First-year baccalaureate applications for 2021 summer and fall admission are up 15% percent to 110,993, an all-time University record. International applications are down 2.7% (China is down 18%; other international apps up 20%). The test-optional program was implemented and 71.5% of Penn State first-year applicants used it, which was well beyond expectations. The current program extends through fall 2023 applications with planned assessment of impact in summer/fall 2022.
As of mid-July, the number of students who have accepted their offer of admission is 18,037, up 2% from this time last year. University Park is down 0.7%, the Commonwealth Campuses are up 5.6%, and the World Campus is down 0.2%. International first-year acceptances are down 14.1%, and transfer commitments are down 10.2%. Underrepresented first-year students are up 18.6%—it’s one of the largest underrepresented groups in University history.
John Brighton, former executive vice president and provost, died on June 28, 2021 at age 87. Highly sought after as a top-academic administrator in the United States, Dr. Brighton served from 1991 to 1999 as executive vice president and provost at Penn State.
The recently reconvened town-gown Task Force on Policing and Communities of Color, comprised of Penn State and local community leaders, released its 2021 report that provides new recommendations for improving the relationships among law enforcement and racially and ethnically minoritized groups. It also identified where more progress is needed. It can be found at https://www.dept.psu.edu/ur/newsdocuments/2021-Task-Force-on-Policing-and-Communities-of-Color_Draft-Report.pdf
This month, Penn State launched a national search for the University’s 19th president after a phased listening process in which students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and other community members provided feedback on the desired qualities and characteristics of the University’s next leader.
The three-acre Pollinator and Bird Garden at The Arboretum at Penn State is now open. This beautiful addition to the H.O.Smith Botanic Gardens increases garden space by more than 60%.
With the retirement of Madlyn Hanes, Kelly Austin, associate vice president for administration in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses, has been named interim senior vice president for Commonwealth Campuses and executive chancellor effective August 1.
Patrick Mather, a Penn State alumnus and the Richard E. Garman Dean of Engineering and professor of chemical engineering at Bucknell University, has been named the dean of Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College, effective Aug. 16.
Research and Awards
Melissa Manno, who will be a senior journalism major at Penn State this fall, claimed the individual national writing championship in the 61st annual William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s Journalism Awards Program. Along with the first-place finish she secured a $10,000 scholarship.
Fiscal Year 2020-21 was a record setting year for Sponsored Research Awards, up 9% over the previous year and 23% over the last five years.
An international team that includes Penn State biologist Iliana Baums has been awarded a $4 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to identify corals that are naturally resilient to climate change. This is one of four newly funded projects supported by the foundation that are focused on the conservation and restoration of coral reefs in the context of the climate crisis.
The National Science Foundation announced a renewal of funding for the Materials Innovation Platform (MIP) national user facility at Penn State’s Materials Research Institute, the Two-Dimensional Crystal Consortium (2DCC). The 2DCC is one of four MIPs in the United States and was awarded $20.1 million over five years, an increase of 13% above the initial award in 2016.
The Center for Healthy Aging’s Pathways T32 Training Program supports the next generation of scientists in identifying psychosocial determinants and biological pathways that regulate healthy and unhealthy aging. The program has received an additional five years of funding from the National Institute on Aging. The $2.2 million grant will support the training of 24 scientists in the field of aging over the next five years.
A new biomedical translational research lab at Penn State Behrend will support local medical clinical trials and expand research opportunities for students in the college’s new biochemistry and molecular biology minor. The lab, which was dedicated on June 24, also advances the Magee-Womens Research Institute of Erie, a $26 million women’s health initiative.
A team of Penn State-led researchers recently received a $1.2 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to build a search engine and other resources that can make the web safer for users by helping scientists scour billions of online documents to more efficiently collect and classify privacy documentation. The search engine — called PrivaSeer — will use a type of artificial intelligence to help researchers collect, review and analyze privacy documents and other related texts on the web.
Penn State Athletics continues its commitment to preparing students for a lifetime of impact with the introduction of the STATEment program to prepare students in the ever-changing college athletics landscape of Name, Image and Likeness. STATEment will aide students in understanding and growing their brand through meaningful education programs and an emphasis on entrepreneurship.
Penn State lettermen LaVar Arrington, Paul Posluszny and Steve Wisniewski have been selected as a part of the national ballot for the National Football Foundation's College Hall of Fame's Class of 2022. The trio of standouts have an opportunity to join 19 former Nittany Lion players and five Penn State coaches who have been inducted into the Hall.