Program History and Traditions

Program History and Traditions

Program History

I/O Psychology at Penn State has a long and prestigious tradition. Dr. Bruce V. Moore, the first person in the US to receive a PhD in the field, joined the Penn State faculty in 1921 and built a strong program. To this day the home of the Department of Psychology is the Bruce V. Moore Building, although the I/O program has been housed in several different buildings in recent years due to renovations to Moore.

Prominent academic and consultant Frank Landy joined in 1969 and helped to establish our strong program.   Jim Farr joined in 1971, Rick Jacobs joined in 1979. This strong base was complemented with Susan J. Simkins (formerly Mohammed) (1996), Alicia Grandey (1999), and more recently James LeBreton (2013), Rustin Meyer (2017), and Haylee Min (2021). The faculty are recognized not just in terms of research productivity but have also received national organizational awards and provide strong leadership.

Cultural Traditions

1st Year Party

Every spring semester, the 1st year I/O graduate students throw a party for their fellow students and faculty, complete with food, music, costumes (yes, the faculty dress up) and activities to go along with the evening’s theme.  This gives them a chance to work as a team, building cohesion, while also giving us a lively night out together.

SIOP Alumni Reception

At the annual Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology conference each spring, Penn State University hosts a reception for students, faculty, alumni, and invited friends of the program. The reception, which is planned by Penn State graduate students and funded by alumni and practicum funds, allows the Penn State I/O community to get together, catch up, and stay in touch, and is always a highlight of conference weekend.

Service Award

One of the best aspects of Penn State’s I/O program is the people, and we firmly believe that the people make the place. Each February graduate students nominate fellow graduate students whom they believe serve our program best, through informal advising, program leadership, or other OCBs. The winner from the prior year identifies the persons with the most nominations, and the faculty recognize these persons at our annual SIOP reception with a plaque, as well as a gift certificate to a local restaurant.

Service to the Community

Our students serve the IO program by volunteering for Service Chair roles, examples of I/O committees to be chaired are: Graduate Recruitment, Alumni Relations, and Public Relations, among others.

The IO students give back to the psychology department by mentoring undergraduates in labs, and providing departmental talks on graduate school expectations and selection.

In addition, as a program we have adopted a family in need each holiday season and donated gifts.


The Frank Landy fun run at SIOP was named for a former Penn State professor.  At his first memorial run (2011), we decided to honor his memory by running as a team.  We proceeded to continue this tradition in each year thereafter as well.  We hope to continue this tradition for many more years to come.

Landry Fun Run