Penn State Abington

Penn State Abington is a commonwealth campus of the Pennsylvania State University and it is located in Abington, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. The campus is set on 45 acres (180,000 m2) of wooded land. The roughly 4000 undergraduate students (full-time and part-time students combined) are taught by a full-time staff of over 150 professors and teaching assistants.

Penn State Abington
Parent institution
Pennsylvania State University
ChancellorDamian Fernandez
PresidentEric J. Barron
Administrative staff
107 full-time
Undergraduatesapproximately 4000
Location, ,
United States
AffiliationsNEAC (NCAA Division III)
MascotNittany Lion

Several degree options are available at Penn State Abington. Students may start any of 160 Penn State baccalaureate programs at the Abington campus and complete them at another Penn State campus, including the main University Park campus. Two associate degree programs, 19 baccalaureate degree programs, and several continuing education programs designed for adult students are also available.[1] The athletics program has been granted full NCAA Division III status.


The Penn State Abington campus was originally developed in the early twentieth century as a private girls' school. It had been founded in 1850, as the education of girls began to receive attention and new institutions were established. It was located at two previous sites before this campus was developed. The school was founded by teachers Mary Bonney and Harriette A. Dillaye as The Chestnut Street Female Seminary in Philadelphia, serving girls from the ages of 12 through 18. It had a classical curriculum comparable to that of male seminaries of the time. With increasing enrollment and expansion to lower grades, by 1883 The Chestnut Street Female Seminary needed to find a campus that could accommodate the larger student body of nearly 100 students annually.

In 1883, banker Jay Cooke suffered financial hardship and needed a way to pay off his debts. He learned that Bonney and Dillaye were seeking expansion space for their school, which continued to attract new students. He recruited them to lease his mansion in Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia, for an annual rental of $15,000.[2]

Cooke had his mansion built in 1863. A successful banker, he had helped finance Union operations during the American Civil War. He named his estate Ogontz, in honor of a Native American chief from the Sandusky, Ohio area. During his childhood, Cooke had spent much time with Chief Ogontz and greatly admired the man. [3]

The seminary was renamed as The Ogontz School for Girls after its move that year to Cooke's mansion and estate. Bonney and Dillaye appointed two associate principals, Frances Bennett and Sylvia Eastman, to take on some of the responsibility for operations. The school had about 100 pupils annually. [3]

By 1900 Bennett had retired, and Sylvia Eastman became the sole principal. She encouraged Abby A. Sutherland, the headmistress, to develop her management skills. Later Eastman arranged to sell the school to her for four equal payments. In 1916, Sutherland completed her purchase of The Ogontz School under this agreement. She had worked at the school since 1902, when she was hired as an English teacher. She had already taught for eight years, three of them after graduating from Radcliffe College at Harvard University.[3]

The school continued to attract more students and, in 1916, Sutherland began looking for a larger site. She planned to add lower-school classes for younger girls. She sold the school's property in Cheltenham Township, and bought 54 acres (220,000 m2) of land in what Sutherland called the "beautiful park section in the hills of Rydal." When the school operations were moved to Abington Township, only the main building, known today as the Sutherland Building in her honor, had been completed. Soon after the move, the Rydal School, was constructed on the grounds in order to accommodate additional elementary grades. This structure is known today as the Rydal Building.

In this early twentieth-century period, Amelia Earhart, was studying as an upper school student, preparing to attend Bryn Mawr. She was the only alumna in the early years to become internationally known for her own achievements. She established her renown as a solo airplane pilot in the early aviation days. She was lost in 1937 on an around-the-world flight. Earhart did not graduate from the Ogontz School, leaving months before the ceremony in order to enlist as a nurse's aide at Spadina Military Hospital in Toronto, Canada.[3]

Penn State Abington

Changing mores reduced demand for this all-girls private school. In 1950 Sutherland donated the property and all facilities in Abington to Pennsylvania State University. Furnishings included a painting by Thomas Moran, an American artist to whom Jay Cooke had advanced money in 1873. The arrangement The campus became a site for some classes of Penn State and was known as Penn State Ogontz, after the private school's best-known name.

In 1995, this facility was renamed as Penn State Abington-Ogontz, to emphasize its relationship with the surrounding community. On July 1, 1997, the Penn State Ogontz campus was designated as a Penn State college and was renamed Penn State Abington.


Penn State Abington, known athletically as the Nittany Lions, is a full member of the NCAA Division III and participates in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).

Penn State Abington sponsors 13 intercollegiate sports. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, soccer and tennis; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.


Penn State Abington features a large library, modern laboratories, and computer facilities. Recreational areas include tennis courts, basketball courts, and baseball and soccer fields.

The major buildings on campus include the Sutherland, Lares, and Woodland buildings. (Only the first two predate the acquisition by Penn State.) Rydal is another of the original Ogontz buildings. Later buildings constructed by Penn State are Springhouse, Cloverly, and Hillcrest. There are also a Conference Center and an Athletics Building.

The Sutherland Building was built in 1915, and served as the original main building for The Ogontz School for Girls. Today it is a classroom building, and features a lecture hall, academic and student offices, academic advising spaces, a post office (cash only), and a tutoring facility. It had an indoor swimming pool but it did not meet current standards and the space was converted for use as a lecture hall. It also had a solarium, an addition adopted from Jay Cooke's mansion Ogontz.

Rydal houses multiple classrooms and the campus security offices. As part of the Ogontz School, it was used for lower-school classes.

The Lares Union Building was built in 1923 as the personal residence of Abby A. Sutherland, president of the Ogontz School. It has been adapted by Penn State Abington to serve as the student union building; its facilities include a cafeteria (managed by Culinart), bookstore (Barnes & Noble college), and a banquet room and multi-purpose room ("Lubert Commons"). It is used for student programs, student organization and government offices, the Office of Student Engagement & Leadership, the Career Development Center, and the Intersection.

The Woodland Building was constructed after the campus became part of Pennsylvania State University. This building features classrooms and a lecture hall, laboratories, a computer lab, and academic offices. It also features Penn State Abington's library, with a collection of nearly 60,000 volumes. The library is available for use by students, faculty, staff, alumni, and residents of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Springhouse houses a single classroom and storage. The Conference Center has classrooms. Cloverly houses offices and the counseling unit. Hillcrest is used only for storage. Athletics houses the athletic department and a gym. Also available are a multi-use field and tennis court (along with nearby facilities - Huntingdon Field) used by the athletic teams.

In 2017, Penn State Abington opened its first on-campus housing nearby, known as Lion's Gate, planned to house roughly 400 freshman. This establishes the campus as residential and not only for commuters. This college is also planning to construct a new student union and a new academic building within the next decade. An outdated campus building will be demolished to make way for a new building.


  1. Degree programs at Abington
  2. Quattrone, Frank (2016). Penn State Abington and the Ogontz School. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 9781467117425.
  3. "The Ogontz School for Girls, 1850-1950", Abington College Library, Penn State Abington, collections

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.