University House is the former home of Penn State’s presidents and their families that is now part of the university’s Hintz Family Alumni Center.
The two-story home is located on the south end of the Penn State campus, between Pollock Road and College Avenue. It was originally built for university President Evan Pugh, who died of typhoid fever a few months before it was completed.
The home’s architecture changed throughout the years to match current design trends and the preferences of the families who lived there. For example, a portico and columns were added in 1930 to mimic the plantation style made popular by the movie Gone with the Wind.
From 1864 through 1970, it was home to eleven university presidents. Penn State’s presidents used the home to entertain high-profile guests who visited campus, including Andrew Carnegie, Charles Schwab, and President Dwight Eisenhower, whose brother Milton was Penn State’s president from 1950-1956.
In the late 1960s, University House became a site for protests over the Vietnam War, civil rights, and other political issues, prompting Penn State’s Board of Trustees to move the president’s residence off campus. Today, the president’s home is the Schreyer House on Park Avenue in State College.
In 1997, Penn State alumnus Edward Hintz and his family donated $5 million to the university to begin University House’s transformation into the Hintz Family Alumni Center.
The project involved adding 28,000 square feet to the building for the offices of Penn State Alumni Association. The alumni center opened in April 2001 following two years of construction.
Penn State Alumni Association. University House History. University Park, Pa., 2021
Hopkins, Margaret. “Hintz Family Alumni Center Dedication Today – PSU Alumni Center Offers Grads a Place to Meet and Greet.” Centre Daily Times. April 21, 2001.
First Published: May 20, 2021
Last Modified: September 21, 2021