Statement for the Record - Honoring Penn State University
Pennsylvania State University is among the most recognizable institutions of our state.
The school is home to one of the country's most storied and successful college football programs.
Today, we celebrate its 150th anniversary, not for its football program, but for its service to our state and its world class academic traditions.
For even the football program, led ably by Joe Paterno, sets the academic standard for programs across the nation. It is part of an athletic department defined by excellence on and off the field.
Penn State graduated 80 percent of student-athletes from the entering class of 1996-97 within six years, compared to a national average of 62 percent for student-athletes at all Division I NCAA institutions.
The football team produced an especially noteworthy academic performance, with 86 percent of the freshmen entering in 1996-97 earning their degrees-significantly above the national rate of 54 percent.
Since 1854, when the school was founded as Farmers' High School, Penn State has revolutionized the way our state approaches farming and continues to be among the world's leaders in agricultural research and innovation.
Over the years, Penn State has expanded its offerings to include every serious academic discipline.
U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Graduate Schools 2004" places a number of Penn State programs among the nation's top ten, including supply chain/logistics, industrial/manufacturing engineering, materials engineering, nuclear engineering, agricultural engineering, higher education administration, administration/supervision, vocational/technical education, counseling services, ceramics, and rehabilitation counseling.
Penn State's Smeal College of Business has been ranked among the nation's top "Best Undergraduate Business Programs" at public universities.
The honors extend to undergraduate disciplines across the academic spectrum.
In 2003, 15 Penn State faculty or staff members received regular grants to lecture or conduct research abroad as Fulbright Scholars, more outgoing Fulbright grants than any other institution in the United States.
But the measure of a university extends beyond commencement day and even beyond the classroom or research lab.
A university's reputation in businesses and communities across the nation is carried and enhanced by that university's alumni.
Penn State has 466,000 living alumni worldwide, 240,000 of them in Pennsylvania.
The Penn State Alumni Association, formed in 1870, has more than 146,000 members, making it the largest dues-paying alumni association in the nation.
These men and women carry the standard for their alma mater and are proof of the world-class education Penn State students receive during the time on campus.
I am honored to join my colleagues in both House and Senate from the Keystone State in honoring Penn State and thanking its administrators, professors, students, and support personnel for offering a terrific education at a reasonable price to so many for so long.
It is an honor well-deserved.