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Better Know a Branch Campus: Penn State Harrisburg, The Capital College

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 Harrisburg, The Capital College.

Name: Penn State Harrisburg, The Capital College. The Fightin’ Hairs! Which sounds terrifying, but whatever.

Chancellor: Dr. Mukund Kulkarni

Enrollment: 3,577, which makes Harrisburg the second largest branch campus in the Penn State system, behind only Penn State Erie.

Location: The campus is actually in Middletown, PA, which makes Penn State Harrisburg no better than the people from West Chester saying they’re from Philadelphia (you know who you are). The campus is 100 miles from State College, 104 miles from Philadelphia, and 212 miles from Pittsburgh. The Capital College is closer to Washington, D.C. than it is Pittsburgh, which is cool, because America.

Sports: Harrisburg is the only branch campus that competes in an athletic conference without other Penn State teams, the Capital Athletic Conference, which actually has only one other Pennsylvania school (York College). This is also the first year the school has been in the CAC. There are 14 teams at the school — baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s track and field.

Fun Fact: There is a Neato Burrito ten minutes away from campus. For those unaware, Neato Burrito is a magical place where burritos are as big as my head, and as anyone who knows me can tell you, I have a massive head. Also, the city of Harrisburg gave us Penn State grad/UFC fighter/massive badass Phil Davis, along with friend of the site Newt Gingrich.

History: The Capital College, despite being huge, is the second youngest branch campus in the system, as it opened in 1966. Penn State Harrisburg is built on top of the site of the Olmsted Air Force Base and approved by the Board of Trustees in January of 1966.

Right Now: There are 362 professors at Harrisburg, and 237 of them are full time. Harrisburg offers 31 baccalaureate degrees, two associate degrees, 23 masters degrees, and three doctoral degrees.

As for housing, students are put into The Village Housing on campus. I highly recommend playing around with the virtual tour of the place. I’ve spent like 15 minutes in awe of how cool it looks, because I went to Altoona, and Altoona’s freshmen dorms are horrible.

Story Time: I got one email for story time from an old PSH Lion Ambassador. He included some cool facts that I didn’t include above so he could get the credit for them. Here are a few:

  • PSH has the second largest library in the PSU system (after UP)
  • Was the Olmsted Air Force Base before Penn State bought it for $1.
  • The air base was named for a air force balloon pilot who was killed after his balloon was struck by lighting in an international balloon race
  • Original airfield is now Harrisburg International Airport
  • Original Air Force admin building is the main classroom building (the Olmsted Building)
  • Has the first LEED Accredited Dorm (the 10,000 Dorm Bld) in the PSU system
  • Has a fallout shelter in the basement
  • Just opening a new fitness center addition to the gym
  • Currently building a new engineering building
  • Back to the air force thing, the original air force housing was demoed but the foundations are all there in an unused section of campus
  • The town of Middletown HATES the college (even though the college is the only reason the town isn’t bankrupt)

Next Time: Penn State Hazelton! I’ve known people who went to Hazelton. I’ve heard their stories. I want to hear yours. Lemme know about times you’ve gotten crazy at Penn State Hazy. (NOTE: That’s a phrase people I know from Hazelton like to say. I know, it’s lame)

Previous Better Know a Branch Campus features: AbingtonAltoonaBeaverBerksBrandywineDuBoisErieFayette, Greater Allegheny.

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