The Pennsylvania State University has played a key role in furthering the interdisciplinary study of materials, and advancing materials research. In 1962 the university established the first interdisciplinary materials research laboratory to be organized without federal block support. The lab won international recognition in the fields of materials synthesis, electroceramics, diamond films, and chemically bonded ceramics. Penn State Prof. Richard E. Tressler was an international leader in the development of high temperature materials. He pioneered high temperature fiber testing and use, advanced instrumentation and test methodologies for thermostructural materials, and design and performance verification of ceramics and composites in high temperature aerospace, industrial and energy applications. He was founding director of the Center for Advanced Materials (CAM) which supported many faculty and students from the College of Earth and Mineral Science, the Eberly College of Science, the College of Engineering, the Materials Research Laboratory and the Applied Research Laboratories at Penn State on high temperature materials. His vision for interdisciplinary research played a key role in the creation of the Materials Research Institute, and the establishment of Penn State as an acknowledged leader among major universities in materials education and research. The Materials Research Society (MRS) was the brainchild of researchers at Penn State and grew out of discussions initiated by Prof. Rustum Roy in 1970. MRS has been instrumental in creating an identity and cohesion for the field.