The Ecology Program has a long history at Penn State; in fact, its first Ph.D. degree was awarded to an African American woman in 1974. The program was created as a way to bring together students and faculty members from diverse disciplines—such as atmospheric science, geology, agriculture, biology, and anthropology—to collaborate on complex issues in ecology. As the first intercollege degree program at Penn State, the Ecology Program served as a model for other intercollege programs to follow. Through the years, the Ecology Program has maintained its reputation for being among the best programs of its kind in the country.