 Groundbreaking for the Struthers Family Career Services Center.
2013 Struthers Family Career Services Center opens.
2015 First ”Undergraduate Research Day” is held; highlights research projects by students from all disciplines. Is re-named the ”Celebration of Scholarship” thereafter.
2017 Chancellor Charles Davis retires; Dr. Vernon Dale Jones is appointed as Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer.
2018 In the fall, the campus begins offering a bachelor’s degree in Project and Supply Chain Management, as well as in Rehabilitation and Human Services.