Photos of past Hankin Chairs
 

History of the PHRC

Original Endowment

The Pennsylvania Housing Research Center, or PHRC, as it is now called, owes its existence to the generosity of Mr. Bernard (“Bernie”) Hankin and his family in 1979.  Mr. Bernard Hankin saw that residential construction, while comprising nearly two-thirds of the building business in the US, was underrepresented within research institutions in North America.  He sought to lead the way toward including "non-engineered" buildings, such as housing, in a formal research program at Penn State. Mr. Bernard Hankin and his family funded a $1,000,000 endowment that was originally called the "Bernard Hankin Professorship in Residential Building Construction," and was renamed in 1988 as the "Bernard and Henrietta Hankin Chair in Residential Building Construction".  As former Hankin Chair, Eric Burnett, states, "the endowment of the Bernard and Henrietta Hankin Chair in Residential Construction was an initiative of considerable foresight."  The goal of this position was to further engineering excellence in the homebuilding industry through teaching, research, technology transfer and public service.

The Residential Building Construction program grew out of this support and now includes:

  • Undergraduate and graduate courses,

  • Research program in the area of residential building construction,

  • Housing Certificate that represents a formal recognition of the student's qualifications,

  • Residential Construction Minor (coming soon in 2015),

  • The J. Roger Glunt Graduate Fellowship, and

  • National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) student chapter at Penn State.

PHRC Becomes a Center

During his tenure as Hankin Chair, Dr. Willenbrock initiated the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center (PHRC) at Penn State (named the Housing Research Center, HRC, from 1988 to 1997).  Since then, the PHRC has grown to serve the Pennsylvania home-building industry.

Leadership History

From 1979 to the present, the following individuals provided leadership for the residential construction research activities at Penn State. The titles of the Center and the Endowed Professorship changed over time, but the purpose of the work remained coherent over the years.

  1. (1979 - 1995) Dr. Jack Willenbrock - Civil and Environmental Engineering Department - Hankin Chair; Director of the HRC,   

  2. (August, 1995 - December, 1995) Dr. Harvy Manbeck - Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department - Interim Director,

  3. (1996 - 2005) Dr. Eric Burnett - Civil and Environmental Engineering Department & Architectural Engineering Department - Hankin Chair; Director of the HRC/PHRC,

  4. (2005 - 2010) Dr. Bohumil Kasal - Civil and Environmental Engineering Department & Architectural Engineering Department - Hankin Chair; Director of the PHRC,

  5. (2010 - 2012) Dr. Andrew Scanlon - Civil and Environmental Engineering Department; Hankin Chair; Director of the PHRC,

  6. (2012 - Present) Dr. Ali M. Memari - Architectural Engineering Department & Civil and Environmental Engineering Department - Hankin Chair; Director of the PHRC

Learn More

A detailed account of the early history of the PHRC is available the publication, "The Hankin Legacy: The Pennsylvania State University and Housing, 1988 to 2005", by former Hankin Chair, Dr. Eric Burnett, published in July, 2005.

P H R C Logo
 
 

About

The Pennsylvania Housing Research Center serves the home building industry and the residents of Pennsylvania by improving the quality and affordability of housing.

We conduct applied research, foster the development and commercialization of innovative technologies, and transfer appropriate technologies to the housing community.

Pennsylvania Housing Research Center

219 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2341

Fax: 814-863-7304

E-mail: phrc@psu.edu