August: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania releases appropriations for construction of a main academic building and a science and engineering building at Pitt-Bradford.


Construction begins in the fall on the town house-style dormitories, the first residence halls at the West Branch site.


January: Students move into some of the town houses. The Hangar, part of the old airport property, serves as a temporary cafeteria and student gathering place.

April 9: President Swarts announces his intention to retire at the end of spring term, but then agrees to stay on for another year while a search for his successor is conducted.

July-August: Pitt-Bradford is thrown into crisis after the company that is building the townhouse dormitories abruptly goes bankrupt, leaving crucial infrastructure and landscaping work undone. A federal bankruptcy trustee intervenes by authorizing the most important projects to go forward so that the college can provide housing for all students who need it.

Young President Dick McDowell

October: Pitt announces that Dr. Richard E. McDowell will be the next president of Pitt-Bradford. Chancellor Posvar also approves Robert B. Bromeley to be the next chair of the Bradford Campus Advisory Board, succeeding J. Bertram Fisher, who is stepping down.

November: The student literary journal Frameworks begins.


Pitt-Bradford gets its first student newspaper, the UPB News.

February: The Committee on Continuing Education, co-chaired by Elizabeth (Betty) Blaisdell and Jeanne Miller, is created to examine all aspects of Pitt-Bradford’s community outreach programs and services to nontraditional students. As part of its mission, the committee investigates the possibility offering four-year coursework at the Bradford campus and reports that the prospects are favorable.

Swarts Construction

July 19: Ground is broken for Swarts Hall, the first academic building at the West Branch campus.

December 13: Ground is broken for the science and engineering building, Fisher Hall.



The annual Robert C. Laing Creative Arts Awards are begun to honor students who demonstrate outstanding achievement in creative writing and the fine and performing arts.

Second Decade

June: The Second Decade Campaign, Pitt-Bradford’s second fundraising drive, is launched with a goal of securing $1,357,000 for scholarships, academic programs, and capital improvements.

Dedicating Swarts Hall

September: Swarts Hall, containing the college library, classrooms, and administrative offices, opens its doors.

December: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania authorizes funding for a “common facilities building” at Pitt-Bradford. The project was to include a new cafeteria, student union, and space for student activities and counseling programs.


Hamsher House is sold back to Bradford Hospital, ending Pitt-Bradford’s presence in downtown Bradford.

Bill Higie

January: William Higie succeeds Robert B. Bromeley as the chair of the Bradford Campus Advisory Board.

May: The Pitt Board of Trustees gives its seal of approval to a cooperative agreement between the university and a coalition of local governments (the City of Bradford, Foster Township, and Bradford Township) for joint development and use of the Onofrio Tract athletic fields with financial assistance from the state government.

Also in May, the Trustees authorize the regional campuses to offer two-year associate degrees.

Petroleum Technology

September: Classes begin in Pitt-Bradford’s first associate-degree program, Petroleum Engineering Technology, which prepares students to work as technicians in the oil and natural gas industries.

Working with Pitt’s School of General Studies in Pittsburgh, the Bradford campus begins its first four-year baccalaureate programs. Students can complete all the coursework for their majors at Pitt-Bradford, but will receive their degrees from the Pittsburgh campus. General Studies majors are initially geared toward adult students who can attend evening school.

Pitt Convocation


April 7: Pitt-Bradford holds its first Convocation ceremony.

September: Two garden-apartment-style residence halls are completed.

The Administrative Science major—the forerunner of Business Management—is launched in the fall of 1976 and quickly becomes the most popular four-year degree program on campus.


The annual Spectrum Series of cultural events begins.

McDowell Hall

August 29: Chancellor Posvar visits the campus for the dedication of the new Tom L. McDowell Hall gymnasium.


The Onofrio Tract athletic fields are finally completed and opened to both the campus community and local residents.

Dick Melka and Computers

Pitt-Bradford establishes a second associate-degree program, Computer Programming.

July 7: Groundbreaking takes place for the common facilities building.

September: Pitt-Bradford reveals that the Second Decade Campaign has brought in $1,577,665, once again exceeding expectations.

October: The college receives a three-year grant from the federal Appalachian Regional Commission to help cover the startup costs of a two-year associate-degree program in Nursing.

October 19: Pitt’s Board of Trustees endorses Pitt-Bradford’s request for authority to grant baccalaureate degrees, empowering the college to design its own four-year programs and to confer its own diplomas.


January 13: Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Carol Kline gives final approval to Pitt-Bradford’s newfound status as a baccalaureate-granting institution.

April 16: The Faculty Senate adopts the first mission statement for Pitt-Bradford.

Fall: Enrollment stands at 825 students. The Commons is completed, giving the students increased space for their organizations and activities.