The Gutterman Center for Jewish Life

With a vision to create a new home for Penn State Hillel solidly in place, see the news below about the project:


Penn State Hillel to build new home in downtown State College

New 18,000-square-foot space to be “nerve center” of Jewish life on campus

Contact: Stefanie Tapper, Director of Development, Penn State Hillel, [email protected]

STATE COLLEGE – Penn State Hillel has long sought a downtown space on which to build a hub for campus Jewish life. Today, the organization is closer than ever to reaching its goal, with the announcement that Hillel will be expanding into an exciting new Beaver Avenue development in 2021.

Hillel enriches the lives of the estimated 5,000 Jewish students at Penn State in many meaningful ways, however, the lack of a permanent facility has limited its ability to fully serve Jewish students.

The newest development in the downtown district, which began site work this week at the corner of Garner Street and Beaver Avenue, will be the new hub for Jewish life at the Pennsylvania State University. The site, including the rest of the block toward Calder Way, will be home to a mixed-use development including student housing, retail, parking and Penn State Hillel. Penn State Hillel’s home will be at the top of the block along Beaver Avenue, covering the first two floors of that side.

“Hillel gives an abundance of incredible opportunities and experiences to a variety of different students so I can’t wait to see how that grows in a new, innovative space,” said Emilie Naidoff ’20, Penn State Hillel’s student president. “I will miss not being here to see the new facility open its doors, and I can’t wait to visit and see all the possibilities the new building brings to reality.”

The creation of an 18,000 square foot Hillel facility in downtown State College is critically important to Hillel’s success in reaching all Jewish students and helping them make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel.

“This is not just a building. We’re creating a nerve center to enable Jewish life, in all its varied forms, to thrive across campus and to expand our engagement with the entire Penn State community. Today, when countless opportunities and possibilities are available to students from every direction, Jewish life must be visible, authentic and attractive,” said Penn State Hillel Executive Director Aaron Kaufman.

Highlights of the new facility will include:

  •         Open and welcoming lounge and study spaces
  •         Innovative shared staff and student leadership workspace
  •         Flexible event spaces
  •         A private terrace

With the opening of the new facility in 2021, Penn State Hillel will have the resources to continue to create opportunities for all Jewish students to enhance their Jewish identities, during college and beyond. Close collaboration with Penn State University has been vital to Hillel’s success on campus and that relationship is evident in the construction of Hillel’s new downtown location.

Said Penn State University President Eric Barron: “Penn State Hillel has been a true partner in enhancing the campus experience for all of our students. It works to promote academic excellence, social justice, ethical leadership, and global citizenship. Hillel’s stellar record of service, involving students from every corner of campus, is a wonderful complement to Penn State students’ academic studies and helps to bind the Penn State family together. Penn State Hillel has long held a special place on our campus.”

In partnering with CA Student Living for construction, Penn State Hillel will focus on the engagement of Jewish students and the financial resource development program to sustain this important work.