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Pennsylvania Colleges

Pennsylvania Colleges


The State of Pennsylvania is rich with history, with architectural heritage and with natural beauty.  Philadelphia served as the focal point for the federal government – such as it was – from 1776 to 1800.  The tolerant religious views of the colony’s founder, William Penn, made the city a relaxed alternative to the Puritan ethos that guided Boston’s political leadership through much of the colonial period.  At the age of seventeen, Benjamin Franklin left his family’s home and his apprenticeship in Boston to make his way in the city of Philadelphia.  There he completed his study of the printing trade and began his career as printer, pamphleteer and political gadfly.


Philadelphia today is a city of one and a half million people and a string of affluent suburbs connected to the urban center by commuter rail: the famous “Mainline.”  Pennsylvania has no coastal connection to the Atlantic; it is the only one of the original thirteen colonies with no ocean access.  It does have the Delaware River flowing through it to the sea, however, and via the Delaware Philadelphia maintains a busy port.  South central Pennsylvania maintains large areas of agricultural activity as does the northwest corner of the state along the shores of Lake Erie. 


Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania are separated from the eastern portion by the Allegheny Mountains.  Pittsburgh was at one time an important steel manufacturing center and still manufacturers some types of specialty steel.  The city is also an important inland port, resting as it does where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio River.  Pennsylvania is still an important coal state, and the Pittsburgh port ships more tonnage in the form of coal barges headed down the Ohio than does the port in Philadelphia.


The south central region of the state, Lancaster County and its environs is where the Amish and a number of other small religious sects maintain the old ways in what is still a largely agricultural area.  It is also an important tourist area, as people are drawn to the countryside and the culture.  Philadelphia is also a popular tourist stop and Pennsylvania as a whole is an extremely popular tourist destination.  It is the seventh most visited state in the nation.


The state does not get hit as hard with the chilling, snow filled winters that its northern New England neighboring states endure.  The winters are cold, but the snow is sparser and doesn’t stay on the ground as long.  The summers can be humid and the Pennsylvania does not benefit from any onshore breezes that states along the coast might experience.  Summers are more moderate in the elevations of the Allegheny Range.


The University of Pennsylvania was founded by Benjamin Franklin and is today a member of the Ivy League.  The state’s larger university is Penn State, located in State College Pennsylvania.  Tuition there for out of state undergraduates is a little over $21,000.  Other schools include Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, Bucknell and Temple University.

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