Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

Penn State Behrend
Former names
  • Behrend Center (1948-1959)
  • Behrend Campus of Penn State (1959-1973)
  • Behrend College of the Pennsylvania State University (1973-1987)[1]
Type Public
Established 1948
Parent institution
Pennsylvania State University
Chancellor Ralph Ford
President Eric J. Barron
Academic staff
207 full-time
61 part-time
Students 5,050[2]
Location Erie, PA, USA
Campus 854 acres (3.46 km2)
Colors      Dark Royal Blue
Nickname Behrend Lions
Mascot Nittany Lion
Affiliations AMCC (NCAA Division III)

Penn State Behrend, is a state-related public university institution and a Commonwealth campus of Pennsylvania State University located in Erie, Pennsylvania. The college in recent years has added a number of facilities, including an athletics and recreation center (Junker Center), chapel and carillon (Smith Chapel), astronomy observatory, planetarium (Yahn Planetarium at Penn State Behrend), large residence halls (Ohio and Almy Halls), Knowledge Park at Penn State Behrend, a baseball and softball complex, and a soccer and lacrosse complex. The $30 million, 160,000-square-foot (15,000 m2) Jack Burke Research and Economic Development Center that houses the School of Engineering and the Sam and Irene Black School of Business opened in 2006. It features teaching and research labs, including the largest academic plastics lab in the United States.[4] In 2010, the $4 million Robert and Sally Metzgar Admissions and Alumni Center opened.[5]


In 1948, Mary Behrend, the widow of Hammermill Paper co-founder Otto Behrend, donated her 400-acre estate to Penn State for a freshman center. In 1953, it began offering two-year associate programs in engineering—the first degree programs of any sort that could be completed at a Penn State campus other than the main campus in State College. In 1959, Penn State founded the Commonwealth Campus system, and the Behrend Center became the Behrend Campus. In 1971, it became the first Commonwealth campus to offer four-year degrees. Two years later, it became an autonomous four-year institution, with its own dean (now titled as chancellor).


Students can complete 35 bachelor's degrees and 27 minors, three pre-professional programs, four master's degrees, four associate degrees, and a number of continuing education programs at Penn State Behrend. It also offers the first two years of more than 160 Penn State bachelor's degrees.

Bachelor's degrees

Accounting, B.S.; Arts Administration, B.A.; Biology, B.S.; Business Economics, B.S.; Chemistry, B.S.; Childhood and Early Adolescent Education, B.S., Communication, B.A.; Computer Engineering, B.S.; Computer Science, B.S.; Creative Writing, B.F.A; Economics, B.A.; Electrical Engineering, B.S.; Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology, B.S.; English, B.A.; Environmental Science, B.S.; Finance, B.S.; General Arts and Sciences, B.A.; History, B.A.; Industrial Engineering, B.S.; Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies, B.S.; International Business, B.S.; Management Information Systems, B.S.; Marketing, B.S.; Mathematics, B.S.; Mechanical Engineering, B.S.; Mechanical Engineering Technology, B.S.; Nursing, B.S., R.N. to B.S.; Physics, B.S.; Plastics Engineering Technology, B.S.; Political Science, B.A.; Project and Supply Chain Management, B.S.; Psychology, B.A., B.S.; Science, B.S.; Secondary Education Mathematics, B.S.; Software Engineering, B.S.

Associate Degrees

Electrical Engineering Technology, A.ENGT.; General Business, A.S.; Letters, Arts, and Sciences, A.A.; Mechanical Engineering Technology, A.ENGT.


Accounting; American Studies; Applied Economics; Biology; Chemistry; Civic and Community Engagement; Communication Arts and Mass Media; Computer Engineering; Computer Science; English; Finance; Game Development; German Studies; History; Management; Management Information Systems; Marketing; Mathematics; Operations and Supply Chain Management; Physics; Political Science; Psychological Science; Spanish; Statistics; Sustainability Leadership; Technical Sales; Transnational Perspectives; Women's Studies/Gender Studies

Pre-Professional Programs

Allied Health; Law; Medicine

Master's Degrees

Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.); Master of Manufacturing Management (M.M.M.); Master of Professional Accounting (MPAcc); Master of Project Management (M.P.M.)[6]

Student life

Student organizations

Some of the larger organizations at Penn State Behrend include the Lion Entertainment Board (LEB), the Student Government Association (SGA), the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Multi-Cultural Council (MCC), and the school newspaper, the Behrend Beacon.

The Lion Entertainment Board is responsible for bringing entertainment to Behrend's student population. There are weekly bands, comedians (some have included Mitch Fatel, Lewis Black, Jim Gaffigan), and other shows. In the past, bands brought to Behrend have included the Goo Goo Dolls (1998, 2010), Shaggy, The Clarks, Third Eye Blind (2008), The All-American Rejects and Shiny Toy Guns (2009),[7] Big Sean with Chevy Woods (2014),[8] and Lee Brice with The Cadillac Three, and Chase Bryant (2015).[9]

The Student Government Association (SGA) of Penn State Behrend is the governing body of the student population and of all student organizations on-campus. It is open to all students; elections are run twice a year - once in the fifth week of Fall semester, and again towards the last half of Spring semester. Students who are interested in politics, or want to represent their fellow students, normally run for Senator or as a Council Representative first, then later may run for an executive board seat (President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary).

The Multi-Cultural Council(MCC) organizes many groups to promote a multi-cultural environment, unity, and cooperation between groups at Behrend. The MCC is prominently located as a student organization in the Reed Union Building, and coordinates celebration of many different events, such as Martin Luther King Week, Hispanic and Black History Month, and many more.[10]

Student Media

The Behrend Beacon

Every week, The Behrend Beacon, which has its own website,, publishes stories regarding news events at Behrend, arts events both at the college and in Erie, and sports coverage on Behrend's athletes. It also provides an "Opinion" page for students to publish their own perspectives on political or local events. The "Opinion" page provides a student forum for ideas and debate. The paper also runs investigative articles written by Behrend journalists regarding current events or processes at the college.

Students from any and all majors, including mechanical engineering, chemistry, and meteorology, work on the paper. Usually, those interested in a Communication degree, focusing on journalism, will work for the newspaper in an effort to decide whether they want to pursue journalism as a career. Students normally start out as a staff writer, where they will get the opportunity to write news, sports or arts stories for the paper. Editor positions, which are paid positions, deal more with layout of the newspaper and organizing content for a specific section.[11]

BVZ Radio

The campus is also home to BVZ Radio - The Voice Of Behrend, an Online streaming radio station. The station officially launched on 11/11/11 and is managed by a student management team.

BVZ offers a wide variety of music formats including classic rock, pop, hip-hop, classical, dance and country. All show programming is produced by students. BVZ often hosts live events on The Behrend Campus and in The Erie Area.

Greek Organizations

Behrend has a Greek life system. There are four campus recognized social fraternities: Delta Chi, Kappa Delta Rho, Sigma Tau Gamma, and Triangle. There are four campus recognized social sororities: Alpha Sigma Alpha, Alpha Sigma Tau and Theta Phi Alpha, and Phi Sigma Rho.[12] There is one campus recognized professional fraternity: Delta Sigma Pi. There is also Gamma Sigma Sigma, a national service sorority, and Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed service fraternity, that are also recognized on campus.[13]

On-Campus living

Residence Halls are named after individuals and ships who fought for the American side in the Battle of Lake Erie. Most Behrend freshmen live in Lawrence, Niagara or Perry Halls. Some students live in Senat Hall, which is reserved for upperclassmen. Honors students live in Ohio Hall and Almy Hall.[14] Sophomores, juniors, and seniors often opt to live in 8 person/4 bedroom suites in Tiffany, Tigress, and Porcupine Halls.

On-campus apartments are also available at the Behrend Apartments, located in the upper section of the main campus area. These apartment buildings include Ariel Hall, Caledonia Hall, Champlin Hall, Elliott Hall, Packet Hall, Scorpion Hall, Somers Hall, Turner Hall, and Yarnall Hall.[15]

Off-Campus living

Many students find housing off-campus in the city of Erie or in other housing options within a few miles of the campus.

On-Campus Dining

There are six on-campus dining facilities: Dobbins Dining Hall; Bruno's Café, Paw's coffee shop, and The Galley, in the Reed Union Building; Clark Café in Burke Center; and Elements in the Science complex.


Class size

The student:teacher ratio is 16:1 at Penn State Behrend. The Behrend College has a total undergraduate enrollment of 3,943, with a gender distribution of 65.2 percent male students and 34.8 percent female students. During the first two semesters, many students may find themselves in bigger classes for some popular intro courses but classes decrease in size in their sophomore year.


Known as the Behrend Lions, Penn State Behrend men and women can compete in 11 varsity sports[17] . Penn State Behrend is a member of the NCAA Division III, Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) and Eastern College Athletic Conference.[18]



Club sports

Students also participate in four intercollegiate club teams, competing in ice hockey, rugby, and men's/women's lacrosse. The ice hockey team plays in the College Hockey East league and is a member of the ACHA.

Changing Assignment to University Park

The vast majority of students at Penn State Behrend stay at the college and do not change assignment to another Penn State campus. However, 20% of incoming freshmen eventually change assignment to University Park at the end of their second year in order to complete a program that Penn State Behrend does not offer.[19] In order to change assignment, a person must 1) declare a major by the end of their sophomore year 2) satisfy a few required classes for that major and 3) maintain a sufficient GPA. In most popular majors, about 5-9 specific courses need to be completed (usually a few introductory courses relevant to the major) and roughly a 3.0 GPA needs to be maintained. It is recommended that the student know what their major will be, what classes (if any) are required before changing assignment for their major and if they meet minimum GPA requirements by about third semester or earlier. This is beneficial because if a student is missing any courses or needs to boost their GPA, they can do so in their fourth semester and change assignment to the University Park campus easily and successfully.

Students who declare certain majors (architecture, agricultural business) can change assignment to University Park after their freshman year (instead of after their sophomore year which is more common) because the majors aren't offered at Behrend at all, or as in-depth as it is offered in University Park.

It should be noted that while many majors are offered in University Park and not Behrend, six majors are offered only at Behrend and not University Park: International Business (offered only as a minor at UP), Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies, Plastics Engineering Technology, Software Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology, and a BFA in Creative Writing. This is a major contributing reason why some students do not change campuses.

Knowledge Park

Knowledge Park is a 200-acre (0.81 km2) research and development area located on the campus of Penn State Behrend in a park-like setting. The park enables knowledge-based organizations to take advantage of the college's intellectual and physical resources as well as the resources of other colleges and universities in the region.

Points of interest

See also


  3. "Visual and Editorial Style Manual | Graphic Identity System". Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  5. Historical Timeline | Penn State Behrend
  10. Multi-Cultural Council
  11. Penn State Student Newspaper - The Behrend Beacon
  16. Penn State Behrend - Housing and Food Services
  19. Chancellor Jack Burke, "Newswatch Insider" on WSEE TV, June 17, 2007.

Coordinates: 42°07′10″N 79°59′20″W / 42.119402°N 79.988773°W / 42.119402; -79.988773

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