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Penn State University has a long and storied tradition that dates back to 1855 when the school was born as a small agricultural college called the Farmers’ High School.

In the 158 years since its founding, the University has made quite a successful name for itself in athletics, academics and other areas.

Here are 10 fun and interesting facts you likely didn’t know about Dear Old State.

  • The Berkey Creamery is the largest University creamery in the world. 4.5 million pounds of milk passes through the Creamery each year thanks, in part, to a herd of 225 cows on Penn State’s dairy production research center.
  • Creamery ice cream is so fresh, that it’s served, on average, four days after the milk is produced from the cow.
  • With 560,658 graduates, Penn State has the largest alumni base in the world. With 169,209 dues-paying members, it’s also the largest alumni network in the world.
  • Penn State has produced as many Nobel Peace Prize winners as Heisman Trophy winners. Paul Berg, class of 1948 won the Nobel Peace Prize in chemistry in 1980. Running back John Cappelletti won the football program’s only Heisman in 1973.
  • Penn State is not state owned, it is “state related.” It was incorporated as a private entity in 1855, but the Board of Trustees included government officials including the governor.
  • Penn State’s original school colors were not blue and white, but rather pink and black. In the past several years, the Penn State football homecoming game has paid homage to the school’s roots, by having the students in the S-Zone wear black and pink shirts.
  • The student body chose Penn State’s athletic symbol, the Nittany Lion, in 1906. Penn State is believed to be the first school to adopt the lion as a mascot.
  • But the Nittany Lion was not the original Penn State mascot. A mule named Old Coaly, used during the construction of Old Main, was bought for $190 in 1863. Coaly then quickly became a favorite among the student population and served as an informal mascot until his death in 1893.
  • Beaver Stadium has an official capacity of 106,572 making it the fourth-largest stadium in the world and second largest in the western hemisphere.
  • Penn State’s official motto is “Making Life Better.”

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