First-year baccalaureate applications for 2021 summer and fall admission are up 15.06% percent with 108,400 applications received so far. The combined direct and referral applications for Commonwealth Campuses are up 6.88%, an increase of 1,377 applications, for a total of 21,398. At University Park applications are up 17.12% for a total of 85,974. The remaining applications are to World Campus, which has seen a 30.46% increase in the number of first-year baccalaureate applications for a total of 1,028 applications.
Offers of admission are ahead by 13,506 offers, an increase of 18.25% over last year.
As of May 3, the number of students who have accepted their offer at a Commonwealth Campus is 7,230 applicants up by 20.62% over 2020. University Park has 9,458 students who have accepted, up by 1.89% (175 students) compared to 2020. For World Campus, 368 applicants have accepted their offer, an increase of 17.57% compared to 2020.
Penn State will celebrate the accomplishments of its graduates during its spring 2021 commencement ceremonies, May 7- 9. This spring the University expects to award approximately 14,400 diplomas to students University-wide who are completing 206 associate, 11,807 baccalaureate, 1,756 master's, 214 law, 236 doctoral, and 183 medical degrees. Totals do not include the Pennsylvania College of Technology. Penn State campuses across the commonwealth will be hosting a combination of in-person and virtual events.
The 2021 Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) raised over $10.6 million for Four Diamonds at Penn State Children’s Hospital.
Penn State will award cash grants to more than 23,000 students under federal COVID-19 relief funding allocated to the University from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II, part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act that was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020. The grants will be awarded to students based on financial need, as determined by the 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Students who are Pell Grant-eligible will each be offered $1,200, and all other students identified for aid will be offered $1,000 grants.
Faye A. Chadwell began her tenure as dean of Penn State University Libraries and Scholarly Communications on March 1, 2021. In her new role at the helm of Penn State’s information resources enterprise, Chadwell will provide vision and leadership to support and strengthen the University Libraries and advance its national and global reputation as a premier public research library.
Shara McCallum, liberal arts professor of English in the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts, has been named Penn State Laureate for the 2021-22 academic year.
Penn State ranked fourth in the U.S. and 32nd in the world out of 1115 international institutions that participated in the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings, placing the University in the top 3% of universities worldwide.
Research and Awards
This spring, three Penn State faculty members were elected to the National Academy of Sciences. That’s more than any other land-grant university, except the University of California system. The new members are: Nina Jablonski, Evan Pugh University Professor of Anthropology; Jainendra Jain, Evan Pugh University Professor and Erwin W. Mueller Professor of Physics; and Peter Mészáros, Eberly Chair Professor Emeritus, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Evan Pugh University Professor and Eberly Chair in Chemistry Steve Benkovic was elected to the Royal Society in the U.K. He now is one of the handful of scholars and scientists EVER to have been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, and to have received the U.S. National Medal of Science.
Kristina Guild Douglass, Douglas S. and Joyce L. Sherwin Early Career Professor in Penn State’s Rock Ethics Institute and assistant professor of anthropology and African studies, has been named a 2021 Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. She is one of only 26 scholars nationwide selected for this honor in 2021.
Arizona Shreck, a first-year student majoring in kinesiology at Penn State Berks, was recently awarded the Penn State Student Engagement Remote Innovation Grant in support of her research on heart rate variability, measured by the Oura Ring, a ring that combines advanced sensor technology with a mobile app to deliver precise, personalized health insights from the body.
The Invent Penn State Venture & IP Conference, one of the largest tech startup conferences in the mid-Atlantic region, virtually hosted more than 500 attendees April 15-16. Drawing more than 80 startups and more than 50 venture capital investors from across the country, the conference highlighted innovations from high growth and emerging markets to promote collaboration, investment and startup acceleration. The conference’s popular Venture Connection “speed-dating” platform hosted over 600 meetings between investment seeking startups and venture capital investors.
A newly founded, interdisciplinary research center established to further foundational and applied artificial intelligence (AI) in engineered systems will bring together expertise from 75 researchers representing 24 academic units across Penn State. The center, funded and supported by the University and housed in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is part of Penn State’s new AI Hub to facilitate internal collaborations, technology transition and external engagement. Vijaykrishnan Narayanan, A. Robert Noll Chair of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering in the School of EECS, will serve as the founding director of the Center for Artificial Intelligence Foundations and Engineered Systems (CAFE).
The Brook J. Lenfest Foundation, in partnership with the Philadelphia Foundation, has committed up to $630,000 to Penn State as part of the Lenfest "Immensitas" Scholars Program, which will provide scholarship support for youth from the Philadelphia region in foster care and aging out of foster care. The gift will fund a three-year pilot, and the University will complement it with $375,000 in support from existing scholarship funds.
The Big Ten Conference announced Wednesday, March 17 that 106 Penn State student-athletes earned Winter Academic All-Big Ten honors. The 106 honorees are the highest Penn State total since 91 student-athletes claimed honors in 2019.
Despite irregular season schedules, the Nittany Lions have had many impressive team performances this spring: the men’s volleyball team clinched the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association championship; and both the men’s and women’s soccer teams earned bids to the NCAA tournament.
The Penn State Golf Courses were named a 2020 Top 50 public facility by the Golf Range Association of America earlier this year.