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From Freshman Year To Now: What’s Changed?

With finals week coming to an end — and for seniors, their last week on campus as students — things are starting to get pretty nostalgic. While your four years of college may have felt incredibly quick, a lot has actually changed on campus and downtown. Here’s a look at some of the big things that have changed in the past four years:


The HUB saw a lot of construction these past four years, with the renovation finally opening in 2014. We saw the end of HUB Subs, but at least we gained Jamba Juice, McAllister’s Deli and the THON Store. (Editor’s Note: Despite these changes, we’ve received reports that the HUB is still not a playground.)

Findlay Commons

For most Penn State students, freshman year memories include eating at the Big Onion, Roxy’s, or Fresh Express in Findlay — but that all changed this year when the newly renovated Findlay Commons opened. We will never forget your buffalo chicken pizza, Big O.

IM Building

In the past four years, the IM building grew, and grew, and seems to just keeps growing.

eLion –> LionPATH

Yikes. LionPATH, can we not?

Angel –> Canvas

The switch from ANGEL to Canvas took place across the past two years, and the full switch isn’t even over yet. ANGEL will finally no longer be used starting this June. We’re pretty sure Penn State students won’t miss the trouble of using two course management systems.

University Presidents

Photo by Dave Cole

This year’s seniors have had two different University presidents; Rodney Erickson was here until 2014 when Eric Barron took over.

Football Coaches

This year’s seniors also saw two different football coaches. Bill O’Brien left after the 2013 football season, with James Franklin taking over the last three.

Football Jerseys

Seniors started Penn State with names on the back of football jerseys under Bill O’Brien, though they would eventually be removed in 2015. As best stated in the THON 2016 Line Dance, 5 home games all in a row // Names on jerseys had to go.

Bowl Games

The past four years have brought major changes for Penn State football. Four years ago, Penn State was under a bowl ban. Luckily for us, this ban was lifted in 2014 and Penn State took a trip to the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City. Against all odds, this year Penn State traveled to the Granddaddy of Them All in Pasadena.


Downtown State College changed tremendously over the past four years, specifically with the opening of the new Fraser Centre and Target downtown. While most students love the new Target, some feel it takes away from the small town vibe and the spirit of State College.

Sheetz On Pugh

Yet another addition to State College many students can’t live without now is Sheetz. The location was empty until 2015. We Philly folks are still waiting on you, Wawa.

G-Man –> Primanti’s

Frat favorite Gingerbread Man closed in 2014 to make way for Pittsburgh favorite Primanti Bros. in 2015.


Kildare’s closed last year in the wake of the new Rise development, which will eventually bring yet another high rise to downtown State College.

Canyon Pizza

The O.G. Canyon experience came to an end this year — you guessed it — for more high-rise development in State College. We will never forget sitting on your picnic tables and standing around on the corner, Canyon.


Countless changes occurred on campus and downtown over the past four years. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the Author

Joe Pickard

Former Onward State staffer, now just a washed-up alum. Find him at the Gaff.

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