Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in General Assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, that there be and is hereby erected and established, at the place which shall be designated by the authority, and as hereinafter provided, an institution for the education of youth in the various branches of sciences, learning, and practical agriculture, as they are connected with each other, by the name, style, and title of the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania.
That the institution shall be under the management and government of a board of trustees, of whom there shall be thirteen, and seven of whom shall be a quorum, competent to perform the duties hereinafter authorized and required.
That the Governor, Secretary of the Commonwealth, the president of the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society, and the principal of the institution, shall each be ex-officio a member of the board of trustees, and they, with Dr. Alfred L. Elwyn and Algernon S. Roberts, of the city of Philadelphia; H. N. McAllister, of the county of Centre; R. C. Walker, of the county of Allegheny; James Miles, of the county of Erie; John Strohm, of the county of Lancaster; A. O. Hiester, of the county of Dauphin; William Jessup, of the county of Susquehanna, and Frederick Watts, of the county of Cumberland, shall constitute the first Board of Trustees; which said trustees and their successors in office, are hereby erected and declared to be a body politic and corporate in law, with perpetual succession, by the name, style, and title of the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania, by which name and title the said trustees, and their successors, shall be able and capable in law to take by gift, grant, sale, or conveyance, by bequest, devise, or otherwise, any estate in any lands, tenements, and hereditaments, goods, chattels, or effects, and at pleasure to alien or otherwise dispose of the same to and for the use and purpose of the said institution: Provided, however, That the annual income of the said estate so held, shall at no time exceed twenty-five thousand dollars; and the said corporation shall, by the same name, have power to sue and be sued, and generally to do and transact all and every business touching or concerning the premises, or which shall be necessarily incidental thereto, and to hold, enjoy, and exercise all such powers, authorities, and jurisdiction as are customary within the colleges within this Commonwealth.
That the same trustees shall cause to be made a seal, with such device as they may think proper, and by and with which all the deeds, diplomas, certificates and acts of the institution shall be authenticated, and they may at their pleasure alter the same.
That at the first meeting of the board of trustees, the nine named, who are not ex-officio members, shall, by themselves and by lot, be divided into three classes of three each, numbered one, two, and three; the appointment hereby made of class number one, shall terminate on the first Monday of October, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-six; number two on the first Monday of October, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-seven, and number three on the first Monday of October, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight; and upon the termination of such office of such directors, to wit: On the first Monday of October in every year an election shall be held at the institution to supply their place, and such election shall be determined by the votes of the members of the executive committee of the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society, and the votes of three representatives duly chosen by each county agricultural society in this Commonwealth which shall have been organized at least three months preceding the time of election, and it shall be the duty of said board of trustees to appoint two of their number as judges to hold such election, to receive and count the votes, and return the same to the board of trustees with their certificate of the number of votes cast, and for whom, whereupon the said board shall determine who have received the highest number of votes, and who are thereby elected.
That on the second Thursday of June after the passage of this act, the board of trustees, who are hereby appointed, shall meet at Harrisburg, and proceed to the organization of an institution and selection of the most eligible site within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for its location, where they shall purchase or obtain by gift, grant, or otherwise, a tract of land containing at least two hundred acres, and not exceeding two thousand acres, upon which they shall procure such improvements and alterations to be made, as will make it an institution properly adapted to the instruction of youth in the art of farming according to the meaning and design of this act. They shall select and choose a principal for said institution, who, with such scientific attainments and capacity to teach as the board shall deem necessary, shall be a good practical farmer; he, with such other persons as shall, from time to time, be employed as teachers, shall comprise the faculty, under whose control the immediate management of the institution, and the instruction of all the youth committed to its care shall be, subject, however, to the revision and all the orders of the board of trustees; there shall be a quarterly meeting of the board of trustees at the institution, and as much oftener as shall be necessary, and they shall determine; the board shall have power to pass all such bylaws, ordinances, and rules as the good government of the institution shall require, and therein to prescribe what shall be taught to and what labor performed by the pupils, and generally to do and perform all such administrative acts as are usually performed by and within the appropriate duty of a board of trustees, and shall, by a secretary of their appointment, keep a minute of the proceedings and action of the board.
That it shall be the duty of the board of trustees as soon and as often as the exigencies of the case may require, in addition to the principal, to employ such other professors, teachers, or tutors as shall be qualified to impart to pupils under their charge a knowledge of the English language, grammar, geography, history, mathematics, chemistry, and such other branches of natural and exact science as will conduce to the proper education of a farmer; the pupils shall, themselves, at such proper times and seasons as shall be prescribed by the board of trustees, perform all the labor necessary in the cultivation of the farm, and shall thus be instructed and taught all things necessary to be known by a farmer.
That the board of trustees shall annually elect a treasurer, who shall receive and disburse the funds of the institution, and perform such other duties as shall be required of him, and from whom they shall take such security for the faithful performance of his duty as necessity shall require; and it shall be the duty of said board of trustees, annually, on or before the first of December, to make out a full and detailed account of the operations of the institution for the preceding year, and an account of all its receipts and disbursements, and report the same to the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society, who shall embody said report in the annual report which, by existing laws, the said society is bound to make and transmit to the Legislature on or before the first Monday of January each and every year.
That it shall be lawful for the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society to appropriate, out of their funds to the object of this act, a sum not exceeding ten thousand dollars, whenever the same shall be required, and to make such further appropriations, annually, out of their funds, as will aid in the prosecution of this object, and it shall be the duty and privilege of said society, at such time as they shall deem expedient by their committee, officers, or otherwise, to visit the said institution and examine into the details of its management.
That the act to incorporate the "Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania," approved the thirteenth day of April, Anno Domini, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four, be and the same is hereby repealed.
APPROVED -- The twenty-second day of February, A.D., 1855. James Pollock
Amendments to the Charter
This original charter has been amended a number of times. The major amendments are listed below.
05/01/1862 Name changed to The Agricultural College of Pennsylvania
01/26/1874 Name changed to The Pennsylvania State College
11/22/1875 Number of trustees increased to 23, providing for first trustees elected by alumni, and providing for participation of the mining and manufacturing associations in the Commonwealth in the election of trustees
04/25/1892 Changed date of annual election and beginning of term of office of elected trustees; specified right of alumni to vote would begin three years after graduation
03/24/1905 Number of trustees increased to 32 providing for 6 trustees to be appointed by the Governor and increasing to 9 the number elected by the alumni. Term of elected trustees to begin July 1; officers to be elected annually and an executive committee of not less than 3 nor more than 7 members to act during intervals between Board meetings
06/15/1915 Number of trustees decreased to 31 (the President of the State Agricultural Society and the Secretary of the State Board of Agriculture were replaced by the Secretary of Agriculture). Specified method of election of trustees by delegates from county agricultural and industrial interests
02/23/1925 Election of trustees to be held on such day and hour during commencement week as the Board may from time to time determine
06/24/1939 Increased number of trustees to 32 by adding the Secretary of Mines
07/19/1951 Separated the 12 trustees elected by delegates into two groups -- 6 to be elected by delegates from county agricultural societies and 6 to be elected by delegates from county industrial societies
11/13/1953 Name changed to The Pennsylvania State University
02/28/1958 Specified qualifications of electors of alumni trustees and procedures in conducting alumni elections; provided for an executive committee of nine members
09/23/1959 Provided for an executive committee of not less than 7 nor more than 11 members
09/28/1962 Amended procedure for alumni elections as a result of the term system