Norwood H. “Barney” Ewell

Norwood H. “Barney” Ewell thrilled track spectators from State College to London’s Wembley Stadium, where he won three medals at the 1948 Olympics. At Penn State, Ewell’s career inspired action on racial equity, leading students, faculty, and administrators to fight segregation in intercollegiate sports.

Aaron Levy

Aaron Levy portrait

Aaron Levy (1742-1815) was a Jewish immigrant who arrived in America from the Netherlands and donated land for a church and school in the Centre County village that became Aaronsburg in 1786. The goodwill behind the donation of the land to the group of German Christian immigrants who settled the community, along with a gift […]

John T. Biggers

John T. Biggers stands next to one of his murals

John T. Biggers was a muralist, educator, and Penn State alumnus who dedicated his work to establishing a sense of African American identity and pride through art. His murals, portraying rural Black laborers, can be seen at Penn State in the Burrowes Building and the Paul Robeson Center. Born on April 13, 1924, in Gastonia, […]

Jesse Arnelle

Hugh Jesse Arnelle was a two-sport star at Penn State, a distinguished corporate lawyer, and the first Black trustee of the university. The native of New Rochelle, New York, who went by his middle name, was recruited to Penn State in 1951 to play wide receiver for Coach Rip Engle’s football team. But it was […]

Sherman Lutz

Sherman Lutz in biplane

Sherman Lutz was an aviator, flight instructor, and advocate of commercial flight in Centre County. In 1932, he built an airport in Boalsburg that was primarily a flight school where he supervised the first solo flights of 476 pilots.

Edwin E. Sparks

Edwin Erle Sparks, Penn State’s eighth president, served from 1908 to 1920. Using his skills in outreach, he took advantage of the public’s growing appreciation for the value of Penn State programs to build the college’s popularity to levels never achieved before. Sparks was born in Newark, Ohio, in 1860 and earned a B.A. in […]

Leonard Rhone

Leonard Rhone was a farmer, Pennsylvania state legislator, and founder of the Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair. Rhone was born in 1838 in a log cabin built near Centre Hall by his grandfather. Rhone and his father Jacob rebuilt the family homestead into the Georgian-style estate they called Rhoneymede, a German-derived name meaning “Rhone’s […]

Mildred Settle Bunton

Group photo including Mildred Bunton

Mildred Settle Bunton was the first female student of color admitted to Penn State and the first to graduate from the university. She enrolled in 1929 as a transfer from the University of New Orleans and graduated in 1932 with a degree in home economics.

William G. Waring

William G. Waring was Principal of the Faculty and Professor of Horticulture at the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania. William Griffith Waring was born in Herefordshire, England, in 1816 and emigrated to Centre County where he became a teacher and a nurseryman, owning a farm in Oak Hall. Waring organized the first teachers institute in […]

Roland Curtin

Roland Curtin was founder of the Eagle Ironworks and patriarch of the Curtin family that included a son who was Pennsylvania’s governor during the Civil War. Curtin, a native of Ireland, moved to the Bald Eagle valley in 1797. He lived in Milesburg initially but later moved to Bellefonte, Centre County’s new seat of government, […]