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Who is the woman in Henry Varnum Poor's "Old Boys" fresco panel? (question 5)
Take the Penn State Sesquicentennial
Historical Trivia Quiz!

On February 22, 1855, Governor James Pollock signed the charter creating what is today The Pennsylvania State University. As part of Penn State’s sesquicentennial celebration, we invite you to test your knowledge of some lesser known aspects of the University’s past by taking the quiz below, prepared by the Advancement Projects department in the Office of University Relations.

After you take the quiz, you can get the answers here.

Thank you to the nearly 100 participants in our quiz contest! The winners are:
  • Current students: Andrew Latham, graduate student in chemistry
  • Faculty and Staff: Shelby Hoy, Office of Undergraduate Education
  • Alumni and Friends: John DeYoung PhD '75

Each will receive a copy of the book Raise the Song, published recently by the Penn State Alumni Association (Go to for more information about this handsome book.


1. If you were a Penn State student and made a date with someone to go to the TUB, where would you be going?

a. Temporary Union Building, along Shortlidge Road
b. Hot tub, notoriously located behind the Phi Delt house
c. Theater Under the Bridge, sponsored by the College of Arts and Architecture
d. The Underground Ball, a late 1960s-era social event

2. When Penn State was founded, the nearest large town was Bellefonte, the Centre County seat. Later, Bellefonte became known as “the home of governors,” having been the residence of five Pennsylvania chief executives. Which of the following names of Penn State residence halls does NOT honor one of these five governors?

a. Bigler Hall
b. Hastings Hall
c. Packer Hall
d. Walker Hall

3. Steel magnate and Penn State Trustee Andrew Carnegie gave $150,000 to the University for a new library, opened in 1904 and named in his honor. That same year, his wife, Louise, made a $25,000 gift to Penn State. For what purpose did she designate her gift?

a. purchase of a continuous caster for the School of Engineering’s mini-mill
b. a bas-relief depicting scenes from ancient Greece for the main reading room in Carnegie Library
c. the Carnegie Endowed Professorship in American Literature, to be held by Fred Lewis Pattee
d. the Louise Carnegie Scholarship Endowment

4. In the 1880s, which of the following was mined commercially on land that is now part of the University Park campus?

a. hematite
b. calcium carbonate
c. hearts of gold
d. bituminous coal

5. In Henry Varnum Poor’s famous land-grant frescoes in Old Main, the “Old Boys” panel shows nine men and one woman who were influential in shaping Penn State’s early history. Who is the woman?

a. Harriet McElwain
b. Rebecca Valentine Pugh
c. Mary McAllister Beaver
d. Mary Mapes McAllister

6. It is the current practice of Penn State’s Board of Trustees to honor past University presidents by naming a building on the University Park campus in their honor. Which of the following Penn State presidents does NOT have a building named for him?

a. John W. Oswald
b. George W. Atherton
c. Ralph D. Hetzel
d. Thomas H. Burrowes

7. In the early 1900s, Penn State Board of Trustees Chairman James A. Beaver spoke to a faculty assembly in Schwab Auditorium and gave them a severe scolding for doing what?

a. Cursing in class when women were present
b. Flunking undergraduates who were sons of state legislators
c. Trying to form a union to get a pay increase
d. Failing to attend mandatory Sunday chapel services

8. Early in their history, three Penn State campuses occupied mansions that were acquired as sites for permanent campus locations. Name these three campuses.

a. Uniontown, Shenango, and Schuylkill
b. DuBois, Hazleton, and Wilkes-Barre
c. Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick
d. Mont Alto, Harrisburg, and Allentown

9. The expert advice of Professor of Chemistry William Frear (1860-1922) helped persuade Congress to enact the nation’s first pure food and drug law in 1906. But Frear was well known among the faculty for giving what advice?

a. “Best to let Dr. Atherton decide.”
b. “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.”
c. “Never let the students see you sweat.”
d. “Vote the regular Republican ticket.”

10. For many years, Penn State students often traveled to and from State College aboard trains operated by the Bellefonte Central Railroad, which made connections at Bellefonte with long-distance trains of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Bellefonte Central ended regularly scheduled passenger service in 1946 but continued to handle special passenger trains for a number of years. When did the last such special train operate?

a. 1953, carrying President and Mrs. Dwight Eisenhower to campus to visit “Ike’s" brother Milton
b. 1961, carrying cadets and the Army mule for Nittany Lions vs. West Point football game
c. 1964, carrying University of Pittsburgh fans for a Nittany Lions vs. Pitt Panthers football game
d. 1970, carrying Milton Shapp, then campaigning to become governor of Pennsylvania

11. According to the Dean of Women in 1954, women undergraduates were permitted to wear “Bermuda shorts” on campus only under what circumstances?

a. none--shorts were prohibited as campus attire
b. on weekends
c. when playing tennis or other sports
d. within three days of shaving their legs

12. A few years ago, materials formerly stored in Coach Joe Paterno’s garage were donated to the Penn State University Libraries. What were these materials?

a. About 400 game films and videos
b. About 175 books on English literature
c. 16 boxes of correspondence and other personal papers
d. About 2,000 recipes for pasta sauce

13. Professor Ernest L. Nixon (uncle of U. S. President Richard M. Nixon) was among Penn State’s faculty “super stars” in the 1920s and 1930s, winning wide acclaim for his work in plant pathology. In news releases from Penn State’s Dept. of Public Information, he was often described as:

a. the Potato Wizard of Pennsylvania
b. Pennsylvania’s Apple Ambassador
c. the Tomato Titan of the Northeast
d. the Tamer of the Tent Caterpillar

14. Barbara Hackman Franklin, a 1962 graduate of Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts, went on to hold this high office in the federal government. Was she

a. head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
b. U. S. Secretary of Commerce
c. head of the Federal Highway Commission
d. Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

15. Calvin Waller earned a bachelor’s degree from Penn State in 1905, thus becoming the University’s first African American alumnus. Waller went on to have a distinguished career as

a. director of agricultural extension in the state of Texas
b. vice president of engineering for the Consolidation Coal Company
c. an actor who helped to break the color barrier in Vaudeville
d. a football coach at North Carolina A&M College

The Penn State Sesquicentennial web pages are maintained by the Office of Advancement Projects
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