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Better Know a Branch Campus: Penn State Greater Allegheny

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There are 24 campuses in the Penn State system. The one that gets the most attention is University Park, but what about the other 23? That’s where we come in with our newest 23 part series, Better Know a Branch Campus, inspired by Stephen Colbert’s Better Know a District. Next up: Penn State Greater Allegheny. 

Name: Penn State Greater Allegheny, The Great Ones! Which is either a reference to Wayne Gretzky or The Rock, depending on how much you like professional wrestling.

Chancellor: Curtiss E. Porter. However, he’s retiring this December after 14 years at the school. I nominate David R. Smith as his replacement.

Enrollment: 701 students, which makes it the third smallest branch campus in the Penn State system.

Location: McKeesport, PA. The campus is 16 miles from Pittsburgh, 132 miles from State College, and 289 miles from Philadelphia. McKeesport’s Wikipedia page has one of the most terrifying sections in the history of Wikipedia.

Sports: The Greater Allegheny Lions are one of many schools in the PSUAC. There are  ten teams that compete at Greater Allegheny — baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, women’s volleyball, and wrestling.

Fun Fact: WNBA Superstar Swin Cash is a native of McKeesport, PA. As for the school, it used to be called “Penn State McKeesport.” On that note…

History: BEAUTIFUL SEGUE. While the campus has been an official branch campus since 1952, Penn State has offered classes there dating back to 1934. However, in 1952, the campus developed an associate degree program, which officially established Penn State McKeesport as a branch campus.

In September of 2006, the Board of Trustees voted to change the campus’s name from “Penn State McKeesport” to “Penn State Greater Allegheny,” which became official in January 2007.

Right Now: The campus offers one on-campus dormitory, which looks like the kind of dorm that all of us had to live in as freshmen. There is also on-campus dining, which closes at 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and at 7:00 p.m. all other days of the week. I’m befuddled. That’s so unfortunate.

The campus has more than 40 full-time faculty members, along with six bachelors degrees, four associates degrees, and one online degree offered.

Story Time: One person emailed me, and he ended his email with, “I’m hoping that this campus is the most fucked up out of all the Commonwealth Campuses.” After reading his stories, I agree 100 percent. The stories are in no way, shape, or form appropriate for this post or, really, for anything. If you’d like to read them, feel free to email me and ask. I feel dirty. Here’s the only appropriate story I received:

“I was at PSU-GA for 2 years (2005-2007) before coming to University Park in 2007. I have lots of stories to tell. PSU-GA is 95% commuter campus and 5% people living in the dorm. I lived in the dorms for my 2 years because I was from out of state.

Some information for you if you don’t have it already, but PSU-GA was formally known as PSU-McKeesport. They changed the name in the Spring of 2007. Funny thing is the campus mostly resides in the town of White Oak not McKeesport. I think half the Frable building is in the town of McKeesport. The administration wanted to change the name to PSU-Allegheny County but turned down the name because people would confuse the campus with CCAC (Community College of Allegheny County)
  • I hated the fact that the campus was mostly a commuter campus because everyone left and there was nothing to do.
  • If you didn’t have a car you were stuck in the dorms.
  • Many of the residents that lived in the dorms were from the Pittsburgh area
  • This one time, some kid POOPED in the shower.”

Next Time: Penn State Harrisburg, The Capital College. Tons of people went there. Tons of people probably have stories. I want to read about them. Tell them to me.

Previous Better Know a Branch Campus features: AbingtonAltoonaBeaverBerksBrandywineDuBoisErie, Fayette.

Penn State - Pennsylvania State University is a land grant institution founded in 1855. Penn State is one of the country's most renowned public research universities and boasts an enrollment of about 100,000 students across its 24 campuses. Read more