University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) is a private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The university, established as the College of Philadelphia, claims a founding date of 1740 and is one of the nine colonial colleges chartered prior to the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin, Penn's founder and first president, advocated an educational program that trained leaders in commerce, government, and public service, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum with a practical perspective.
|Latin: Universitas Pennsylvaniensis|
|Academy and Charitable School in the Province of Pennsylvania (1751–1755)|
College of Philadelphia (1755–1779)
University of the State of Pennsylvania (1779–1791)
|Motto||Leges sine moribus vanae (Latin)|
Motto in English
|Laws without morals are useless|
|Type||Private research university|
|Established||November 14, 1740|
|Endowment||$14.88 billion (2020)|
|Budget||$3.5 billion (2020)|
|Board Chairman||David L. Cohen|
|Students||22,432 (Fall 2019)|
|Undergraduates||10,019 (Fall 2019)|
|Postgraduates||12,413 (Fall 2019)|
|Campus||Urban, 1,085 acres (4.39 km2) total:|
299 acres (1.21 km2), University City campus;
694 acres (2.81 km2), New Bolton Center;
92 acres (0.37 km2), Morris Arboretum
|Colors||Penn Red and Penn Blue|
|Athletics||NCAA Division I –|
Philadelphia Big 5
Penn has four undergraduate schools as well as twelve graduate and professional schools. Schools enrolling undergraduates include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Wharton School, and the School of Nursing. Penn's "One University Policy" allows students to enroll in classes in any of Penn's twelve schools. Among its highly ranked graduate and professional schools are a law school whose first professor wrote the first draft of the United States Constitution, the first school of medicine in North America (Perelman School of Medicine, 1765), and the first collegiate business school (Wharton School, 1881).
Penn is also home to the first "student union" building and organization (Houston Hall, 1896), the first Catholic student club in North America (Newman Center, 1893), the first double-decker college football stadium (Franklin Field, 1924 when second deck was constructed), and Morris Arboretum, the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The first general-purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) was developed at Penn and formally dedicated in 1946. In 2019, the university had an endowment of $14.65 billion, the sixth-largest endowment of all private universities in the United States, as well as a research budget of $1.02 billion. The university's athletics program, the Quakers, fields varsity teams in 33 sports as a member of the NCAA Division I Ivy League conference.
As of 2018, distinguished alumni and Trustees include three U.S. Supreme Court justices, 32 U.S. senators, 46 U.S. governors, 163 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, eight signers of the Declaration of Independence and seven signers of the U.S. Constitution, 24 members of the Continental Congress, 14 foreign heads of state, and two presidents of the United States. As of October 2019, 36 Nobel laureates, 80 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 64 billionaires, 29 Rhodes Scholars, 15 Marshall Scholars, 16 Pulitzer Prize winners, and five United States Medal of Honor recipients have been affiliated with the university.
The University of Pennsylvania considers itself the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, though this is contested by Princeton and Columbia Universities. The university also considers itself as the first university in the United States with both undergraduate and graduate studies.
In 1740, a group of Philadelphians joined together to erect a great preaching hall for the traveling evangelist George Whitefield, who toured the American colonies delivering open-air sermons. The building was designed and built by Edmund Woolley and was the largest building in the city at the time, drawing thousands of people the first time it was preached in.:26 It was initially planned to serve as a charity school as well, but a lack of funds forced plans for the chapel and school to be suspended. According to Franklin's autobiography, it was in 1743 when he first had the idea to establish an academy, "thinking the Rev. Richard Peters a fit person to superintend such an institution". However, Peters declined a casual inquiry from Franklin and nothing further was done for another six years.:30 In the fall of 1749, now more eager to create a school to educate future generations, Benjamin Franklin circulated a pamphlet titled "Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania", his vision for what he called a "Public Academy of Philadelphia".
Unlike the other colonial colleges that existed in 1749—Harvard, William & Mary, Yale, and the College of New Jersey—Franklin's new school would not focus merely on education for the clergy. He advocated an innovative concept of higher education, one which would teach both the ornamental knowledge of the arts and the practical skills necessary for making a living and doing public service. The proposed program of study could have become the nation's first modern liberal arts curriculum, although it was never implemented because Anglican priest William Smith (1727-1803), who became the first provost, and other trustees strongly preferred the traditional curriculum.
Franklin assembled a board of trustees from among the leading citizens of Philadelphia, the first such non-sectarian board in America. At the first meeting of the 24 members of the board of trustees on November 13, 1749, the issue of where to locate the school was a prime concern. Although a lot across Sixth Street from the old Pennsylvania State House (later renamed and famously known since 1776 as "Independence Hall"), was offered without cost by James Logan, its owner, the trustees realized that the building erected in 1740, which was still vacant, would be an even better site.
The original sponsors of the dormant building still owed considerable construction debts and asked Franklin's group to assume their debts and, accordingly, their inactive trusts. On February 1, 1750, the new board took over the building and trusts of the old board. On August 13, 1751, the "Academy of Philadelphia", using the great hall at 4th and Arch Streets, took in its first secondary students. A charity school also was chartered on July 13, 1753,:12 by the intentions of the original "New Building" donors, although it lasted only a few years. On June 16, 1755, the "College of Philadelphia" was chartered, paving the way for the addition of undergraduate instruction.:13 All three schools shared the same board of trustees and were considered to be part of the same institution. The first commencement exercises were held on May 17, 1757.:14
The institution of higher learning was known as the College of Philadelphia from 1755 to 1779. In 1779, not trusting then-provost the Reverend William Smith's "Loyalist" tendencies, the revolutionary State Legislature created a University of the State of Pennsylvania. The result was a schism, with Smith continuing to operate an attenuated version of the College of Philadelphia. In 1791, the legislature issued a new charter, merging the two institutions into a new University of Pennsylvania with twelve men from each institution on the new board of trustees.
Penn has three claims to being the first university in the United States, according to university archives director Mark Frazier Lloyd: the 1765 founding of the first medical school in America made Penn the first institution to offer both "undergraduate" and professional education; the 1779 charter made it the first American institution of higher learning to take the name of "University"; and existing colleges were established as seminaries (although, as detailed earlier, Penn adopted a traditional seminary curriculum as well).
Although Penn began operating as an academy or secondary school in 1751 and obtained its collegiate charter in 1755, it initially designated 1750 as its founding date; this is the year that appears on the first iteration of the university seal. Sometime later in its early history, Penn began to consider 1749 as its founding date and this year was referenced for over a century, including at the centennial celebration in 1849. In 1899, the board of trustees voted to adjust the founding date earlier again, this time to 1740, the date of "the creation of the earliest of the many educational trusts the University has taken upon itself". The board of trustees voted in response to a three-year campaign by Penn's General Alumni Society to retroactively revise the university's founding date to appear older than Princeton University, which had been chartered in 1746.
The Academy of Philadelphia, a secondary school for boys, began operations in 1751 in an unused church building at 4th and Arch Streets which had sat unfinished and dormant for over a decade. Upon receiving a collegiate charter in 1755, the first classes for the College of Philadelphia were taught in the same building, in many cases to the same boys who had already graduated from The Academy of Philadelphia. In 1801, the university moved to the unused Presidential Mansion at 9th and Market Streets, a building that both George Washington and John Adams had declined to occupy while Philadelphia was the temporary national capital.
Among the classes given in 1807 at this building were those offered by Benjamin Rush, a professor of chemistry, medical theory, and clinical practice who was also a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, member of the Continental Congress, and surgeon general of the Continental Army. Classes were held in the mansion until 1829 when it was demolished. Architect William Strickland designed twin buildings on the same site, College Hall and Medical Hall (both 1829–1830), which formed the core of the Ninth Street Campus until Penn's move to West Philadelphia in the 1870s. After being located in downtown Philadelphia for more than a century, the campus was moved across the Schuylkill River to property purchased from the Blockley Almshouse in West Philadelphia in 1872, where it has since remained in an area now known as University City.
Starting in 1849 (with formation of Penn's Eta chapter of Delta Phi (St. Elmo) by five founders and fifteen "initiates", Penn students began to establish chapters of and live in houses rented or owned by fraternities. Since Penn did not have any housing on campus and since students (especially the students at the medical school who) came from all over the country, the students fended for themselves and good number chose housing by pledging and living in Penn's first fraternities (Delta Phi, Zeta Psi, Phi Kappa Sigma, and Delta Psi). These first fraternities were located in walking distance of 9th and Chestnut (as campus was located from 1800 to 1872 on West side of 9th Street, from Market Street on the North to Chestnut Street on the South). For example, Zeta Psi Fraternity was located at Southeast corner of 10th Street and Chestnut Street, Delta Phi was located on South side of 11th Street near Chestnut Street, and Delta Psi was located on North side of Chestnut Street, West of 10th Street.
When Penn moved West in 1872 to its "new" campus (centered on the intersection of Woodland Avenue, 36th Street, and Locust Street) so did the fraternities. Among the first fraternities to build near the new campus were Phi Delta Theta in 1883 and Psi Upsilon in 1891. By 1891 there were at least seventeen fraternities at the University.
From its founding until construction of the Quadrangle Dormitories, which started construction in 1895, the student body did not live in university-owned housing as, with minor exceptions, there was none. Indeed a significant portion of the undergraduate population commuted from Delaware Valley and a large number of students resided in the Philadelphia area. The medical school (with roughly half the students) was a significant exception to this trend as it attracted a more geographically diverse population of students. For example, in the 1850s when Penn's medical school accounted for two-thirds to three-quarters of the student body, over half of the population of the medical school was from the southern part of the United States.
Penn had increasing need for housing in the first decades of the twentieth century due to number of factors including its competition for students with peer institutions and active recruitment of foreign students. With respect to the latter, for example, Penn's first director of publicity translated a Penn recruiting brochure into Spanish and circulated approximately 10,000 copies throughout Latin America. The success of such efforts were evident in fall of 1910 when Vice Provost Edgar Fahs Smith (who the following year would start a ten-year tenure as Penn's provost) formally welcomed to Penn students from 40 different nations at an annual party. Vice Provost Fahs spoke about how Penn wanted to "bring together students of different countries and break down misunderstandings existing between them".
Since it was difficult to house the international students due to the then socially acceptable and legally permissible racist housing regulations extant in Philadelphia and across the United States, in fall of 1911, The Christian Association at The University of Pennsylvania hired as its first Foreign Mission Secretary, Reverend Alpheus Waldo Stevenson. By 1912, Stevenson focused almost all his efforts on the foreign students at Penn who needed help finding housing resulting in the Christian Association, buying 3905 Spruce Steet contiguous to Penn's campus. By January 1, 1918, 3905 Spruce Street officially opened under the sponsorship of the Christian Association as a Home for Foreign Students, which came to be known as the International Students' House with Reverend Stevenson as its first director. The International Students' House provided " ... counseling and information services for a host of problems foreign students might encounter, including language, financial, health and diet, immigration and technical problems as well as maladjustment to living in the United States. It was also used for recreation and leisure, as lounges had radio, phonograph and television facilities and there were game and reception rooms. The International Students' House also provided for programs including forums, debates, lectures, panels and planned trips and outings as well as weekend activities such as dances, films and game nights. Also, for the next thirty-three years, the International Students' House would be sponsored by the Christian Association of the University of Pennsylvania."
The success of efforts to reach out to the international students' were reported in 1921 when the official Penn publicity department reported that of the over 12,000 students at Penn (who came from all 50 states), 253 students came from at least 50 foreign countries and foreign territories, including India, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, " ... every Latin American country, and most of the Oriental and European nations".
By 1931, first-year students were required to live in the quadrangle unless they received official permission to live with their families or other relatives. However, throughout this period and into the early post-World War II period, the university continued to have a large commuting population. As an example, into the late 1940s, two-thirds of Penn women students were commuters.
After World War II, Penn began a capital spending program to overhaul its campus, especially student housing. A large number of students migrating to universities under the GI Bill, and the resultant increase in Penn's student population, highlighted that Penn had outgrown previous expansions, which ended during the Depression-era. Nonetheless, in addition to a significant student population from the Delaware Valley, Penn attracted international students and students from most of the 50 states as early as the 1960s. Referring to the developments of this time period, Penn Trustee Paul Miller remarked about Penn's undergraduate housing situation: "[t]he bricks-and-mortar Capital Campaign of the Sixties...built the facilities that turned Penn from a commuter school to a residential one...." By 1961, 79% of male undergraduates and 57% of female undergraduates lived on campus.
From 1930 to 1966, there were 54 documented Rowbottom riots, a student tradition of rioting which included everything from car smashing to panty raids.After 1966, there were five more instances of "Rowbottoms", the latest occurring in 1980.
In 1965, Penn students learned that the university was sponsoring research projects for the United States' chemical and biological weapons program. According to Herman and Rutman, the revelation that "CB Projects Spicerack and Summit were directly connected with U.S. military activities in Southeast Asia", caused students to petition Penn president Gaylord Harnwell to halt the program, citing the project as being "immoral, inhuman, illegal, and unbefitting of an academic institution". Members of the faculty believed that an academic university should not be performing classified research and voted to re-examine the University agency which was responsible for the project on November 4, 1965.
In 1983, members of the Animal Liberation Front broke into the Head Injury Clinical Research Laboratory in the School of Medicine and stole research audio and video tapes. The stolen tapes were given to PETA who edited the footage to create a film, Unnecessary Fuss. As a result of media coverage and pressure from animal rights activists, the project was closed down.
The school gained notoriety in 1993 for the water buffalo incident in which a student who told a group of black students to "shut up, you water buffalo" was charged with violating the university's racial harassment policy.
Penn's educational innovations include the nation's first medical school in 1765; the first university teaching hospital in 1874; the Wharton School, the world's first collegiate business school, in 1881; the first American student union building, Houston Hall, in 1896; the country's second school of veterinary medicine; and the home of ENIAC, the world's first electronic, large-scale, general-purpose digital computer in 1946. Penn is also home to the oldest continuously functioning psychology department in North America and is where the American Medical Association was founded. In 1921, Penn was also the first university to award a PhD to an African-American woman, Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander (in economics).
Penn's motto is based on a line from Horace's III.24 (Book 3, Ode 24), quid leges sine moribus vanae proficiunt?, 'of what avail empty laws without [good] morals?'. From 1756 to 1898, the motto read Sine Moribus Vanae. When it was pointed out that the motto could be translated as 'Loose women without morals', the university quickly changed the motto to literae sine moribus vanae, 'Letters without morals [are] useless'. In 1932, all elements of the seal were revised. As part of the redesign, it was decided that the new motto "mutilated" Horace, and it was changed to its present wording, Leges Sine Moribus Vanae, 'Laws without morals [are] useless'.
The official seal of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania serves as the signature and symbol of authenticity on documents issued by the corporation. A request for one was first recorded in a meeting of the trustees in 1753 during which some of the Trustees "desired to get a Common Seal engraved for the Use of [the] Corporation". However, it was not until a meeting in 1756 that "a public Seal for the College with a proper device and Motto" was requested to be engraved in silver. The most recent design, a modified version of the original seal, was approved in 1932, adopted a year later and is still used for much of the same purposes as the original.
The outer ring of the current seal is inscribed with "Universitas Pennsylvaniensis", the Latin name of the University of Pennsylvania. The inside contains seven stacked books on a desk with the titles of subjects of the trivium and a modified quadrivium, components of a classical education: Theolog[ia], Astronom[ia], Philosoph[ia], Mathemat[ica], Logica, Rhetorica and Grammatica. Between the books and the outer ring is the Latin motto of the University, "Leges Sine Moribus Vanae".
Much of Penn's architecture was designed by the Cope and Stewardson firm (same architects who designed Princeton University and a large part of Washington University in St. Louis) known for having combined the Gothic architecture of the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge with the local landscape to establish the Collegiate Gothic style.
The present core campus covers over 299 acres (121 ha) in a contiguous area of West Philadelphia's University City section, whereas the older heart of the campus comprises the University of Pennsylvania Campus Historic District. All of Penn's schools and most of its research institutes are located on this campus.
The surrounding neighborhood includes several restaurants, bars, a large upscale grocery store, and movie theater on the western edge of campus. Penn's core campus borders Drexel University and is a few blocks from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. The renowned cancer research center Wistar Institute is also located on campus. In 2014, a new 7-story glass and steel building was completed next to the Institute's original brick edifice built in 1897 further expanding collaboration between the university and the Wistar Institute.
The Module 6 Utility Plant and Garage at Penn was designed by BLT Architects and completed in 1995. Module 6 is located at 38th and Walnut and includes spaces for 627 vehicles, 9,000 sq ft (840 m2) of storefront retail operations, a 9,500-ton chiller module and corresponding extension of the campus chilled water loop, and a 4,000-ton ice storage facility.
In 2010, in its first significant expansion across the Schuylkill River, Penn purchased 23 acres at the northwest corner of 34th Street and Grays Ferry Avenue, the then site of DuPont Marshall Research Labs. In October 2016, Penn completed the design (with help from architects Matthias Hollwich, Marc Kushner, and KSS Architects) and renovation of the center piece of the project, a former paint factory it named Pennovation Works. Pennovation Works houses shared desks, wet labs, common areas, a “pitch bleacher,” and other attributes of a tech incubator. The rest of the site, which Penn is formally calling “South Bank” (of Schuylkill River), is a mixture of lightly-refurbished industrial buildings that serve as affordable and flexible workspaces and land for future development. Penn hopes that "South Bank will provide a place for academics, researchers, and entrepreneurs to establish their businesses in close proximity to each other to facilitate cross-pollination of their ideas, creativity, and innovation.
Parks and arboreta
In 2007, Penn acquired about 35 acres (14 ha) between the campus and the Schuylkill River (the former site of the Philadelphia Civic Center and a nearby 24-acre (9.7 ha) site owned by the United States Postal Service). Dubbed the Postal Lands, the site extends from Market Street on the north to Penn's Bower Field on the south, including the former main regional U.S. Postal Building at 30th and Market Streets, now the regional office for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Over the next decade, the site became the home to educational, research, biomedical, and mixed-use facilities. The first phase, comprising a park and athletic facilities, opened in the fall of 2011.
In September 2011, Penn completed the construction of the $46.5 million, 24-acre (97,000 m2) Penn Park, which features passive and active recreation and athletic components framed and subdivided by canopy trees, lawns, and meadows. It is located east of the Highline Green and stretches from Walnut Street to South Streets.
Penn maintains two arboreta. The roughly 300-acre (120 ha) The Penn Campus Arboretum at the University of Pennsylvania encompasses the entire University City campus. The campus arboretum is an urban forest with over 6,500 trees representing 240 species of trees and shrubs, ten specialty gardens and five urban parks, which has been designated as a Tree Campus USA since 2009 and formally recognized as an accredited ArbNet Arboretum since 2017. Penn maintains an interactive website linked to Penn’s comprehensive tree inventory, which allows users to explore Penn’s entire collection of trees.
Penn also owns and operates the 92-acre (37 ha) Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill in northwestern Philadelphia. The Morris Arboretum is also the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
New Bolton Center veterinary campus
Penn also owns the 687-acre (278 ha) New Bolton Center, the research and large-animal health care center of its veterinary school. Located near Kennett Square, New Bolton Center received nationwide media attention when Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro underwent surgery at its Widener Hospital for injuries suffered while running in the Preakness Stakes.
Penn's library began in 1750 with a donation of books from cartographer Lewis Evans. Twelve years later, then-provost William Smith sailed to England to raise additional funds to increase the collection size. Benjamin Franklin was one of the libraries' earliest donors and, as a trustee, saw to it that funds were allocated for the purchase of texts from London, many of which are still part of the collection, more than 250 years later. It has grown into a system of 15 libraries (13 are on the contiguous campus) with 400 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and a total operating budget of more than $48 million. The library system has 6.19 million book and serial volumes as well as 4.23 million microform items and 1.11 million e-books. It subscribes to over 68,000 print serials and e-journals.
Penn has the following libraries, associated by school or subject area: Annenberg (School of Communications), located in the Annenberg School; Biddle (Law), located in the Law School; Biomedical, located adjacent to the Robert Wood Johnson Pavilion of the Medical School; Chemistry, located in the 1973 Wing of the Chemistry Building; Dental Medicine; Engineering, located on the second floor of the Towne Building in the Engineering School; Fine Arts, located within the Fisher Fine Arts Library, designed by Frank Furness to be first library in nation to separate the low ceilings of the library stack, where the books were stored, from forty foot plus high ceilinged rooms, where the books were read and studied, Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, located at 420 Walnut Street, near Independence Hall and Washington Square; Lea Library, located within the Van Pelt Library; Lippincott (Wharton School), located on the second floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center; Math/Physics/Astronomy, located on the third floor of David Rittenhouse Laboratory; Museum (Archaeology); Rare Books and Manuscripts; Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center (Humanities and Social Sciences) – location of Weigle Information Commons; Veterinary Medicine, located in Penn Campus and New Bolton Center; and High Density Storage.
The Penn Libraries are strong in Area Studies, with bibliographers for Africa, East Asia, Judaica, Latin America, Middle East, Russia, and Slavic and South Asia. As a result, the Penn Libraries have extensive collections in several hundred languages.
The Yarnall Library of Theology, a major American rare book collection, is part of Penn's libraries. The Yarnall Library of Theology was formerly affiliated with St. Clement's Church in Philadelphia. It was founded in 1911 under the terms of the wills of Ellis Hornor Yarnall (December 23, 1839 - December 18, 1907) and Emily Yarnall, and subsequently housed at the former Philadelphia Divinity School. The library's major areas of focus are theology, patristics, and the liturgy, history and theology of the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. It includes a large number of rare books, incunabula, and illuminated manuscripts, and new material continues to be added.
The campus has over 40 notable art installations, in part because of a 1959 City of Philadelphia ordinance requiring total budget for new construction or major renovation projects (where any governmental resources are used) to include 1% for art (Philadelphia's ordinance created the first such program in the country) to be used to pay for installation of site-specific public art, in part because of many alumni who collect and donate art to Penn, and in part because of the presence of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design on campus.
In 2020, Penn installed Brick House, a monumental work of art (a "critical fabulation" in language used by its creator, Simone Leigh) at the College Green gateway to Penn's campus (near corner of 34th Street and Woodland Walk). This 5,900-pound bronze sculpture, which is 16 feet high and 9 feet in diameter at its base, depicts an African woman's head (crowned with an afro framed by cornrow braids) atop a form that resembles both a skirt and a clay house. At the installation, Penn president Amy Guttman proclaimed that "Ms. Leigh's sculpture brings a striking presence of strength, grace, and beauty—along with an ineffable sense of mystery and resilience—to a central crossroad of Penn's campus."
The Covenant, better known to the student body as "Dueling Tampons" or "The Tampons", is a large red structure created by Alexander Liberman and located on Locust Walk as a gateway to the high-rise residences "super block". It was installed in 1975 and is made of rolled sheets of milled steel.
A larger-than-life white button, known as The Button (officially Split Button) is a modern art sculpture designed by designed by Swedish sculptor Claes Oldenburg (who specializes in creating oversize sculptures of everyday objects). It sits at the south entrance of Van Pelt Library and has button holes large enough for people to stand inside. Penn also has a replica of the Love sculpture, part of a series created by Robert Indiana. It is a painted aluminum sculpture and was installed in 1998 overlooking College Green.
In 2019, the Association for Public Art loaned Penn two multi-ton sculptures. The two works are Social Consciousness (created by Sir Jacob Epstein in 1954 and sited on the walkway between Wharton's Lippincott Library and Phi Phi chapter of Alpha Chi Rho fraternity house) and Atmosphere and Environment XII, created by Louise Nevelson in 1970, which is sited on Shoemaker Green between Franklin Field and Ringe Squash Courts).
In addition to the contemporary art, Penn also has a number of more traditional statues including a good number created by Penn's first Director of Physical Education Department, R. Tait McKenzie. Among the notable sculptures is that of Young Ben Franklin, which McKenzie produced and Penn sited adjacent to the fieldhouse contiguous to Franklin Field. The sculpture is titled Benjamin Franklin in 1723 and was created by McKenzie during the pre-World War 1 era (1910–1914). Other sculptures he produced for Penn include the 1924 sculpture of then Penn provost Edgar Fahs Smith.
Penn is presently re-evaluating all of its public art and has formed a Campus Iconography Group led by Penn Design dean Frederick Steiner, who was part of a similar effort at the University of Texas at Austin (that led to the removal of statues of Jefferson Davis and other Confederate officials), and Penn's Chief Diversity Officer, Joann Mitchell. Penn has begun the process of adding art and removing or relocating art. Penn removed from campus in 2020 the statue of the Reverend George Whitefield (who had inspired the 1740 establishment of a trust to establish a charity school, which trust Penn legally assumed in 1749) when research showed Whitefield owned fifty and drafted and advocated for the key theological arguments in favor of slavery in Georgia and the rest of the Thirteen Colonies.
The Penn Museum
Since the Penn Museum was founded in 1887, it has taken part in 400 research projects worldwide. The museum's first project was an excavation of Nippur, a location in current day Iraq.
Penn Museum is home to the largest authentic sphinx in North America at about seven feet high, four feet wide, 13 feet long, and 12.9 tons (made of solid red granite). The sphinx was discovered in 1912 by the British archeologist, Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, during an excavation of the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis, Egypt, where the sphinx had guarded a temple to ward off evil. Since Petri's expedition was partially financed by Penn Petrie offered it to Penn, which arranged for it to be moved to museum in 1913. The sphinx was moved in 2019 to a more prominent spot intended to attract visitors.
The museum has three gallery floors with artifacts from Egypt, the Middle East, Mesoamerica, Asia, the Mediterranean, Africa and indigenous artifacts of the Americas. Its most famous object is the goat rearing into the branches of a rosette-leafed plant, from the royal tombs of Ur.
The Penn Museum's excavations and collections foster a strong research base for graduate students in the Graduate Group in the Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World. Features of the Beaux-Arts building include a rotunda and gardens that include Egyptian papyrus.
Other Penn museums, galleries, and art collections
Penn maintains a website providing a detailed roadmap to small museums and galleries and over one hundred locations across campus where the public can access Penn's over 8,000 artworks acquired over 250 years and includes, but is not limited to, paintings, sculptures, photography, works on paper, and decorative arts. The largest of the art galleries is the Institute of Contemporary Art, one of the only kunsthalles in the country, which showcases various art exhibitions throughout the year. Since 1983 the Arthur Ross Gallery, located at the Fisher Fine Arts Library, has housed Penn's art collection and is named for its benefactor, philanthropist Arthur Ross.
Every College House at the University of Pennsylvania has at least four members of faculty in the roles of House Dean, Faculty Master, and College House Fellows. Within the College Houses, Penn has nearly 40 themed residential programs for students with shared interests such as world cinema or science and technology. Many of the nearby homes and apartments in the area surrounding the campus are often rented by undergraduate students moving off campus after their first year, as well as by graduate and professional students.
The College Houses include W.E.B. Du Bois, Fisher Hassenfeld, Gregory, Harnwell, Harrison, Hill College House, Kings Court English, Lauder College House, Riepe, Rodin, Stouffer, and Ware.
The first College House was Van Pelt College House, established in the Fall of 1971. It was later renamed Gregory House. Fisher Hassenfeld, Ware and Riepe together make up one building called "The Quad".
Penn students in Junior or Senior year may live in the 45 sororities and fraternities governed by three student-run governing councils, Interfraternity Council, Intercultural Greek Council, and Panhellenic Council.
Academics and interdisciplinary focus
|Perelman School of Medicine||1765|
|School of Engineering and Applied Science||1850|
|School of Design||1868|
|School of Dental Medicine||1878|
|The Wharton School||1881|
|Graduate School of Arts and Sciences||1881|
|School of Veterinary Medicine||1884|
|School of Social Policy and Practice||1908|
|Graduate School of Education||1915|
|School of Nursing||1935|
|Annenberg School for Communication||1958|
The College of Arts and Sciences is the undergraduate division of the School of Arts and Sciences. The School of Arts and Sciences also contains the Graduate Division and the College of Liberal and Professional Studies, which is home to the Fels Institute of Government, the master's programs in Organizational Dynamics, and the Environmental Studies (MES) program. Wharton is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania. Other schools with undergraduate programs include the School of Nursing and the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS).
Penn has a strong focus on interdisciplinary learning and research. It offers double degree programs, unique majors, and academic flexibility. Penn's "One University" policy allows undergraduates access to courses at all of Penn's undergraduate and graduate schools except the medical, veterinary and dental schools. Undergraduates at Penn may also take courses at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore under a reciprocal agreement known as the Quaker Consortium.
Undergraduate admissions to the University of Pennsylvania is considered by US News to be "most selective". Admissions officials consider a student's GPA to be a very important academic factor, with emphasis on an applicant's high school class rank and letters of recommendation. For the class of 2024, entering in the fall of 2020, the university received 42,205 applications and admitted 8.07 percent of the applicants. The Atlantic also ranked Penn among the 10 most selective schools in the country. At the graduate level, based on admission statistics from U.S. News & World Report, Penn's most selective programs include its law school, the health care schools (medicine, dental medicine, nursing, veterinary), and Wharton business school.
* SAT and ACT ranges are from the 25th to the 75th percentile.
Coordinated dual-degree and interdisciplinary programs
Penn offers specialized coordinated dual-degree (CDD) programs, which award candidates degrees from multiple schools at the university upon completion of graduation criteria of both schools. Undergraduate programs include:
- Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology
- Artificial Intelligence: Computer and Cognitive Science
- Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business
- Nursing and Health Care Management
- Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management
- Vagelos Scholars Program in Molecular Life Sciences
- Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER)
- Accelerated 7-year Bio-Dental Program
- Singh Program in Networked & Social Systems Engineering (NETS)
- Accelerated 6-year Law and Medicine Program
- Digital Media Design (DMD)
Dual-degree programs that lead to the same multiple degrees without participation in the specific above programs are also available. Unlike CDD programs, "dual degree" students fulfill requirements of both programs independently without the involvement of another program. Specialized dual-degree programs include Liberal Studies and Technology as well as an Artificial Intelligence: Computer and Cognitive Science Program. Both programs award a degree from the College of Arts and Sciences and a degree from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Also, the Vagelos Scholars Program in Molecular Life Sciences allows its students to either double major in the sciences or submatriculate and earn both a B.A. and an M.S. in four years. The most recent Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) was first offered for the class of 2016. A joint program of Penn's School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, VIPER leads to dual Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Engineering degrees by combining majors from each school.
For graduate programs, Penn offers many formalized double degree graduate degrees such as a joint J.D./MBA and maintains a list of interdisciplinary institutions, such as the Institute for Medicine and Engineering, the Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management and International Studies, and the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science.
The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice, commonly known as Penn SP2, is a school of social policy and social work that offers degrees in a variety of subfields, in addition to several dual degree programs and sub-matriculation programs. Penn SP2's vision is: "The passionate pursuit of social innovation, impact and justice."
Originally named the School of Social Work, SP2 was founded in 1908 and is a graduate school of the University of Pennsylvania. The school specializes in research, education, and policy development in relation to both social and economic issues.
The School of Veterinary Medicine offers five dual-degree programs, combining the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (VMD) with a Master of Social Work (MSW), Master of Environmental Studies (MES), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Public Health (MPH) or Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree. The Penn Vet dual-degree programs are meant to support veterinarians planning to engage in interdisciplinary work in the areas of human health, environmental health, and animal health and welfare.
Academic medical center and biomedical research complex
In 2018, the university's nursing school was ranked number one by Quacquarelli Symonds. That year, Quacquarelli Symonds also ranked Penn's school of Veterinary Medicine sixth. In 2019, the Perelman School of Medicine was named the third-best medical school for research in U.S. News & World Report's 2020 ranking.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System (also known as UPHS) is a multi-hospital health system headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania owned by Trustees of University of Pennsylvania. UPHS and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania together comprise Penn Medicine, a clinical and research entity of the University of Pennsylvania. UPHS hospitals include the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Pennsylvania Hospital, Chester County Hospital, Lancaster General Hospital, and Princeton Medical Center. Penn Medicine owns and operates the first hospital in the United States, the Pennsylvania Hospital.
Research, innovations and discoveries
Penn is classified as an "R1" doctoral university: "Highest research activity." Its economic impact on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 2015 amounted to $14.3 billion. Penn's research expenditures in the 2018 fiscal year were $1.442 billion, the fourth largest in the U.S. In fiscal year 2019 Penn received $582.3 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.
In line with its well-known interdisciplinary tradition, Penn's research centers often span two or more disciplines. In the 2010–2011 academic year alone, five interdisciplinary research centers were created or substantially expanded; these include the Center for Health-care Financing, the Center for Global Women's Health at the Nursing School, the $13 million Morris Arboretum's Horticulture Center, the $15 million Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at Wharton and the $13 million Translational Research Center at Penn Medicine. With these additions, Penn now counts 165 research centers hosting a research community of over 4,300 faculty and over 1,100 postdoctoral fellows, 5,500 academic support staff and graduate student trainees. To further assist the advancement of interdisciplinary research President Amy Gutmann established the "Penn Integrates Knowledge" title awarded to selected Penn professors "whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge". These professors hold endowed professorships and joint appointments between Penn's schools.
Penn is also among the most prolific producers of doctoral students. With 487 PhDs awarded in 2009, Penn ranks third in the Ivy League, only behind Columbia and Cornell (Harvard did not report data). It also has one of the highest numbers of post-doctoral appointees (933 in number for 2004–2007), ranking third in the Ivy League (behind Harvard and Yale) and tenth nationally.
In most disciplines Penn professors' productivity is among the highest in the nation and first in the fields of epidemiology, business, communication studies, comparative literature, languages, information science, criminal justice and criminology, social sciences and sociology. According to the National Research Council nearly three-quarters of Penn's 41 assessed programs were placed in ranges including the top 10 rankings in their fields, with more than half of these in ranges including the top five rankings in these fields.
Penn's research tradition has historically been complemented by innovations that shaped higher education. In addition to establishing the first medical school, the first university teaching hospital, the first business school, and the first student union, Penn was also the cradle of other significant developments. In 1852, Penn Law was the first law school in the nation to publish a law journal still in existence (then called The American Law Register, now the Penn Law Review, one of the most cited law journals in the world). Under the deanship of William Draper Lewis, the law school was also one of the first schools to emphasize legal teaching by full-time professors instead of practitioners, a system that is still followed today. The Wharton School was home to several pioneering developments in business education. It established the first research center in a business school in 1921 and the first center for entrepreneurship center in 1973 and it regularly introduced novel curricula for which BusinessWeek wrote, "Wharton is on the crest of a wave of reinvention and change in management education".
Several major scientific discoveries have also taken place at Penn. The university is probably best known as the place where the first general-purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) was born in 1946 at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering. It was here also where the world's first spelling and grammar checkers were created, as well as the popular COBOL programming language. Penn can also boast some of the most important discoveries in the field of medicine. The dialysis machine used as an artificial replacement for lost kidney function was conceived and devised out of a pressure cooker by William Inouye while he was still a student at Penn Med; the Rubella and Hepatitis B vaccines were developed at Penn; the discovery of cancer's link with genes, cognitive therapy, Retin-A (the cream used to treat acne), Resistin, the Philadelphia gene (linked to chronic myelogenous leukemia) and the technology behind PET Scans were all discovered by Penn Med researchers. More recent gene research has led to the discovery of the genes for fragile X syndrome, the most common form of inherited mental retardation; spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, a disorder marked by progressive muscle wasting; and Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the hands, feet and limbs.
Conductive polymer was also developed at Penn by Alan J. Heeger, Alan MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa, an invention that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. On faculty since 1965, Ralph L. Brinster developed the scientific basis for in vitro fertilization and the transgenic mouse at Penn and was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2010. The theory of superconductivity was also partly developed at Penn, by then-faculty member John Robert Schrieffer (along with John Bardeen and Leon Cooper). The university has also contributed major advancements in the fields of economics and management. Among the many discoveries are conjoint analysis, widely used as a predictive tool especially in market research, Simon Kuznets's method of measuring Gross National Product, the Penn effect (the observation that consumer price levels in richer countries are systematically higher than in poorer ones) and the "Wharton Model" developed by Nobel-laureate Lawrence Klein to measure and forecast economic activity. The idea behind Health Maintenance Organizations also belonged to Penn professor Robert Eilers, who put it into practice during then-President Nixon's health reform in the 1970s.
Academic profile and rankings
Students can study abroad for a semester or a year at partner institutions such as the London School of Economics, University of Barcelona, Sciences Po, University of Queensland, University College London, King's College London, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and University of Warwick.
U.S. News & World Report's 2020 rankings place Penn 8th among national universities in the United States and Center for World University Rankings' ("CWUR") 2020/2021 survey also ranks Penn as the 8th best University in the world. The Princeton Review includes Penn in its Dream Colleges list. As reported by USA Today, Penn was ranked 1st in the United States by College Factual for 2015.
In their 2021 edition, Penn was ranked 10th in the nation by QS (Quacquarelli Symonds). In 2020 edition, Penn was ranked 15th in the world by the QS World University Rankings and in 2019, 17th by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) and 12th by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. In 2019, it ranked 12th among the universities around the world by SCImago Institutions Rankings. According to the 2015 ARWU ranking, Penn is also the 8th- and 9th-best university in the world for economics/business and social sciences studies, respectively. University of Pennsylvania ranked 12th among 300 Best World Universities in 2012 compiled by Human Resources & Labor Review (HRLR) on Measurements of World's Top 300 Universities Graduates' Performance.
The Center for Measuring University Performance places Penn in the first tier of the United States' top research universities (tied with Columbia, MIT and Stanford), based on research expenditures, faculty awards, PhD granted and other academic criteria. Penn was also ranked 18th of all U.S. colleges and universities in terms of R&D expenditures in fiscal year 2013 by the National Science Foundation. The High Impact Universities research performance index ranks Penn 8th in the world, whereas the 2010 Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities (published by the Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan) ranks Penn 11th in the world for 2007, 2008 and 2010 and 9th for 2009.
The Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers measures universities' research productivity, research impact, and research excellence based on the scientific papers published by their academic staff. The SCImago Institutions Rankings World Report 2012, which ranks world universities, national institutions and academies in terms of research output, ranks Penn 7th nationally among U.S. universities (2nd in the Ivy League behind Harvard) and 28th in the world overall (the first being France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique).
The Mines ParisTech International Professional Ranking, which ranks universities on the basis of the number of alumni listed among CEOs in the 500 largest worldwide companies, ranks Penn 11th worldwide and 2nd nationally behind Harvard. According to a U.S. News article in 2010, Penn is tied for second (tied with Dartmouth College and Tufts University) for the number of undergraduate alumni who are current Fortune 100 CEOs. Forbes ranked Penn 17th, based on a variety of criteria.
Graduate and professional programs
Among its professional schools, in 2021 the school of education was ranked number one in 2021 and Wharton School of Business was ranked number two, the communication, dentistry, medicine, and nursing, and veterinary medicine schools rank in the top 5 nationally. Penn's Law School was ranked number 6 in 2021 and Design school, and its School of Social Policy and Practice are ranked in the top 10 In the 2010 QS Global 200 Business Schools Report, Penn was ranked 2nd in North America.
|African American||715 (7.1%)|
|Native American||12 (0.1%)|
|Asian American and
|Two or more races,
Demographics and diversity
Jonathan and Philip Gayienquitioga, two brothers of the Mohawk Nation, were recruited by Benjamin Franklin to attend the Academy of Philadelphia, making them the first Native Americans at Penn when they enrolled in 1755. Moses Levy, the first Jewish student, enrolled in 1769 (and was also elected Penn's first Jewish trustee in 1802, serving to 1826). Joseph M. Urquiola, School of Medicine (Penn Med) class of 1829 was the first Latino (from Cuba) and Auxencio Maria Pena, School of Medicine (Penn Med) class of 1836, was first South American (from Venezuela) to graduate from Penn.
William Adger, James Brister, and Nathan Francis Mossell in 1879 were the first African Americans to enroll at Penn. Adger was the first African American to graduate the College at Penn (1883), and when Brister graduated the School of Dental Medicine (Penn Dental) (class of 1881), he was the first African American to earn a degree at Penn. Mossell was first African American to graduate from Penn Med (1882) (and had a brother, Aaron Albert Mossell II who was the first African American graduate of University of Pennsylvania Law School (in 1888) and niece, Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, Albert's daughter, who not only was first African American woman to graduate Penn Law (in 1927) and be admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania, but prior to such noteworthy accomplishments was first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in the United States (from Penn in 1922)).
Tosui Imadate was the first person of Asian descent to graduate from Penn (College, B.S. 1879). In 1877, Imadate became the first Asian member of a fraternity at Penn when he became a brother at Phi Kappa Psi. In a quote from a portion of a letter published in December 1880 issue of The Crescent, Imadate is described by a Phi Kappa Psi brother as a "brother member of Penn's I [iota] chapter of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, who is a professor in college at Kiota [(Kyoto, Japan)]". It is possible that Imadate was a professor at what is now known as Kyoto University of Education as Kyoto University was not established until the 1890s.
Mary Alice Bennett, M.D., Ph.D., and Anna H. Johnson were in 1880 the first women to enroll in a Penn degree-granting program and Bennett was the first woman to receive a degree from Penn, which was a Ph.D.
Julian Abele ("Willing and Able" to his fellow students) in 1902 was the first African American to graduate from University of Pennsylvania School of Design (then named Department of Architecture) and was elected as the president of Penn's Architectural Society. Abele won a 1901 student competition where he designed a Beaux Arts pedestrian gateway that was built and still stands on the campus of Haverford College, The Edward B. Conklin Memorial Gate at the Railroad Avenue entrance to Haverford College. Abele contributed to the design of more than 400 buildings, including the Widener Memorial Library at Harvard University (1912–1915), Philadelphia's Central Library (1917–1927), and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1914–1928). and was the primary designer of the west campus of Duke University (1924–1954). Duke honored Abele by prominently displaying his portrait, the first portrait of an African American to be displayed on the campus.
Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander (niece of Nathan Francis Mossell) was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in economics in the United States (and third black woman to earn one in the United States in any subject) and first from Penn in 1921, the first African-American woman to receive a law degree from Penn Law in 1927, and the first African-American woman to practice law in Pennsylvania.
Alan L. Hart, MD, who earned a Masters at Penn Med in radiology (class of 1928), was born in 1890 and publicly identified as a female, Alberta Lucille Hart, through much of 1917, the year Dr. Hart transitioned to being a man by having a hysterectomy, one of the first in the United States to be performed to help a person become a trans man, and lived the rest of his life as a man. Dr. Hart, Penn's most prominent transgendered alumnus in the first half of the twentieth century, was a pioneer in using x-ray photography to detect tuberculosis, allowing the identification of asymptomatic TB carriers (seventy-five percent of the total infected), permitting treatment of patients before they had complications, and allowing for separation of TB patients from others to stop the spread of one of the more infectious deadly diseases known to humanity.
As detailed in part above, by the first decades of the twentieth century, Penn made strides and took an active interest in attracting diverse students from around the globe. Two examples of such action occurred in 1910. Penn's first director of publicity, created a recruiting brochure, translated into Spanish, with approximately 10,000 copies circulated throughout Latin America. That same year, the Penn-affiliated organization, the Cosmopolitan Club, started an annual tradition of hosting an opening "smoker", which attracted students from 40 nations who were formally welcomed to the University by then-vice provost Edgar Fahs Smith (who the following year would start a ten-year tenure as provost) who spoke about how Penn wanted to "bring together students of different countries and break down misunderstandings existing between them".
The success of such efforts were reported in 1921 when the official Penn publicity department reported that
We have an enrollment at the University of 12,000 students, who have registered from every State in the Union, and 253 students from at least fifty foreign countries and foreign territories, including India, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and practically all the British possessions except Ireland; every Latin American country, and most of the Oriental and European nations.
Of those accepted for admission in 2018, 48 percent were Asian, Hispanic, African-American or Native American. Fourteen percent of entering undergraduates in 2018 were international students. The composition of international first-year students in 2018 was: 46% from Asia; 15% from Africa and the Middle East; 16% from Europe; 14% from Canada and Mexico; 8% from the Caribbean, Central America and South America; 5% from Australia and the Pacific Islands. The acceptance rate for international students admission in 2018 was 493 out of 8,316 (6.7%). In 2018, 55% of all enrolled students were women.
In the last few decades, Jewish enrollment has been declining. Circa 1999 about 28% of the students were Jewish. In early 2020, 1,750 Penn undergraduate students were Jewish, which would be approximately 17% of the some 10,000 undergrads for 2019–20.
Penn Face and behavioral health
The university's social pressure surrounding academic perfection, extreme competitiveness, and nonguaranteed readmission have created what is known as "Penn Face": students put on a façade of confidence and happiness while enduring mental turmoil. Stanford University calls this phenomenon "Duck Syndrome." In recent years, mental health has become an issue on campus with ten student suicides between the years of 2013 to 2016. The school responded by launching a task force. The most widely covered case of Penn Face has been Madison Holleran. In 2018, initiatives were enacted to ameliorate mental health problems, such as requiring sophomores to live on campus and the daily closing of Huntsman Hall at 2:00 a.m. The university's suicide rate was the catalyst for a 2018 state bill, introduced by Governor Tom Wolf, to raise Pennsylvania's standards for university suicide prevention. The university's efforts to address mental health on campus came into the national spotlight again in September 2019 when the director of the university's counseling services committed suicide six months after starting the position.
Selected student organizations
- Oldest organization
- Self-funded organization
- The Daily Pennsylvanian
The Daily Pennsylvanian is an independent, student-run newspaper, which has been published daily since it was founded in 1885. The newspaper went unpublished from May 1943 to November 1945 due to World War II. In 1984, the university lost all editorial and financial control of The Daily Pennsylvanian when the newspaper became its own corporation. The Daily Pennsylvanian has won the Pacemaker Award administered by the Associated Collegiate Press multiple times, most recently in 2019.
- Academic organizations
The Penn Debate Society (PDS), founded in 1984 as the Penn Parliamentary Debate Society, is Penn's debate team, which competes regularly on the American Parliamentary Debate Association and the international British Parliamentary circuit.
Performing arts organizations
Penn is home to numerous organizations that promote the arts, from dance to spoken word, jazz to stand-up comedy, theatre, a cappella and more. The Performing Arts Council (PAC) oversees 45 student organizations in these areas. The PAC has four subcommittees: A Cappella Council; Dance Arts Council; Singer, Musicians, and Comedians (SMAC); and Theatre Arts Council (TAC-e).
Penn Glee Club
The University of Pennsylvania Glee Club, founded in 1862, is one of the oldest continually running glee clubs in the United States and the oldest performing arts group at the University of Pennsylvania. Each year, the Penn Glee Club writes and produces a fully staged, Broadway-style production with an eclectic mix of Penn standards, Broadway classics, classical favorites, and pop hits, highlighting choral singing from all genders (as of April 9, 2021 it merged with Penn Sirens, a previously all female chorale group), clever plots and dialogue, dancing, humor, colorful sets and costumes, and a pit band. The Glee Club draws its singing members from the undergraduate and graduate students (and men and women from the Penn community are also called upon to fill roles in the pit band and technical staff when the Club is involved with theatrical productions). The Penn Glee Club has traveled to nearly all 50 states in the United States and over 40 nations and territories on five continents. Since the 1950s, Penn Glee Club has appeared on national television with such celebrities as Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Stewart, Ed McMahon, Carol Lawrence, and Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco and has been showcased on television specials such as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and at professional sporting events for The Philadelphia Phillies where club sung the National Anthem at the 1993 National League Championship Series. Since its first performance at the White House for President Calvin Coolidge in 1926, the Club has sung for numerous heads of state and world leaders. One of the highlights of 1989 was the Club's performance for Polish President Lech Wałęsa. Bruce Montgomery, its best-known and longest-serving director, led the club from 1956 until 2000.
The University of Pennsylvania Band has been a part of student life since 1897. The Penn Band presently mainly performs at football and basketball games as well as university functions (e.g. commencement and convocation) throughout the year but in past it was known not only as the first college band to perform at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade but performed with notable musicians, including John Philip Sousa, members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the U.S. Marine Band ("The President's Own"), Doc Severinsen of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Beginning in the late 1920s and 1930s Penn Band recorded with the Victor Talking Machine Company (RCA-Victor Company) and was nationally broadcast on WABC (AM). In 1977, Penn Band performed with Chuck Barris of The Gong Show and in 1980 opened for Penn Alumnus, Maury Povich in his eponymously named show.
Penn Band has performed for Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco (sister and aunt to number of alumni), alumnus and District Attorney and Mayor of Philadelphia, and Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell, Vice President Al Gore, Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson and Ronald Reagan, and Polish dissident and President Lech Wałęsa. By the 1970s, however, Penn Band had begun moving away from the traditional corps style and is now a scramble band. The first one hundred years of the organization's history was described in a book from Arcadia Publishing: Images of America:The University of Pennsylvania Band (2006).
Penn's a cappella community
The A Cappella Council (ACK) is composed of 14 a cappella groups. Penn's a cappella groups entertain audiences with repertoires including pop, rock, R&B, jazz, Hindi, and Chinese songs. ACK is also home to Off The Beat, which has received the most contemporary a cappella recording awards of any collegiate group in the United States and the most features on the Best of College A Cappella albums. Penn Masala, formed in 1996, is world's oldest and premier South Asian a cappella group based in an American university, which has performed for Barack Obama, Henry Kissinger, Ban Ki Moon, Farooq Abdullah, Imran Khan, Rajkumar Hirani, A.R. Rahman, and Sunidhi Chauhan, had their a cappella version of Nazia Hassan's Urdu classic "Aap Jaisa Koi", (originally from the movie Qurbani) sung in the movie American Desi, and was invited by Penn alumni Elizabeth Banks (class of 1996) and Max Handelman (Banks' husband, class of 1995) to appear in Pitch Perfect 2, as Banks reported that Penn's a capella community inspired the film series starring and/or produced by Banks and Handleman.
The Mask and Wig Club, founded in 1889, is the oldest all-male musical comedy troupe in the country. Bloomers comedy group, founded in 1978, was the "... nation's first collegiate all-women musical and sketch comedy troupe..." and now accepts all persons from under-represented gender identities who perform comedy.
Religious and spiritual organizations
- Mainstream Protestantism
Dating back to 1857, The Christian Association (a.k.a. The CA) is the oldest religious organization at the university and is composed primarily of students from Mainline Protestant backgrounds. When the University moved to its current campus in the 1880s the CA was based in Houston Hall. After moving around several times it relocated to building at 36th and Locust Streets, which it built and owned (now the ARCH Building), and occupied from 1928 until 2000. The CA ran several foreign missions including one of lasting import when in 1906 it financed University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine graduate, Josiah McCracken, MD, trip to China to investigate the viability of operating the medical department of the Canton Christian College (now known as Lingnan University (Guangzhou)). The following year, Dr. McCracken moved to China and renamed the department as "The University Medical School in Canton, China," and served as its president from the time of renaming through the date in 1913 when the CA ended its affiliation with the Canton Christian College. The CA also ran for decades a camp for socio-economically disadvantaged children from Philadelphia in a more rural section of Pennsylvania. At present the CA occupies part of the parsonage at Tabernacle United Church of Christ.
Though Moses Levy, Penn's first Jewish student, enrolled in 1772 and first Jewish trustee was elected in 1802 (and served through 1826), organized Jewish life did not begin in earnest until start of 20th century. Jewish Life on campus is centered at Penn branch of Hillel International, which inspires students to explore Judaism, creates patterns of Jewish living that can be sustained after graduation, provides religious communities, promotes educational initiatives, social justice projects, social and cultural opportunities, and groups focusing on Israel education and politics, and hosts a Kosher Penn approved dining hall (supervised by the Community Kashrus of Greater Philadelphia). In addition Penn Hillel student and professional staff help facilitate the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute's Sinai Scholars Society Academic Symposium, a prestigious event that brings together Jewish college students with noted Jewish academics for a day of in-depth discussion and debate at the university.
- Roman Catholicism
The Penn Newman Catholic Center (the Newman Center) was founded in 1893 (and was the first Newman Center in the country) with the mission of supporting students, faculty, and staff in their religious endeavors. The organization brings prominent Christian figures to campus, including Rev. Thomas "Tom" J. Hagan, OSFS, who worked in the Newman Center and founded Haiti-based non-profit Hands Together; and, in September 2015, James Martin SJ. In addition to his duties as a Jesuit priest, Father Martin is an editor-at-large of the Jesuit magazine America, a New York Times Best Selling author, and frequent commentator on the life and teachings of Jesus and on Ignatian spirituality. Father Martin is especially well known for his outreach to the LGBT community, which has drawn a strong backlash from parts of the Catholic Church, but has provided comfort to Penn students and other members of Roman Catholic community who wish to stay connected with their faith and identify as LGBQT. During the 2015 World Meetings of Families, which included a visit from Pope Francis to Philadelphia, the Newman Center hosted over 900 Penn students and alumni.
- Hinduism and Jainism
University of Pennsylvania funds (via the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly or similar undergraduate organization) a variety of official clubs focused on India including a number focused on students who are Hindu or Jain. In addition to 'Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH)', a center for students to celebrate South Asian, East Asian, Southeast Asian, culture and religion, 'Rangoli, the Indian Association at Penn', a Penn club, that educates and informs Penn students (mainly graduate and professional students) with ancestry and/or interest in India whose goals include a desire to "rekindle the spirit of various Indian traditions and festivals", and 'Penn Masala', the first and now world famous South Asian a capella group (detailed above under performing arts clubs), Penn funds the 'Penn Hindu & Jain Association', a student-run official club at Penn that has 80 to 110 student members and an extensive alumni network, dedicated to raise awareness of the Hindu and Jain faiths and foster further development of these communities in the greater Philadelphia area by providing a variety of services and hosting a number of events such as Holi Festival (which has been held annually at Penn since 1993) and ". . . aims to be a home to anyone seeking to explore their spiritual, religious, or social interests."
In 1963, the Muslim Students' Association (MSA National) and Penn chapter of MSA National were founded to facilitate Muslim life among students on college campuses. The University of Pennsylvania chapter (Penn MSA) was established to help Penn Muslims build faith and community by fostering a space under the guidance of Islamic principles. In 1973, Penn MSA helped found Masjid Al-Jamia, a mosque close to campus, to facilitate Penn's and the local community's easy access to Islamic study circles, social events, Friday prayers and holiday celebrations. The establishment of the mosque and the 1980 organization of a relief fund to aid refugees fleeing Afghanistan in the wake of the Soviet attack are consistent with Penn MSA support of mission of its related umbrella organization, Islamic Society of North America, to "foster the development of the Muslim community, interfaith relations, civic engagement, and better understandings of Islam." Though Penn MSA stakeholders remain involved with Masjid Al-Jamia mosque, the local West Philadelphia community now operates the mosque, which, as of 2009, is owned by a national organization, North American Islamic Trust, Inc. In addition to Penn MSA support of Islam at Penn, The Muslim Life Program at the University of Pennsylvania provides such support and helped cause Penn (in January 2017) to hire its first full-time Muslim chaplain, the co-president of the Association of Campus Muslim Chaplains, Sister Patricia Anton (whose background includes working with Muslim, interfaith, academic and peace-building institutions such as Islamic Society of North America and Islamic Relief). Chaplain Anton's mandate includes supporting and guiding the Penn Muslim community to foster further development of such community by creating a welcoming environment that provides Penn Muslim community opportunities to intellectually and spiritually engage with Islam. Penn also has a residential house, the Muslim Life Residential Program, which provides Penn students with a live/learn environment focused on the appreciation of Islamic culture, food, history, and practice, and shows its residents how Islam is deeply integrated in the culture of Philadelphia so they may appreciate how Islam influences daily life in the home of one of the largest Muslim communities in North America.
Penn's sports teams are nicknamed the Quakers, but the teams are often also referred to as The Red & Blue. The athletes participate in the Ivy League and Division I (Division I FCS for football) in the NCAA. In recent decades, they often have been league champions in football (14 times from 1982 to 2010) and basketball (22 times from 1970 to 2006). The first athletic team at Penn was the cricket team, which formed its first team in 1842 and played regularly through 1846, the year it lost its "grounds", and then only played intermittently until 1864, the year it played its first intercollegiate game (against Haverford College). The rowing or crew team composed of Penn students but not officially representing Penn was formed in 1854 but did not compete against other colleges as official part of Penn until 1879. The rugby football team began to play against other colleges, most notably against College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1874 using a combination of association football (i.e. soccer) and rugby rules (the twenty players on each side were able to use their hands but were not able to pass or bat the ball forward).
The first University of Pennsylvania cricket team was organized in 1842 by a member of Philadelphia's prominent Wister family, William Rotch Wister (Class of 1846 for Bachelor of Arts and 1849 for Master of Arts). Penn never possessed its own "ground" except in 1846 when it leased one day a week, for a total sum of $50, a "ground" (located east of the Delaware River on land owned by the Union Club of Camden, New Jersey (which, in 1840, arguably organized the first Cricket team in the United States ) on a site formerly occupied by Camden and Amboy Rail Road and Transportation Company)
From 1846 to 1860, there is little evidence of Penn playing cricket but just as Civil War began, Penn students resumed playing cricket matches between classes of Penn students.
On May 7, 1864 Penn played its first intercollegiate game against Haverford College and then proceeded to play Haverford for three consecutive years until 1869, when the Haverford faculty banned cricket away from their college grounds.
After Penn moved west of the Schuylkill River in 1872, Penn played cricket at one of the local clubs (Belmont Cricket Club, the closest to campus at 50th Street and Chester Avenue, Merion Cricket Club, and Germantown Cricket Club), or at Haverford College. Though there is evidence of an occasional game during period 1870 through 1875, none were played against other colleges and there were no yearbook pictures for the three years after 1872 when Penn moved from Center City to University City. Starting in 1875 and through 1880, Penn fielded a varsity eleven, which played a few matches each year against opponents that included Haverford College and Columbia College.
In 1881, Penn, Harvard College, Haverford College, Princeton College (then known as College of New Jersey), and Columbia College formed The Intercollegiate Cricket Association, which Cornell University later joined. Penn won The Intercollegiate Cricket Association championship (the de facto national championship) 23 times (18 solo, 3 shared with Haverford and Harvard, 1 shared with Haverford and Cornell, and 1 shared with just Haverford) during the 44 years that The Intercollegiate Cricket Association existed (1881 through 1924).
In the 1890s Penn's cricket team frequently toured Canada and the British Isles. In July 1895 an international cricket match between Canada and the United States was played on the Manheim grounds in Germantown section of Philadelphia with six of the United States team being Penn student athletes and, in September of that year, past and then current members of Penn's varsity cricket team played past and then current members of the English cricket teams of Oxford and Cambridge resulting in Penn defeating the Oxford-Cambridge team by one hundred runs. This was not surprising as in the last two and a half decades of the 19th century and first decade of the 20th century, Philadelphia was the center of cricket in the United States Cricket had gained in popularity among the upper class from their travels abroad and cricket clubs sprung up all across the Eastern Seaboard (even today Philadelphia still has three cricket clubs: the Philadelphia Cricket Club, the Merion Cricket Club and the Germantown Cricket Club).
Perhaps the University's most famous cricket player was George Patterson (Class of 1888) who still holds the North American batting record and who went on to play for the professional Philadelphia Cricket Team.
Following the First World War, cricket began to experience a serious decline (as baseball became the preferred sport of the warmer months) such that in 1924 Penn fielded its last team in the twentieth century. Starting in 2009, however, Penn once again fielded a Cricket team, albeit club, that ended up being the first winner of a tournament for teams from the Ivies.
Rowing (crew) at Penn dates back to at least 1854 with the founding of the University Barge Club. The university currently hosts both heavyweight and lightweight men's teams and an open weight women's team, all of which compete as part of the Eastern Sprints League. Ellis Ward was Penn's first intercollegiate crew coach from 1879 through 1912.
During course of Ward's coaching career at Penn his "... Red and Blue crews won 65 races, in about 150 starts." Importantly, Ward coached Penn's 8 oared boat to the finals of the Grand Challenge Cup (the oldest and most prized trophy) at the Henley Royal Regatta (but in that final race was defeated by the champion Leander Club).
Penn Rowing has produced a long list of famous coaches and Olympians. Members of Penn crew team, rowers Sidney Jellinek, Eddie Mitchell, and coxswain, John G. Kennedy, won the bronze medal for the United States at 1924 Olympics.
Joseph William Burk (Joe Burk) (Penn Class of 1935) was captain of Penn Crew team, winner of the Henley Diamond Sculls twice, named recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award for nation's best amateur athlete in 1939, and Penn coach from 1950 to 1969. The 1955 Men's Heavyweight 8, coached by Joe Burk, became one of only four American university crews in history to win the Grand Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta. The outbreak of World War Two canceled the 1940 Olympics for which Burk was favored to win the gold medal.
Other Penn Olympic athletes and or Penn coaches of such athletes include Susan Francia (winner of Gold Medals as part of the women's 8 oared boat at 2008 Olympics and 2012 Olympics), Regina Salmons (member of 2021 USA team), Rusty Callow, Harry Parker, Ted Nash, and John B. Kelly Jr. (2nd Penn Crew Alumnus to win the James E. Sullivan Award, in 1947, for being nation's best amateur athlete, also was winner of a bronze medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics).
The Penn men's crew team won the National Collegiate Rowing Championship in 1991. The Penn teams presently row out of College Boat Club, No.11 Boathouse Row.
The Penn men's rugby football team is one of the oldest collegiate rugby teams in the United States. Indeed, Penn first fielded a team in mid 1870s playing by rules much closer to the rugby union and Association Football code rules (relative to American football rules, as such American football rules had not yet been invented). Among its earliest games was a game against College of New Jersey (which in 1895 changed its name to Princeton) played in Philadelphia on Saturday, November 11, 1876, which was less than two weeks before Princeton met on November 23, 1876 with Harvard and Columbia to confirm that all their games would be played using the rugby union rules. Princeton and Penn played their November 1876 game per a combination of rugby (there were 20 players per side and players were able to touch the ball with their hands) and Association Football codes. The rugby code influence was due, in part, to the fact that some of their students had been educated in English public schools.
Among the prominent alumni to play in a 19th century version of rugby (rules that did not allow forward passes or center snaps) was John Heisman, namesake of the Heisman Trophy and an 1892 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Heisman was instrumental in the first decade of the 20th century in changing the rules to more closely relate to present rules of American football. One of the captains of Heisman's teams was Harry Arista Mackey, Penn Law Class of 1893 (who subsequently served as Mayor of Philadelphia from 1928 to 1932.)
In 1906, Rugby per Rugby Union code was reintroduced to Penn (as Penn last played per Rugby Union Code in 1882 as Penn played rugby per a number of different rugby football rulebooks and codes from 1883 through 1890s) by Frank Villeneuve Nicholson (Frank Nicholson (rugby union)) University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine (Class of 1910), who in 1904 had captained the Australian national rugby team in its match against England. Penn played per rugby union code rules at least through 1912, contemporaneously with Penn playing American gridiron football. Evidence of such may be found in an October 22, 1910, Daily Pennsylvanian article (quoted below) and a yearbook photo that rugby per rugby union code was played.
Such is the devotion to English rugby football on the part of University of Pennsylvania's students from New Zealand, Australia, and England that they meet on Franklin Field at 7 o'clock every morning and practice the game. The varsity track and football squads monopolize the field to such an extent that the early hours of the morning are the only ones during which the rugby enthusiasts can play. Any time except Friday, Saturday and Sunday, a squad of 25 men may be seen running through the hardest kind of practice after which they may divide into two teams and play a hard game. Once a week, captain CC Walton, ('11), dental, who hails from New Zealand, gives the enthusiastic players a blackboard talk in which he explains the intricacies of the game in detail.
The player-coach of United States Olympic gold-winning rugby team at the 1924 Summer Olympics was Alan Valentine, who played rugby while at Penn (which he attended during 1921/1922 academic year) as he was getting a Master's degree at Wharton.
Though Penn played rugby per rugby union rules from 1929 through 1934, there is no indication that Penn had a rugby team from 1935 through 1959 when Penn men's rugby became permanent due to leadership of Harry "Joe" Edwin Reagan III Penn's College Class of 1962 and Penn Law Class of 1965, who also went onto help create and incorporate (in 1975) and was Treasurer (in 1981) of USA Rugby and Oreste P. "Rusty" D'Arconte Penn's College Class of 1966 Thus, with D'Arconte's hustle and Reagan's charisma and organizational skills, a team, which had fielded a side of fifteen intermittently from 1912 through 1960, became permanent.
In spring of 1984 Penn women's rugby, led by Social Chair Tamara Wayland (College Class of 1985 who subsequently became the women’s representative to and vice president of USA Rugby South from 1996-1998), Club President Marianne Seligson, and Penn Law student Gigi Sohn, began to compete. Penn women's rugby team is coached, as of 2020, by (a) Adam Dick, a 300-level certified coach with over 15 years of rugby coaching experience including being the first coach of the first women's rugby team at the University of Arizona and who was a four year starter at University of Arizona men's first XV rugby team and (b) Philly women's player Kate Hallinan.
Penn's men's rugby team plays in the Ivy Rugby Conference and have finished as runners-up in both 15s and 7s in the Conference and won the Ivy Rugby Tournament in 1992. As of 2011, the club uses the state-of-the-art facilities at Penn Park. The Penn Quakers' rugby team played on national TV at the 2013 Collegiate Rugby Championship, a college rugby tournament that for number of years had been played each June at PPL Park (now known as Subaru Park) in Philadelphia and was broadcast live on NBC. In their inaugural year of participation, the Penn men's rugby team won the Shield Competition, beating local Big Five rival, Temple University, 17–12 in the final. In the semifinal match of that Shield Competition, Penn Rugby became the first Philadelphia team to beat a non-Philadelphia team in CRC history, with a 14–12 win over the University of Texas.
Penn men's rugby, as of 2020, is coached by Tiger Bax, a former professional rugby player hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, whose playing experience includes stints in the Super Rugby competition with the Stormers (15s) and Mighty Mohicans (7s), as well as with the Gallagher Premiership Rugby side, Saracens and whose coaching experience includes three successful years as coach at Valley Rugby Football Club in Hong Kong; and Tyler May, from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, who played rugby at Pennsylvania State University where he was a first XV player for three years.
Penn's graduate and professional schools also fielded rugby teams. The Penn Law Rugby team (1985 through 1993) counts among its alumni Walter Joseph Jay Clayton, III Penn Law Class of 1993, and chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from May 4, 2017 until December 23, 2020 and Raymond Hulser, former Chief of Public Integrity Section of United States Department of Justice. The Wharton rugby team has competed from 1978 to the present. Other recent Penn Rugby Alumni include Conor Lamb (Penn College Class of 2006 and Penn Law Class of 2009), who played for undergraduate team (and had an additional year of eligibility allowing him to continue to playing for undergraduate team while a student at Penn Law per USA Rugby rules), and, as of 2021, is a member of United States House of Representatives, elected originally to Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district, since 2019 is a U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania's 17th congressional district.
Penn football made many contributions to the sport in its early days. During the 1890s, Penn's famed coach and alumnus George Washington Woodruff introduced the quarterback kick, a forerunner of the forward pass, as well as the place-kick from scrimmage and the delayed pass. In 1894, 1895, 1897 and 1904, Penn was generally regarded as the national champion of collegiate football. The achievements of two of Penn's outstanding players from that era, John Heisman, a Law School alumnus, and John Outland, a Penn Med alumnus, are remembered each year with the presentation of the Heisman Trophy to the most outstanding college football player of the year, and the Outland Trophy to the most outstanding college football interior lineman of the year.
Also, each year the Bednarik Award is given to college football's best defensive player. Chuck Bednarik (Class of 1949) was a three-time All-American center/linebacker who starred on the 1947 team and is generally regarded as Penn's all-time finest. In addition to Bednarik, the 1947 squad boasted four-time All-American tackle George Savitsky and three-time All-American halfback Skip Minisi. All three standouts were subsequently elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, as was their coach, George Munger (a star running back at Penn in the early 1930s). Bednarik went on to play for 12 years with the Philadelphia Eagles, becoming the NFL's last 60-minute man. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969. During his presidency of the institution from 1948 to 1953, Harold Stassen attempted to recultivate Penn's heyday of big-time college football, but the effort lacked support and was short-lived.
Penn basketball is steeped in tradition. Penn made its only (and the Ivy League's second) Final Four appearance in 1979, where the Quakers lost to Magic Johnson-led Michigan State in Salt Lake City. (Dartmouth twice finished second in the tournament in the 1940s, but that was before the beginning of formal League play.) Penn's team is also a member of the Philadelphia Big 5, along with La Salle, Saint Joseph's, Temple and Villanova. In 2007, the men's team won its third consecutive Ivy League title and then lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Texas A&M. Penn last made the NCAA tournament in 2018 where it lost to top seeded Kansas.
Franklin Field is where the Quakers play football, field hockey, lacrosse, sprint football and track and field (and formerly baseball, soccer, and rugby). It is the oldest stadium still operating for football games and was the first stadium to sport two tiers.
Today it is also used by Penn students for recreation such as intramural and club sports, including touch football and cricket. Franklin Field hosts the annual collegiate track and field event "the Penn Relays."
Penn's home court, the Palestra, is an arena used for men's and women's basketball teams, volleyball teams, wrestling team and Philadelphia Big Five basketball, as well as high school sporting events. The Palestra has hosted more NCAA Tournament basketball games than any other facility.Penn staff and students make use of the Palestra to play and/or watch basketball, volleyball, and fencing.
Penn's River Fields hosts a number of athletic fields including the Rhodes Soccer Stadium (for both women's and men's soccer, which includes elevated stands for 650 spectators, a 180-degree rotating scoreboard, and the Rapaport Family Suite), the Ellen Vagelos C'90 Field Hockey Field (with special artificial turf), and Irving "Moon" Mondschein Throwing Complex (for javelin, shot put, discus, and Hammer throw). In addition, Penn baseball plays its home games at Meiklejohn Stadium at Murphy Field.
The Olympic Boycott Games of 1980 was held at the University of Pennsylvania in response to Moscow's hosting of the 1980 Summer Olympics following the Soviet incursion in Afghanistan. Twenty-nine of the boycotting nations participated in the Boycott Games.
- Francis Hopkinson, signed the Declaration of Independence and designed the first official American flag.
- Benjamin Rush, Founding Father; surgeon general of the Continental Army
- Martha Hughes Cannon, first female state senator elected in the United States
- Jon Huntsman Jr., politician, businessman, and diplomat
- William Brennan Jr., Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court
- Doc Holliday, famed gunslinger, attended the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery.
- William Wrigley, Jr., founder and eponym of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company
- Physician and poet William Carlos Williams graduated from Penn's School of Medicine
- Ezra Pound, poet and critic; a major figure in the early modernist poetry movement
- Noam Chomsky studied philosophy and linguistics at Penn, graduating with a BA in 1949, an MA in 1951 and a Ph.D. in 1955.
- Warren Buffett, successful investor
- Tory Burch, fashion designer and founder of Tory Burch LLC
- John Legend, musician and recipient of Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards
- Stanley B. Prusiner, neurologist and biochemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- Christian B. Anfinsen, biochemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Some fourteen heads of state or government have attended or graduated from Penn, including former president Donald J. Trump; former president William Henry Harrison, who attended the medical school for less than a semester; former prime minister of the Philippines Cesar Virata; the first president of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe; the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah; and the current president of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara. Other notable politicians who hold a degree from Penn include India's former minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha, former ambassador and Utah governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., Mexico's current minister of finance, Ernesto J. Cordero, former Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter, and former Pennsylvania governor and DNC chair Ed Rendell.
The university's presence in the judiciary in and outside of the United States is also notable. It has produced three United States Supreme Court justices, William J. Brennan, Owen J. Roberts and James Wilson; Supreme Court justices of foreign states (e.g., Ronald Wilson of the High Court of Australia, Ayala Procaccia of the Israel Supreme Court, Yvonne Mokgoro, former justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa); and Irish Court of Appeal justice Gerard Hogan.
Penn is also a top feeder school for careers in finance and investment banking on Wall Street and its alumni have a strong presence in financial and economic life. Penn has educated several governors of central banks including Yasin Anwar (State Bank of Pakistan), Ignazio Visco (Bank of Italy), Kim Choongsoo (Bank of Korea), Zeti Akhtar Aziz (Central Bank of Malaysia), Pridiyathorn Devakula (governor, Bank of Thailand, and former minister of finance), Farouk El Okdah (Central Bank of Egypt) and Alfonso Prat Gay (Central Bank of Argentina), as well as the director of the United States National Economic Council, Gene Sperling. Other alumni include Warren Buffett (CEO of Berkshire Hathaway), Steven A. Cohen (founder of SAC Capital Advisors), and Robert Kapito (president of BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager).
Penn alumni who are founders of technology companies include Ralph J. Roberts (co-founder of Comcast); Elon Musk (co-founder of PayPal, Tesla, OpenAI and Neuralink, founder of SpaceX and The Boring Company); Leonard Bosack (co-founder of Cisco); David J. Brown (co-founder of Silicon Graphics) and Mark Pincus (founder of Zynga, the company behind FarmVille).
Among other distinguished alumni are the current or past presidents of over one hundred universities including Harvard University (Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard's first female president), Cornell University (Martha E. Pollack), Penn (Judith Rodin, first female president in the Ivy League), Princeton University (Harold Dodds), the University of California (Mark Yudof), Carnegie Mellon University (Jared Cohon), and Northwestern University (Morton O. Schapiro).
Penn's alumni also include poets William Augustus Muhlenberg, Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams; linguist and political theorist Noam Chomsky; architect Louis Kahn; cartoonist Charles Addams; actresses Candice Bergen and Elizabeth Banks; journalist Joe Klein; fashion designer Tory Burch, and recording artist John Legend.
Within the ranks of Penn's most historic graduates are also eight signers of the Declaration of Independence and nine signers of the Constitution. These include George Clymer, Francis Hopkinson, Thomas McKean, Robert Morris, William Paca, George Ross, Benjamin Rush, James Wilson, Thomas Fitzsimons, Jared Ingersoll, Rufus King, Thomas Mifflin, Gouverneur Morris and Hugh Williamson.
Penn alumni have also had significant impact on the United States military as they include Samuel Nicholas, United States Marine Corps founder, and William A. Newell, whose congressional action formed a predecessor to the current United States Coast Guard,(p.1 col.5 – p.2 col.1) in addition to numerous generals or similar rank in the United States Armed Forces, as well as at least five United States Medal of Honor recipients.
As of 2020, there have been 24 Nobel Laureates affiliated (see List of Nobel laureates by university affiliation), with the University of Pennsylvania, of whom four are current faculty members and eight are alumni. Penn also educated members of the United States National Academies and the Academy of Arts and Sciences, eight National Medal of Science laureates, numerous Sloan Fellows, several members of the American Philosophical Society and many Guggenheim Fellowships.
Alumni relations and inter-Ivy events
In addition to active alumni chapters globally, in 1989, the university bought a 14-story clubhouse building in New York City from Yale for $15 million to house Penn's largest alumni chapter. After raising a separate $25 million (including $150,000+ donations each from Estee Lauder heirs, Leonard Lauder and Ronald Lauder, Saul Steinberg, Michael Milken, and Ronald Perelman) and two years of renovation, the Penn Club of New York moved to said current location on NYC's Clubhouse Row directly in front of the Harvard Club of New York, on the same block as the Cornell Club of New York, and a block away from the Yale Club of New York City and Princeton Club of New York for inter-Ivy events. Despite being in New York City, Columbia University shares a clubhouse with the Penn Club. The New York region of the university maintains an office in the Penn Club.
- List of universities by number of billionaire alumni
- Education in Philadelphia
- Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP)
- University of Pennsylvania Press
- The University officially uses 1740 as its founding date and has since 1899. The ideas and intellectual inspiration for the academic institution stem from 1749, with a pamphlet published by Benjamin Franklin (1705/1706–1790). When Franklin's institution was established, it inhabited a schoolhouse built on November 14, 1740 for another school, which never came to practical fruition. Penn archivist Mark Frazier Lloyd noted, "In 1899, UPenn's Trustees adopted a resolution that established 1740 as the founding date, but good cases may be made for 1749, when Franklin first convened the Trustees, or 1751, when the first classes were taught at the affiliated secondary school for boys, Academy of Philadelphia, or 1755, when Penn obtained its collegiate charter to add a post-secondary institution, the College of Philadelphia." Princeton's library presents another diplomatically-phrased view.
- Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution. The College of Philadelphia (later Penn), College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) and King's College (later Columbia College, now Columbia University) all originated within a few years of each other. After initially designating 1750 as its founding date, Penn later considered 1749 to be its founding date for more than a century, including alumni observing a centennial celebration in 1849. In 1895, several elite universities in the United States convened in New York City as the "Intercollegiate Commission" at the invitation of John J. McCook, a Union Army officer during the American Civil War and member of Princeton's board of trustees who chaired its Committee on Academic Dress. The primary purpose of the conference was to standardize American academic regalia, which was accomplished through the adoption of the Intercollegiate Code on Academic Costume. This formalized protocol included a provision that henceforth academic processions would place visiting dignitaries and other officials in the order of their institution's founding dates. The following year, Penn's The Alumni Register magazine, published by the General Alumni Society, began a campaign to retroactively revise the University's founding date to 1740, to become older than Princeton, which had been chartered in 1746. Three years later in 1899, Penn's board of trustees acceded to this alumni initiative and officially changed its founding date from 1749 to 1740, affecting its rank in academic processions as well as the informal bragging rights that come with the age-based hierarchy in academia generally. See "Building Penn's Brand" for more details on why Penn did this. Princeton implicitly challenges this rationale, also considering itself to be the nation's fourth-oldest institution of higher learning. To further complicate the comparison, a University of Edinburgh-educated Presbyterian minister from Scotland, named William Tennent and his son Gilbert Tennent operated a "Log College" in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, from 1726 until 1746; some have suggested a connection between it and Princeton because five members of Princeton's first Board of Trustees were affiliated with the "Log College", including Gilbert Tennent, William Tennent, Jr., and Samuel Finley, the latter of whom later became President of Princeton. All twelve members of Princeton's first Board of Trustees were leaders from the "New Side" or "New Light" wing of the Presbyterian Church in the New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania areas. This antecedent relationship, when considered a formal lineage with institutional continuity, would justify pushing Princeton's founding date back to 1726, earlier than Penn's 1740. However, Princeton has not done so, and a Princeton historian says that "the facts do not warrant" such an interpretation. Columbia also implicitly challenges Penn's use of either 1750, 1749 or 1740, as it claims to be the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States (after Harvard, William & Mary, Yale and Princeton), based upon its charter date of 1754 and Penn's charter date of 1755. Academic histories of American higher education generally list Penn as fifth or sixth, after Princeton and immediately before or after that of Columbia. Even Penn's account of its early history agrees that the original secondary school (the Academy of Philadelphia) did not add an institution of higher learning (the College of Philadelphia) until 1755, but university officials continue to make it their practice to assert their fourth-oldest place in academic processions. Other American universities that began as a colonial-era, early version of secondary schools such as St. John's College (founded as "King William's School" in 1696) and the University of Delaware (founded as "the Free Academy" in 1743) choose to march based upon the date they became institutions of higher learning. Penn History Professor Edgar Potts Cheyney was a member of the Penn class of 1883 who played a leading role in the 1896-1899 alumni campaign to change the university's formal founding date. According to Cheyney's later history of the event, the university did indeed consider its founding date to be 1749 for almost a century. However, it was changed with good reason, and primarily due to a publication about the university issued by the U.S. Commissioner of Education written by Francis Newton Thorpe, a fellow alumnus, and colleague in the Penn history department. The year 1740 is the date of the establishment of the first educational trust that the University had taken upon itself. Cheyney states further that "it might be considered a lawyer's date; it is a familiar legal practice in considering the date of any institution to seek out the oldest trust it administers". He also points out that Harvard's founding date is also the year in which the Massachusetts General Court (state legislature) resolved to establish a fund in a year's time for a "School or College". As well, Princeton claims its founding date as 1746, the date of its first charter. However, the exact words of the charter are unknown, the number and names of the trustees in the charter are unknown, and no known original is extant. Except for Columbia University, the majority of the American Colonial Colleges do not have clear-cut dates of foundation.
- In 1790, the first lecture on law was given by James Wilson; however, a full time program was not offered until 1850.
- Buffett studied at Penn for two years before he transferred to the University of Nebraska.
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According to annual studies (UBS and Wealth-X Billionaire Census) by UBS and Wealth-X, the University of Pennsylvania has produced the most billionaires in the world, as measured by the number of undergraduate degree holders. Four of the top five schools were Ivy League institutions.
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[I]t becomes a breeding ground for competitiveness. And with competition comes the need to uphold reputation. Low acceptance rates come with very high stakes, and a slip of the mask of strength calls into question the legitimacy of your place at Penn... Stanford University calls it the Duck Syndrome... Interestingly, Penn Face perfectly mirrors social media trends.
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Peer institutions like Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania have problems with the duck syndrome or Penn Face, respectively — similar phenomena that encourage students to appear to be unstressed while actually grappling with a lot of work. The duck appears calm from the surface, but underwater, it is struggling to stay afloat. It makes small mistakes feel like big failures and discourages students from seeking out mental health resources when needed.
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In light of the recent suicides at Penn, a new Pennsylvania bill aiming to improve suicide prevention services and mental health resources at Pennsylvania universities is close to being signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf (D-Pa.)...In a press release, Schlossberg also said the new bill was inspired by a study conducted in response to 'multiple suicides at the University of Pennsylvania.'
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