Schreyer Honors College (SHC)at Penn State

Our History

Honors education has changed the face of Penn State. It is a proud tradition that endures through the lifetime achievements of Scholar alumni and in the potential for future success being developed in current students.

  • 1938: Atherton Hall Opens as Womens Dormitory

    Named after Frances Washburn Atherton (1836-1913), the wife of George Washington Atherton, the seventh president of the Penn State College

  • 1948: Simmons Hall Opens as Womens Dormitory

    Named after Lucretia Van Tuyl Simmons (1875-1942), who after earning a master’s degree from Penn State went on to become a faculty member, the Dean of Women, and eventually the head of the German department.

  • 1979: Dr. Paul Axt Named Director

    Dr. Paul Axt was chosen as the first director of the University Scholars Program, the predecessor to the Schreyer Honors College.

  • 1980: Inauguration of University Scholars Program

    The opening convocation welcomed 300 freshmen and sophomores to the program with an address by Ernest Boyer, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

  • Mid 1980s: University Scholars Program Enrollment Tops 1,400

  • Late 1980s: New Recruitment Strategy Formalized for University Scholars Program

    A University-wide Committee on Recruiting Academically Superior Students was established. Also, a new selection process was instituted for incoming freshmen Scholars that replaced exclusive use of high school grades and SAT scores with a full application including essays and teacher recommendations.

  • 1984: Atherton Hall Established as Honors Housing

    Atherton Hall established as Scholars Housing at University Park, marking a new phrases in the USP’s development and presence on campus.

  • 1985: Academic Excellence Scholarship (AES) Established

  • 1990: Program Size Reduced

    Recommendations from an external review committee reduced the program size to 1,450 students by 1994.

  • 1996: President Spanier Proposes Program Size Restoration

  • 1997: William A. and Joan Schreyer Establish Schreyer Honors College

    On September 12, 1997, William A. and Joan Schreyer presented Penn State with a $30 million landmark gift to establish the Schreyer Honors College.

  • 1998: Dr. Cheryl Achterberg Appointed Founding Dean

  • 2000: Administrative Offices Move to Atherton Hall

    Administrative offices moved from Willard Building to Atherton Hall. With dedicated staff in Atherton Hall, programs sponsored for residents established the living-learning community.

  • 2006: Dr. Christian M. M. Brady Named Dean

  • 2006: Schreyer Family Continues Support

    The Schreyer family continues its extraordinary support with a second $25 million gift to the college.

  • 2011: Scholars Establish The GLOBE Special Living Option

    74 Scholars move into newly remodeled rooms on a floor being called The GLOBE. The GLOBE is a special living option within honors housing on the lower-level of Simmons Hall for students sharing an interest in fostering global awareness.

  • 2012: William A. Schreyer Courtyard Dedicated

    The Atherton Hall courtyard was renovated through contributions from family members, friends, and colleagues of William A. Schreyer, the college’s founder who died at the age of 83 in January 2011.

  • 2016: Dr. Kathleen Bieschke Named Interim Dean

  • 2017: Dr. Peggy Johnson Named Dean

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