About Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Wilkes-Ba
We are... a “Big Ten” internationally renowned university close to home, offering baccalaureate and associate degrees and certificate programs taught by Penn State faculty.
We are... a teaching/learning/research institution for undergraduate education and for lifelong learning.
We are... a small campus with a big degree.
We are... a partner in educational collaborations to improve the quality of life for our community through contract training, enrichment programs and service projects.
We are... committed to the highest quality in teaching, research and scholarship, and service to our campus, our students, our communities, and our professions.
We are... Penn State.
In May of 1915, two Penn State graduates, reacting to the needs of the local anthracite mining industry, proposed the development of a Penn State engineering center in Wilkes-Barre. “King Coal” reigned supreme at that time in the Wyoming Valley and engineers were needed to improve mining methods and worker safety. The response from local citizens and civic organizations was overwhelming, and on November 7,1916, the Penn State Department of Engineering Extension began offering evening classes for 150 students in what is now Coughlin High School. The new Penn State Department of Engineering Extension offered courses in advanced mathematics, surveying, reinforced concrete and mechanics.
By 1923, three-year certificate programs were added in mechanical, electr ical, civil and mining engineering and later, three-year courses in aeronautical and textile engineering and a two-year course in air-conditioning were added.
During the years spanning World War II, the school, now known as The Pennsylvania State College Wilkes-Barre Technical School Center, offered tuition-free, government sponsored courses to train women and older men to replace the younger men in industry who joined the war effort. The non-credit college level courses trained workers already in war production to take over more highly skilled jobs. Women took the courses to help in the production of war materials.
Until 1947, all of the courses were offered exclusively in the evening. But, due to the persistent requests of returning veterans who wanted to earn a degree more quickly, four day-courses were initiated. The courses (business administration, building construction, industrial electricity, and mechanical and production tool design) were approved by the Veterans Administration under the "On-the-Job-Training" provisions of the G.I. Bill of Rights. Much of the success of the school can be attributed to the flexibility of its offerings. Programs were added and removed as demand directed.
Each passing year brought more change and growth to the school. In 1949, the Engineers’ Council for Professional Development recognized the engineering courses taught at the institute with accreditation. Then, during the 1953-54 academic year, the two-year program leading to an associate degree in engineering began. Thirty-nine students completed this program and were the first in the University to receive their associate degree in engineering. In 1957, the two-year Surveying Technology program was approved, the only one of its type in Pennsylvania. Today Penn State Wilkes-Barre is the only location in the commonwealth offering a baccalaureate degree in surveying.