Through the Years History & Traditions

The history of the Schreyer Honors College is rich with stories and milestones that build upon what Penn State has done for nearly two centuries — prepare generations of bright people for a lifetime of success. Our story endures through the lifetime achievements of our Scholar alumni and in the potential for future success being developed in our current students.

Mission & Vision Penn State History
William and Joan Schreyer, founders of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State

A Living Legacy Our History

Who We Are Our Traditions

Scholar receiving his medal at Medals Ceremony

Scholars Medal & Medals Ceremony

The Scholars Medal is a symbol of academic distinction and achievement. It is presented to graduating Scholars during the Schreyer Honors College's Medals Ceremony, traditionally held on the eve of Penn State's commencement exercises.

Designed by John A. Cook, professor emeritus of art, the medal features an agile lion with extended claws. This lion has become the University's symbol of intellectual excellence. The qualities of 'Scholarly Achievement', 'Integrity of Purpose', and 'Intellectual Curiosity' form the legend of the medal and define the field from which the lion gathers his strength.

Scholars celebrating when ringing the gong

The Gong

A tradition began in the University Scholars Program in 1990, when the ringing of a small brass bell signified the accomplishment of Scholars completing their thesis. This audible symbol of accomplishment often sparked applause and congratulatory words from Schreyer staff and other Scholars.

The bell was replaced in 2000 with the gong and tradition dictates that only Scholars who have completed their thesis have the right to hit the gong. The gong is also used to call the Medals Ceremony to order and is displayed prominently throughout the ceremony.

Scholars playing tug of war at SHO TIME
New Scholar Orientation Experiences

A welcoming and inclusive orientation to the Schreyer community for all new Scholars.

About Orientation
Scholar Tessa Sontheimer accepting the Scholar Involvement Award from Dean Peggy Johnson
Scholar Involvement Award

An award funded by Schreyer staff presented annually to a Scholar in recognition of their support of the College's initiatives.

Penn State Traditions

Want to learn more about Penn State and its history? You can read about the University's founding and development, discover the truth about campus legends, and count 50 ways Penn State has shaped the world.

Schreyer Scholar Connor Cassady

Being in Schreyer has pushed me further than I ever thought an undergraduate education could. I knew coming to Penn State that I would receive an amazing education with access to a multitude of state-of-the-art resources, but being a Scholar has allowed me to use this environment to maximize my potential and place my education in an ever-changing global community.

Connor Cassady ' 18 Mathematics

Through the Years History & Traditions

Mission & Vision Penn State History