It was 1859, and in a remote patch of Pennsylvania countryside, the Farmers High School opened.
A visitor could have been forgiven for being less than impressed with the fledgling campus created five years earlier. Like a pyramid rising from the desert, Old Main stood five stories tall, built from limestone quarried nearby and surrounded by fields, stumps, boulders and muddy lanes. But other than a few auxiliary structures, there was little else for the 69 initial students. How times have changed. Today, 150 years after its charter by the state legislature, Penn State University has grown to be one of the nations largest, and best, institutions of higher education. Its system of campus locations statewide, including the College of Medicine at Hershey and the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, serves more than 83,000 students, with almost 42,000 at University Park alone. This book is about the history of what we now know as Penn State University.