A Greater Penn State

With the support of our alumni and friends, we can fulfill our historic mission to serve the public good and create a better future for our students, the Commonwealth, and the world.

What does it take to be a leader in higher education today?

We know the answer, and it can be found in an even deeper commitment to our public, land-grant mission in the context of a rapidly changing world.

Designated in 1863 as Pennsylvania’s only land-grant institution, Penn State received funds from the sale of federal lands with the understanding that we would pursue education, research, and service for the common good. Philanthropy—support from private individuals, families, and leaders who believe in our mission—has always been vital to our success in fulfilling those land-grant values. We were founded on land donated by a Centre County businessman, and gifts throughout our history have helped to move us forward. The University launched its first real campaign, a $2 million initiative to raise construction funds, in the 1920s. That effort was called A Greater Penn State. As we approach a century since the University’s first campaign began, we are launching a new effort driven by an even more ambitious vision for the future of our institution: A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence.

The Opportunity

With an overall goal of $2.1 billion, this campaign invites Penn State’s alumni and friends to become our partners in fulfilling the three core imperatives of a public university: Open Doors, Create Transformative Experiences, and Impact the World.


Overall Progress
(as of 8/31/2020)

Open Doors

Private support can not only bring talented students from every background to Penn State—it can help them to graduate on time and on track to successful careers and lives. U.S. News & World Report predicts a Penn State graduation rate of only 71 percent based on the number of at-risk students we admit, but our actual graduation rate is 86 percent, distinguishing Penn State from every other highly ranked university. Yet only half of our students from the poorest households graduate within six years of enrollment. They work too many jobs and find it impossible to carry a full credit load, and if they finally graduate, they have taken longer, paid more, and received less than better-off students. We propose to take on the obligation of making sure that each student, regardless of heritage, individual characteristics, or financial well-being, has access to a timely degree and a true Penn State experience.

Create Transformative Experiences

Philanthropy will provide the opportunities—in our classrooms, on our campuses, and in the larger world—that let students and faculty discover their full potential and make a difference. We know how to deliver a curriculum. We are on the forefront of teaching excellence in the classroom and online through our top-ranked World Campus. But the capable delivery of content is not enough. We must distinguish Penn State through transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom, through a global perspective, readiness for the growing digital revolution, and an even deeper commitment to the arts and humanities.

Impact the World

With the visionary gifts of alumni and friends, we can tackle the world’s most pressing problems—and solve them. Public universities are distinguished by their dedication to serving the needs of society. We propose to become the leader in food, water, and energy security, ensuring that these resources are abundant, affordable, and safe; to tackle fundamental challenges associated with human health and well-being; and to realize our potential as a driver for economic development, job creation, and student career success. We intend to bring together the diverse breadth and depth of our powerful research and educational institution to address the enduring issues of our time.

Penn State is a great public university.

And we would not be Penn State if we did not aspire to be even stronger—to power Penn State to even greater heights.