State College, PAState College is the largest borough in Centre County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It is the principal city of theState College, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Centre County. As of the 2010 census, the borough population was 42,034.The town is a college town, dominated economically and demographically by the presence of the University Park campus of the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State).

State College evolved from village to town to serve the needs of the fledgling Pennsylvania State College, founded as the Farmers” High School of Pennsylvania in 1855. Since then, the school has grown into a major university, renamed in 1953 The Pennsylvania State University. State College was incorporated as a borough on August 29, 1896 and has since grown with the university, sharing a symbiotic relationship. In 1973 State College adopted a home rule charter which took effect in 1976. The areas outside of State College are filled with historic towns and villages, immense tracts of farmland, and an expanse of mountains and forests.

In 2010, State College was ranked as the third-safest metropolitan area in the United States by the CQ Press.

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)

Old Main

The Pennsylvania State University, commonly referred to as Penn State or PSU, is a public research university with campuses and facilities throughout the state of Pennsylvania, United States. Founded in 1855, the university has a threefold mission of teaching, research, and public service. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction and online delivery. Its University Park campus, the flagship campus, lies within the Borough of State College and College Township, Pennsylvania. The Penn State Dickinson School of Law has facilities located in both Carlisle and University Park and the College of Medicine is located in Hershey. Penn State has another 19 commonwealth campuses and 5 special-mission campuses located across the state.

Penn State University Park is ranked among the top 15 public universities nationally and is considered to be one of America”s Public Ivy universities, which recognizes top public research universities in the United States. Annual enrollment at the University Park campus totals more than 44,000 graduate and undergraduate students, making it one of the largest universities in the United States.

Penn State was an early leader in the movement for diversity, admitting its first two women in 1871 and its first African-American student in 1899. It was one of the first schools to insist on integration in athletics.

The university”s total enrollment in 2009-10 was approximately 94,300 across its 24 campuses and online through its World Campus. Penn State offers more than 160 majors among all its campuses  and administers a $1.52billion USD (as of April 30, 2010) endowment. The university”s research enterprise exceeded $765 million for the 2009-2009 fiscal year, and in fiscal year 2008 Penn State was ranked 11th among U.S. universities in research income by the National Science Foundation.

The university boasts the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (also known as THON), and has one of the top intercollegiate athletic programs in the nation.


Happy Valley

“Happy Valley” is sometimes used as a colloquialism for the State College area. Commentators referring to Penn State athletic events often give the location as “Happy Valley” rather than mentioning State College or the specific campus facility.

In a survey conducted in the late 1980s by Psychology Today, State College was ranked as one of the least stressful places in the United States. A more recent rating put State College 19th among “50 Smart Places to Live.”The same source states: “Sperling”s BestPlaces research group has previously ranked State College the No.1 safest small city in America, and Forbes, thanks in large part to the tremendous amount of research conducted at the University, listed State College among the top 10 smaller metro areas in which to start a career or business.”

In the August issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, State College received honorable mention in best music scenes throughout the country. Bands formed in State College include Cootie Brown, and Katsu.

There are dozens of interesting restaurants and bars unique to State College, most of which are concentrated in the downtown area along College Avenue and Beaver Avenue and their cross streets.

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, usually referred to as “Arts Fest”, is held downtown every July. The five-day festival features artists from around the country and draws more than 125,000 visitors. Many streets are closed off and lined with booths where people can buy paintings, pottery, jewelry, and a variety of other hand made goods. There are also numerous musical performances and plays to take in, and food vendors selling everything from funnel cakes to Indian cuisine.

Major events


Local Links