Penn State was the first college in the United States to award baccalaureate and graduate degrees in agriculture, the first to operate a nuclear reactor capable of reaching criticality, and the first to found a graduate program for Native Americans.
Pennsylvania State University should not be confused with the University of Pennsylvania (commonly referred to as "Penn"), another high-quality, research-oriented university located in Philadelphia. Penn State is a public school, while Penn is private.
Penn State's mascot is the Nittany Lion. They participate in the NCAA Division I-A and in the Big Ten Conference.