This year marks a “golden” anniversary for the Penn State College of Arts and Architecture. Established in January 1963, the college plans to recognize its 50th year by holding an anniversary celebration from April 4-7.
Joyce Hoffman, director of alumni relations and communications for the college, said the event’s planning committee is excited to have the opportunity to invite alumni to come back and visit campus again.
Events will include exhibitions, performances and lectures from all programs across the college. This year’s Arts Crawl, an annual festival run by Students Organizing the Multiple Arts that showcases student art, will also take place during the celebration.
Many of the events during the celebration are intended to benefit scholarship funds for current students, Mary Ann Stankiewicz, professor of art education, said.
“The alumni have the chance to come and reconnect with their experiences here, and at the same time making it possible for more students to gain an education,” Stankiewicz said.
The college’s accomplishments over the past half-century have been remarkably strong, Stankiewicz added.
“It may not seem like a long period of time, but this 50th anniversary represents the growing ambition of the university to serve the state very broadly,” Stankiewicz said.
While studying the arts at Penn State has been an option for students since the late 1800s, the various areas of study were spread throughout different colleges, including the College of Agricultural Sciences, the College of Engineering and the College of the Liberal Arts.
Programs such as architecture, music, theatre and fine arts weren’t united until 1963, when the College of Arts and Architecture was formed with just 440 students.
Fifty years later, the college educates about 1,700 students.
These numbers, though, don’t fully indicate the growth of the college’s reputation, said Amy Marshall, writer and editor for the College of Arts and Architecture.
“Penn State provides a central location where, in one weekend, you can go to the theater, go to a music recital and see a number of art exhibitions,” Marshall said. “The college has definitely played a big part in the arts and cultural environment of the university as a whole.”
Those interested in attending April’s celebration will need to register at aanda50.com. Until then, alumni are invited to share memories of their days as students of the college on the website.