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Penn State History Lesson: On-Campus Building Names Part 2

It’s easy to look past the names of buildings on Penn State’s campus after being a student for so long. But haven’t you always wanted to know how such unique names became iconic Penn State nomenclature?

We dove into the archives in September and discovered the origins of some of the most well-known buildings on campus.

Sadly, though, every building on campus can’t be covered in one post. So, we are back with another Penn State history lesson to learn about the stories behind more building names across campus.

Pattee Library

The Pattee Library is named for Fred Lewis Pattee, author of the Penn State Alma Mater and professor of American literature at Penn State. Pattee wrote the Alma Mater in 1901 and worked as a professor at the university until 1928.

The library used to be located in what is now the Carnegie Building until construction was completed in 1940. The original library had a capacity of 50,000 books, but it took almost 34 years for the building to be overflowed. Thus, the library you know and love today was built.

HUB-Robeson Center

The Hetzel Union Building, more commonly referred to as the HUB, is named after Penn State’s 10th president, Ralph D. Hetzel. Hetzel served as university president from 1927 to 1947. The building was constructed in 1953 and opened to the public just two years later. The original building consisted of three floors and a basement and has been renovated several times since its opening.

The HUB was renamed the HUB-Robeson Center in 1999 after Paul Robeson for his contributions to the Civil Rights movement in 1986. The Robeson Center was originally located in the Walnut Building and was known as Penn State’s Black Cultural Center. The new Robeson Center then moved into the newly renovated HUB in 1999, giving it the name we see on the front of the building today.

Borland Building

Previously home to the Berkey Creamery, the Borland Building is named after the former head of the Department of Dairy Science, Andrew Borland. The building was originally called the Dairy Building when construction was completed in 1932, but the Board of Trustees changed the name to the Borland Laboratory Building in December 1958 upon his passing that year.

While plans for a new Creamery were being developed, Borland planted a time capsule in the building which was then opened in September 2006 when the Creamery moved to its current location in the Food Science Building. The capsule included bulletins, articles, and reports related to the Department of Dairy Science, as well as the script from the building’s dedication in 1932.

Hammond Building

Former College of Engineering Dean Harry Hammond is the namesake of the Hammond Building. Two years before construction was completed in 1960, Eric A. Walker, former Dean of the College of Engineering, recommended that a new engineering building should be constructed. Construction then began just one year later. The building was dedicated to Hammond on June 3, 1960.

Bryce Jordan Center

Home of the Penn State men’s and women’s basketball teams, the Bryce Jordan Center is named after the former president of Penn State, Bryce Jordan. Penn State became the 11th member of the Big Ten Conference in 1990, Jordan’s last year as president.

Construction of the Bryce Jordan Center broke ground in 1993 and was completed in 1996. Since then, the arena has been home to Penn State’s basketball teams and THON since 2007.

*Fun Fact: the music video for “The One” by The Backstreet Boys was filmed at the arena in 2000!*

Pegula Ice Arena

Penn State’s Pegula Ice Arena is named in honor of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Kim and Terry Pegula. The Pegulas donated $88 million to Penn State to help fund the construction of the arena and the creation of Penn State’s men’s and women’s Hockey Teams.

Penn State did not have a Division I hockey team before the Pegulas’ donation. Two years before the arena was opened in 2013, the university announced that the arena would be named in honor of the Pegulas, while the main lobby would be named after Paul and Nancy Silvis, who also contributed with a $1 million donation. Since its opening, Pegula Ice Arena has been the home of the Penn State hockey teams and hosted several NHL exhibition games.

Pollock Halls

You aren’t a true Penn Stater if you’ve never heard the name “Pollock” before.

James Pollock was the 13th governor of Pennsylvania from 1855 to 1858 and served for Pennsylvania in the House of Representatives from 1844 to 1849. Following his term as governor, Pollock was appointed as the director of the United States Mint under President Abraham Lincoln from 1861 to 1866, and then again under President Ulysses S. Grant from 1869 to 1873. He was also the first person in Congress to suggest the construction of a cross-continental railroad, connecting California and the East Coast.

You might be asking yourself at this point, “What does he have to do with Penn State, and why is his name almost everywhere on campus?” Pollock became one of the most significant figures in Penn State history when he signed the charter that founded Penn State in 1855!

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a sophomore accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the Rangers, Jets, Mets, and any Penn State athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Penn State and Rangers content.


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