Penn State History

The Nittany Valley Society proudly supports the creation and ongoing growth of Penn State’s first-ever, three-credit undergraduate course on the history of the University. This is a first-of-its-kind course among college and universities. Penn State joins Indiana University as the second of its kind in the Big Ten conference. You can read the story behind its development in our September 2016 column for Town&Gown. The course will be offered for the first time in Fall 2017:

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The course description reads:

This course examines in a selective fashion the history of Penn State. The time period extends from mid-19th century origins as the Farmers High School to the multi-faceted, modern research university of the early 21st century. The course will study the conduct, leadership and educational visions of notable Presidents and faculty; dimensions of student life (including student protest); race and gender relations; athletics; and the challenges of university life, research, and admissions in the post-World War II era. The Penn State experience will be examined in the context of larger historical developments in American higher education, student life and attitudes.

This course will take a distinctly historical angle: with emphasis placed on chronicling and evaluating change over time and thoughtful consideration of a diversity of voices and perspectives. A wide variety of primary and secondary readings will be assigned, and students will write several papers (including a short research paper). Undergraduates of all majors are welcome.

Through the generosity and leadership of Steve Garguilo, The Nittany Valley Society established an endowed fund that will support the course into perpetuity. With this effort, we will provide future generations of Penn Staters with a stronger sense of themselves and our world through studied consideration of their University’s story.

Those who are interested in supporting our work in this area are encouraged to contribute to Penn State’s Stephen D. Garguilo Nittany Valley Society University History Endowment in the College of Liberal Arts.

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Stephen D. Garguilo Nittany Valley Society University History Endowment in the College of Liberal Arts

Penn State- Legacy Statement

The Stephen D. Garguilo Nittany Valley Society University History Endowment in the College of the Liberal Arts is intended to provide flexible, sustaining financial support for curriculum development and enhancement related to Penn State history. Funds should defray expenses associated with academic examination and teaching of the institution’s history, including, but not limited to, enrichment and support for an undergraduate course in University history, adaptation of classroom materials for online delivery (e.g. expansion of course availability for Penn State World Campus students), updating of course curricula, and creation of new courses or other learning experiences related to Penn State’s history.

Steve Garguilo is an instigator and adventurer who has worked in and visited over 100 countries and has lived in the United States, Switzerland, India, and Kenya. He began his career working with two social entrepreneurship ventures in Nairobi called WishVast and Mashavu, both of which started out of Penn State. Now at Johnson & Johnson, Steve is focused on instigating a culture of innovation at the world’s largest, most broadly-based healthcare company. His role is to coach leaders in the company to pick themselves and make their ideas happen. After establishing TEDxPSU at Penn State, Steve also built the team that pioneered the first global, corporate TEDx program of its kind: TEDxJNJ. As an undergraduate, Steve served as President of the Penn State Blue Band and President of the IST Student Government. He joined The Nittany Valley Society’s Board of Directors in 2013.

Established in April of 2012, The Nittany Valley Society (nittanyvalley.org) is a non-profit cultural conservancy based in State College that is dedicated to cultivating appreciation for the history, customs, and spirit of the Nittany Valley, the Pennsylvania State University, and the surrounding communities. Through the establishment and sustained support of this endowment, The Nittany Valley Society seeks to provide future generations of Penn Staters with a stronger sense of themselves and our world through studied consideration of their University’s story.