On this 4th of July holiday, wouldn't it be great to travel to Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell?  Well, we can't all do that.  But, how about a trip to Penn State Behrend?   

Step inside the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center (AMIC) on campus and you will see a full-sized replica of the famous Philadelphia bell.  The bell had been on display at Penn State's University Park campus since 1996. Two years ago, the folks in State College made an unusual and surprising request to their counterparts in Erie.

Amy Bridger, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy at Penn State Behrend, says the request came by telephone.  She remembers what was said.

"Hey, we have this bell.  We were wondering if you might like to bring it up to Behrend,” recalls Amy. 

Amy, and others, thought it would be a wonderful idea to accept the offer and take the large bell.  They thought the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center would be perfect for the bell's new home. Half of the building contains classrooms and labs for Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering students.  The other half is for industrial tenants who can identify with how the Liberty Bell was made.

"We really feel strongly with our ties to metal casting in the region.  Most of those metal castors we work with here are small to medium sized manufacturers.  They contribute a lot to the economy in Northwest Pennsylvania,” says Amy.  

The replica Liberty Bell provided much inspiration to the Industrial Engineering students at University Park.  Graduates in that field traditionally rang the bell after receiving their college diplomas. That tradition will continue at Behrend.

"They'll get a chance to strike the bell upon graduation and we'll probably add a few new traditions as well,” says Amy.  

Covid delayed the installation of the bell at Behrend, but many people pitched in to make it possible for it to be finally displayed in time for this Fourth of July.  Greg Yahn, of Advanced Finishing, donated a new frame. Engineering students buffed the bell.  And it shines. What the bell does not have is a crack. 

It is perfect.

The public is invited to come to campus to see the bell and pose for pictures. The Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center is located on Technology Drive in Knowledge Park.  The building will be closed on July 4, but is open on business days from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.