On November 5th, Penn State Wilkes-Barre kicked off a yearlong celebration of the campus' Centennial Anniversary at the F.M. Kirby Center.
One of the oldest campuses in the Penn State system, Penn State Wilkes-Barre began its 100 years in the Wyoming Valley in the fall of 1916. After being contacted by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce and the newly established Wilkes-Barre Rotary Club, Penn State began to hold evening classes at Coughlin High School. Proposed as an engineering center that provided education to meet the needs of the local anthracite mining, the response from the local community was overwhelming and classes began with 150 students. From Coughlin, Penn State Wilkes-Barre moved into a semi-permanent space at the Guthrie Building which now houses InterMetro. The campus remained there until the mid-1960s when the current location in Lehman was donated by the Robinson family.
As part of the kick off celebration, Chancellor Charles Davis presented three replica Lion Shrines to representatives of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber, Wilkes-Barre Rotary, and Wilkes-Barre Area School District.
"We are presenting the iconic and revered symbol of the university, The Nittany Lion, as a token of our appreciation for the role each of these organizations played in helping to establish Penn State Wilkes-Barre," explained Davis. "We are lucky enough to be able to continue to support positive, thriving relationships with each of these organizations 100 years later."
Accepting the Lion Shrines were Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Wico van Genderen, Wilkes-Barre Rotary President Robert Lawrence, and Coughlin High School Principal Patrick Patte.
As part of the evening's celebration, Senator Lisa Baker presented a Senate Citation on behalf of herself and Senator John Yudichak. The campus also received citations from Governor Tom Wolf and Senator Robert Casey.
In addition to the community kick off, Penn State Wilkes-Barre also held a campus kick off where students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to donate items to the Centennial Time Capsule to be buried in the Spring of 2016. Celebrations will continue through 2016 with events planned such as the Penn State University Board of Trustees annual meeting and a closing Gala.