Central Penn College - History of Central Penn

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Central Penn College's History

1881 - Present

Central Penn College traces its history to 1881, when Joseph N. Currey founded the Pennsylvania Business College at 307 Market Street in Harrisburg, Pa. For the next 89 years, a continuous series of career-oriented business colleges existed on Market Street in the heart of the business district of Harrisburg. Their main focus was always clearto provide a career-focused education.

Market StreetIn 1922, Professor William H. Hartsock was relieved from his position as head of the
accountancy department at the Harrisburg Business College/School of Commerce located at 15 S. Market Square. Numerous faculty and anywhere from 150 to 250 Harrisburg Business College students followed Professor Hartsock, who, on October 30 that same year, opened the doors to Central Pennsylvania Business College, less than three blocks away. By 1923, all predecessor institutions (Pennsylvania Business College, Harrisburg Business College/School of Commerce) were non-existent. Only Hartsock's Central Pennsylvania Business College survived.

In 1970, Central Pennsylvania Business School moved across the Susquehanna River to Summerdale, Pa. Bart and Jean Milano began the creation of the School's current suburban Summerdale campus, featuring all new structures that included academic buildings, apartment-style housing, and recreation facilities. The transition from business school to college began in 1977 when the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accredited Central Penn. In 1999, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognized Central Penn as a two-year college with degree-granting privileges. In December of 2000, Pennsylvania's Secretary of Education approved Central Penn College to operate as a four-year degree-granting college.

In 2002, the college doubled the size of its academic buildings with the opening of the Advanced Technology Education Center, which also houses The Conference Center at Central Penn College and Scoozi’s Café. Later that year, Henszey's Bridge, an 1869 wrought iron structure listed in the National Historic Register, was restored and placed in the center of the campus. It serves both practical and symbolic purposes. The Charles "T" Jones Leadership Library opened its doors in October 2002. In addition to serving Central Penn's academic needs, it houses a collection of personal development and leadership materials from many of the country's top motivational speakers and authors. Constructed in the spring of 2003, the Craiger C. Parker Amphitheatre showcases the college's core values and provides a scenic setting where outdoor classes and other activities can be held.

In 2004, Central Penn College began offering online as well as blended courses, and opened its first additional locationCentral Penn Lancaster. Located just off Route 30 near the heart of downtown Lancaster, Central Penn Lancaster currently serves adult students enrolled in associate and bachelor's degree completion programs in a variety of majors.

In 2005, Central Penn was granted permission from the Middle States Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to begin offering two fully-online bachelor's degree programs. Today, Central Penn's online offerings include 13 fully-online degree programs and three hybrid degree programs-provided through a blend of in-person and online instruction.

In 2006, the College completed a $1 million learning facility at its main campusfeaturing a crime lab, a physical therapist assistant lab, and a medical assisting lab. 

In October 2007, the new Student Fellowship Area opened when 1 1/2 acres were transformed into a beautiful outdoor setting with a large amphitheatre, a stage/performance area, a picnic area, and a plaza, all connected by macadam-stamped pathways. Professionally-designed landscaping, lighting, fencing, and a wrought iron archway add to this attractive campus addition. Also this year, the Central Penn College Education Foundation, which exists to help worthy students afford college, completed its $1 million Campaign for Scholarships.

In May 2009, Central Penn College opened an additional location in Lehigh Valley which serves as a bachelor's degree completion center for adult students. Central Penn Lehigh Valley is located in the Lehigh Valley Corporate Center in Bethlehem.

In March 2010, the Central Penn College Education Foundation announced its endowment passed the $2 million mark.  The foundation's scholarship endowment is currently valued at more than $3 million. Since 2002, nearly 800 Central Penn students have received scholarships through the foundation.

In June 2013, the College was granted approval to begin offering the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree program, further enhancing the College's commitment to career-focused education.

In 2014, Central Penn College celebrated the grand opening of The Underground, a new student union space. The Underground features a dance studio, fitness center, writing center, student lounge, offices, and the Capital BlueCross Theatre

Since 1881, Central Penn College has remained committed to providing a career-relevant education and professional atmosphere that best positions students for success. Central Penn’s supportive faculty and staff give students the personalized attention needed to eliminate boundaries, open new horizons and turn potential into career success.

Did You Know?

Henszey's Bridge

Henszey's Bridge - connecting the ATEC to the rest of our campus - originally crossed Trout Creek in Slatington, PA before being restored and moved to Central Penn's campus in 2002.

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