Central Penn College - History of Central Penn


Central Penn College's History

1881 - Present

Central Penn College traces its history to 1881, when Joseph N. Currey founded the Pennsylvania Business College at 307 Market Street in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. For the next 89 years, a continuous series of career-oriented business colleges existed on Market Street in the heart of the business district of Harrisburg. Their main focus was always clear - to provide career-oriented education.

Market StreetIn 1922, Professor William H. Hartsock was relieved from his position as head of the
accountancy department at the Harrisburg Business College/School of Commerce located at 15 S. Market Square. Numerous faculty and anywhere from 150 to 250 Harrisburg Business College students followed Professor Hartsock, who, on October 30 that same year, opened the doors to Central Pennsylvania Business College, less than three blocks away. By 1923, all predecessor institutions (Pennsylvania Business College, Harrisburg Business College/School of Commerce) were non-existent. Only Hartsock's Central Pennsylvania Business College survived.

In 1970, Central Pennsylvania Business School moved across the Susquehanna River to Summerdale, Pennsylvania. Bart and Jean Milano began the creation of the School's current suburban Harrisburg campus, featuring all new structures that included academic buildings, apartment-style housing, and recreation facilities. The transition from business school to college began in 1977 when the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accredited Central Penn. In 1999 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognized Central Penn as a two-year college with degree granting privileges. In December of 2000, Pennsylvania's Secretary of Education approved Central Penn College to operate as a four-year degree granting college.

In 2002, the College doubled the size of its academic buildings with the opening of the Advanced Technology Education Center, which also houses a conference center and restaurant. Later that year, Henszey's Bridge, an 1869 wrought iron structure listed in the National Historic Register, was restored and placed in the center of the campus. It serves both practical and symbolic purposes. The Charles "T" Jones Leadership Library opened its doors in October 2002. In addition to serving Central Penn's academic needs, it houses a collection of personal development and leadership materials from many of the country's top motivational speakers and authors. Constructed in the spring of 2003, the Craiger C. Parker Amphitheatre showcases the College's core values and provides a scenic setting where outdoor classes and other activities can be held.

In 2004, Central Penn College began offering online as well as blended courses, and opened its first additional location - Central Penn Lancaster. Located just off Route 30 near the heart of downtown Lancaster, Central Penn Lancaster currently serves adult students enrolled in bachelor's degree completion programs in a variety of majors.

In 2005, Central Penn was granted permission from the Middle States Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to begin offering two fully online bachelor's degree programs. Today, Central Penn's online offerings include 12 fully-online degree programs and three hybrid degree programs-provided through a blend of in-person and online instruction.

In 2006, the College completed a $1,000,000 learning facility at its main campus - featuring a crime lab, a physical therapist assistant lab, and a medical assisting lab. 

In October 2007, the new Student Fellowship Area opened when 1 1/2 acres were transformed into a beautiful outdoor setting with a large amphitheatre, a stage/performance area, a picnic area, and a plaza, all connected by macadam stamped pathways. Professionally designed landscaping, lighting, fencing, and a wrought iron archway add to this attractive campus addition. 

In May 2009, Central Penn College opened an additional location in Lehigh Valley which serves as a bachelor's degree completion center for adult students. Central Penn Lehigh Valley is located in the Lehigh Valley Corporate Center in Bethlehem.

In March 2010, the Central Penn College Education Foundation announced its endowment passed the $2 million mark. 

In June 2013, the College was granted approval to begin offering the Masters of Professional Studies (MPS) degree program, further enhancing the College's commitment to career-focused education.

Central Penn College is Harrisburg's private, residential co-educational college. In addition to academic buildings, conference center, library, historic bridge, and Craiger C. Parker Amphitheatre, the 35-acre campus includes furnished apartments, townhouses, recreational facilities, and a child development center. 

Educational offerings at Central Penn include a wide variety of high-quality, career-focused programs. Additional bachelor's degree programs continue to be submitted for review by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The College currently serves approximately 1,500 traditional-age residential and commuter students and working adults throughout Pennsylvania and beyond.

Did You Know?

Henszey's Bridge

Henszey's Bridge - connecting the ATEC to the rest of our campus - originally crossed Trout Creek in Slatington, PA before being restored and moved to Central Penn's campus in 2002.

Learn More About: