Happy Valley Tops Rankings, Again

Written by Staff Writer

October 4, 2021

PHOTO: Penn State Live

HappyValley Industry is on a mission to tell the world that Happy Valley is the best place to work, live and play. Clearly, we’re not alone. The area has a long history of being ranked as one of the best communities in America, topping charts with a unique blend of low-stress, high-opportunity livability. So it comes as no surprise that the area has secured another top spot, this time in STEM.  

It’s number one for STEM graduates

During the 2019-20 academic year, Penn State awarded 6,473 undergraduate degrees in STEM fields, which is the highest number of all American universities, according to Forbes.

Trailing after Penn State are the University of California (Berkeley), Texas A&M University, Arizona State University and Purdue University, which each graduated more than 4,000 STEM majors in 2019-20. 

The Big Ten Conference makes up 40% of the universities in the top 20 schools for most STEM major degrees. Forbes also reported that “Penn State is one of only four universities that appears in both the STEM and business top 20s.” 

PHOTO: HappyValley Industry

It’s also top-rated for livability

Ever since Psychology Today named State College the least-stressed place in the country in 1988, the area has continued to make headlines for livability. 

“Ah, to be young and live in a rugged corner of the Alleghenies,” wrote National Geographic in 2011, when it named State College a top adventure town. 

Niche.com adds that Happy Valley’s Houserville is the number one place to buy a house in Pennsylvania, and number three in the country. Reason? A+ schools, low crime and a rural feel with close proximity to restaurants, coffee shops and parks. 

PHOTO: Steller Wood Products

Happy Valley’s ecosystem fosters world-changing industry

Forbes named State College as one of the “Best Small Places for Business and Careers” in 2019. It was also named one of the best U.S. cities for entrepreneurs to live and launch by Entrepreneur.com. 

CNNMoney names it as a top place to live and launch, due to “a highly educated workforce, a small-business development center and a strong source of innovation.”

Livability.com named State College to its top 10 best places for entrepreneurs, saying it’s particularly good at creating a competitive but nurturing environment for students to grow into their careers: “It’s known nationally for its startup assistance offerings with TechCelerator @ State College and Lion Launchpad. Additionally, entrepreneurs in State College can take advantage of organizations like the Centre Region Entrepreneur Network and the New Leaf Initiative.”

PHOTO: Penn State Live, Christie Clancey

Penn State continues to set the bar for excellence

According to the National Science Foundation, Penn State ranks first in the country in terms of research expertise in materials science, second in mechanical engineering and materials engineering, fourth in total engineering and fifth in industrial and manufacturing engineering, placing it above other top universities around the country such as John Hopkins University, MIT and the University of California at San Diego. 

The Wall Street Journal named Penn State alumni as a #1 choice with recruiters based on criteria of grads who were “best-trained and educated, and best able to succeed once hired.”

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