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9 things you didn't know about Penn State Harrisburg

1. Penn State Harrisburg closed during the accident at Three Mile Island in March 1979. Students were less concerned about health and safety than over whether they would get reimbursed for the classes they missed, according to a campus newspaper article from the period.

2. Penn State Harrisburg seems old at 50, but it’s actually one of the youngest of the 24 campuses throughout the university. Among others, Penn State Berks turned 50 in 2008, Penn State Altoona was founded in 1939, and Penn State Wilkes Barre just turned 100.

3. Penn State Harrisburg is the only campus throughout the university located on a former military installation. Among the other campuses, Penn State Abington had been a girls’ school once attended by Amelia Earhart, and Penn State Altoona used to be an amusement park.

4. Then-Capitol Campus held its own “mini Woodstock” — the Harrisburg Rock Festival — in front of the Olmsted Building each year from 1971 to 1978. Emmylou Harris was among 12 featured performers in the first Harrisburg Rock Festival, attended by an estimated 15,000 people on Sunday, May 16, 1971. Also on the bill was Willow Mill Park, named for an amusement park located just outside Mechanicsburg.

5. The campus housing area known as Meade Heights was named for Camp Meade — a camp of 30,000 soldiers sent here during the Spanish-American War in 1898 to escape the typhoid outbreak in the southern United States. Camp Meade was named for Gen. George Gordon Meade, who commanded Union forces during the Battle of Gettysburg. 

6. The buildings on campus known as Wrisberg Hall and Church Hall are named for Capt. John H. Wrisberg Jr. and Capt. Kenneth L. Church, both of whom were stationed at Olmsted and who were killed when their C-123 aircraft crashed on a test flight near Loganville in York County.

7. Before Earth Day there was “Fertility Day,” an event held by Capitol Campus students on April 21, 1970 to beautify the campus.

8. The Capitol Campus yearbook was originally known as the “Capitolite.” The name was later changed to “Capitalite” when the campus itself changed its name from Capitol — with an “O” — Campus to Capital Campus with an “A.”

9. “Capitol” instead of “Capital” was at the urging of Gov. William Scranton, who sought to evoke comparisons of the campus and the state Capitol building in Harrisburg.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 16:26

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Campus history, from Gen. Meade to Three Dog Night

PennStaterockfestival WEBThe area in front of the Olmsted Building at Penn State Harrisburg looks a lot different during the 1972 Harrisburg Rock Festival then it does today.(From Penn State Harrisburg archives)


Longtime residents might think they know everything there is to know about Penn State Harrisburg, but they probably don’t know as much as Heidi Abbey Moyer.

The archivist and humanities reference librarian at Penn State Harrisburg has written a book in honor of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the campus upon the former Olmsted Air Force Base located just outside Middletown.

For example, did you know that Three Dog Night — a rock supergroup in the early 1970s if there ever was one — was to perform at a rock music festival at Penn State Harrisburg in 1971?

But the group ended up a no-show, most likely because the festival couldn’t or wouldn’t pay the $2,000 that Three Dog Night demanded for playing, according to an account that ran in the “Capitolist,” the student newspaper for what was then known as Capitol Campus.

This is among hundreds of little-known facts about Penn State Harrisburg in Moyer’s book.

The actual anniversary depends upon what date you consider most important.

You can go with Feb. 8, 1966, when the new “Capitol Campus” — not “Capital” by the way, as Moyer points out — was formally established. Or how about May 12, 1966, when the north complex of the base was officially transferred to the campus?

For the Air Force, the true end of the era was Aug. 28, 1966, when the base held its last formal retreat in front of the Olmsted Building and “symbolically as well as literally handed over the keys to Penn State,” Moyer said.

Others would point to the first day of classes — Oct. 3, 1966 — as the real anniversary.

To keep things simple, Penn State Harrisburg will celebrate the 50th anniversary with special events scheduled throughout the 2016-17 academic year. To learn more about that, go to

“We don’t necessarily pinpoint (one) day” to observe the anniversary, Moyer told the Press And Journal during a recent interview.

The raw material for the book — simply titled “Penn State Harrisburg” — lies in the college history archives, a permanent exhibit that Moyer can see from the window of her office on the third floor of the Penn State Harrisburg Library.

The college history archives totals about 150 to 200 cubic feet of material. It includes about 20,000 photographs, some of the best of which can be found in Moyer’s book.

Moyer grew up in Susquehanna Township, in the same house where her parents still live. She has a bachelor’s degree in art history and biology from Juniata College, a master’s in art history from the University of Maryland, and a master’s in library science specializing in archives and records management from the State University of New York at Albany.

She worked for several years as an archivist at the University of Connecticut before coming to Penn State Harrisburg in 2006 to be closer to her family.

She researched and wrote the book as a sabbatical project. Going on sabbatical allowed Moyer to exclusively devote herself to organizing the college history archives, aided by two part-time people whom Moyer hired through the university.

The office of Penn State Harrisburg Chancellor Mukund S. Kulkarni provided the financial support for Moyer to contract with Arcadia Publishing in South Carolina to publish the book.

“It was a pretty mammoth task,” Moyer said of the book project. “The whole idea of a sabbatical project is called the pause that refreshes, but in my case it didn’t really refresh much because I was here all the time. Normally when you do a sabbatical project you go off-site and you travel abroad or you go to a different part of the country. This sabbatical project was unique in that I spent all my time in the archives.”

The book goes far beyond establishing the campus, back to before the Civil War when what would become Olmsted Air Force Base was the farmland of Col. James Young. In that respect, Moyer’s work is as much a history of the base as it is of Penn State Harrisburg.

The story of the campus itself really begins with the Nov. 19, 1964 bombshell announcement from then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara calling for the closing of the base by 1969.

The news was considered a catastrophic economic body blow not just to Middletown but to the entire region, in that Olmsted at its height employed over 17,000 civilians and nearly 2,000 military personnel.

In July 1965 Gov. William Scranton contacted Dr. Eric A. Walker, then the president of Penn State University, to ask if the university would consider “repurposing” the Olmsted base into a graduate school to lesson the economic impact of the closing of the installation, according to the introduction to Moyer’s book.

The campus started with 18 undergraduate juniors and seniors and 165 graduate students. Today, Penn State Harrisburg boasts about 5,000 students who attend classes on campus, plus about another 2,000 enrolled who take classes online.

You can get the full story by purchasing “Penn State Harrisburg” by going to, or you can buy it at the campus bookstore in the new Student Enrichment Center.

Moyer will also be doing a book signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, in the new Student Enrichment Center. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 August 2016 15:00

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MAHS announces honor roll (fourth quarter 2015-16)

Here are the students named to the Distinguished Honor Roll and Honor Roll for Middletown Area High School in the fourth quarter of the 2015-16 school year.

Distinguished Honor Roll,
12th grade

Jenna Elizabeth Abbott, Rachel Lynn Applegate, Eric Michael Belles, Jalynn Tytianna Burton-Jones, Kassidy Leigh Deibler, Garrett A. Deyle, Taylor Leigh Kolish, Daniella Nada Kramarich, Gerardo Ortiz, Krinaben Pareshkumar Patel, Samantha Gene Romberger, Owen David Shank, Megan Ashley Shatto, Cassidy Lynne Snyder.

Distinguished Honor Roll,
11th grade

Connor Mathew Gambini, Blake Cole Gill, Lydia Grace Hursh, Shannon Rebecca Reese.

Distinguished Honor Roll,
10th grade

Ashley Marie Barni, Levi David Buckwalter, Rayshawn Dickey, Thomas Charles Einolf, Sarah Ann Fluke, Selim Tarik Jasic, Keely Ann Lombardi, Shelby Grace Luther, Richa Patel.

Distinguished Honor Roll,
9th grade

Hayli Grace Akakpo-Martin, Anna Katherine Buffington, Adriene Michelle Funck, Mason David Garza, Alexis Novalee Harmon, Terrance Duane Jefferson, Kayla Danielle Jorich, Kaitlyn Joy-Lee Knaub, Benjamin Edward Knisely, Shelby Jean Miller, Aayushi Patel, Jade Elise Senior, Aiden Matthew Sessa, Tyjanique Mikyha Ann Smith, William Joseph Stone.

Honor Roll, 12th grade

Kaitlyn Marie Allander, Samantha Marie Altland, Makayla Corinne Anderson, Morgan Elizabeth Baumbach, Katelynn May Beistline, Kaylee Hayden Berstler, Chloe Ruth Buckwalter, Charity Lynn Cooper, Megan Leigh Danilowicz, Morgan Lynn Danilowicz, Logan William Hunter Donicker, Alyssa Danielle Ebersole, Abigail Elizabeth Gipe, Jennifer Jewel Hardison, Brandon James Harper, Fabiola Xitlalli Hernandez, Antonia Renee Hiester, Katelynn Elaine Kennedy, Ammanda Marie Maldonado, Jordan Tyler Matter, Brooke Alexis Myers, Christian Nathaniel Nordai, Nathan Alexander Orris, Michael Lemayne Osayi, Sang Chin Pui, Jarred Michael Rife, Angela Mae Shields, Brooke Ashley Sides, Jordan Margaret Smith, Angelina Marie Spagnolo, Laddie Jay Springer, Iang N. Tial, Connor Hutchison Franklin Wallett, Ashley Weintraub, Nicole Marie Whittle, Ashley Nicole Wynkoop.

Honor Roll, 11th grade

Nikol Lee Burrows, Mitchell Bryce Carson, Mai Tuyet Dang, Elizabeth Ann DeVelin, Edwin Emilio Figueroa, Aaron James Fischer, James Thomas Fitzpatrick, Saul Garcia, Heidi Ann Gudoski, John Dennis Hursh, Bianca Hazel Jasper, Tauren Alexus Kleinfelter, Ian Matthew Knaub, Jessica Taylor Knisely, Ricki Jo Lear, Michael Scott Mattes, Marisa Lynn Mayhew, Luke Rodney Mrakovich, Caleb Amos Ocker, Eduardo Antonio Ortiz, Celeste Lamannix Osayi, Serena M. Rizk , Rowan Sessa, Michelle Rene Shields, Thomas Richard Staker, Braedon Thil Thomas.

 Honor Roll, 10th grade

David Paul Alcock, Hayley Samantha Baxter, Donovan Sleight Brady, Zoey Renee Bright, Zachery Adam Dailey, Brendan Scott Douglass, Deborah Renee Gantz, Madison Sarah Garber, Adrienne Elizabeth German, Caitlyn Rebecca Gingrich, Tierra Jeanne Golden, Alexandra Grace Hernandez, Jordina Christian Arlene Hughes, Ryan Christopher Hughes, Jacob Oluwadara Ademide Idowu, Morgan May Kennedy, Ashley Lynn Klein, Ivianna Marie Martnishn, Aaron Lamm McDevitt, Daniel Alejandro Mercado, Morgen Kelly Miller, Steven Craig Mosher, Nathaniel Patrick Nelson, Luisianette Osuba Rodriguez, Christian Lamont Plummer, Marissa Kathryn Redline, Matthew Robert Schopf, Kyle David Shatto, Amir Jabari Simmons, Zachary Scott Souders, Jacob Mitchell Spear, Alasia Capri Stevenson, Alayna Hope Thomas, Kyle James Truesdale, Gabriel Ryan Wisniewski, Zachary Tyler Zimmerman.

Honor Roll, 9th grade

Scott Jeffrey Ash, Lexi Lynn Baumbach, Ryan Dennis Berstler, Nathan M. Brady, Kashea Elizabeth Louise Brown, Joshuah Jacoby Burrows, Marie Nicole Chambers, Brayden Robert Erickson, Edward Albert Ruben Evans, Riley Eliot Favinger, Devon Marie Finsterbush, Keasia Jamir Jeffries, Sierra Aminata Kamara, Alexandria Noel Kennedy, Morgan Denise Killen, Jocilyn Aliana Koser, Anthony Joseph LaVia, Ceajay Hope Lawrence, Ethan William Miller, Renee Peterson, Steven James Scott, Jaxson Taylor Senior, Melena Soto, Jamesha Thomas-McDonald, Jesse Nicholas Bosch Van Eik, Clayton David Wagner, Jenna Wagner, Hannah Paige Wilsbach, Abigail Marie Wisniewski, Lynnsey Marie Woodley, Noah Thomas Yeich, Lexi Nicole Zimmer.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 August 2016 13:13

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