The University of Pennsylvania (also known as Penn) is a private university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Penn is America's first university and is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Penn is also a member of the Ivy League, and is one of the Colonial Colleges.
Benjamin Franklin, Penn's founder, advocated an educational program that focused as much on practical education for commerce and public service as on the classics and theology. Penn was one of the first academic institutions to follow a multidisciplinary model pioneered by several European universities, concentrating several "faculties" (e.g., theology, classics, medicine) into one institution.
About 4,500 professors serve nearly 10,000 full-time undergraduate and 10,000 graduate and professional students.
In FY2007, Penn's academic research programs undertook more than $787 million in research, involving some 4,200 faculty, 870 postdoctoral fellows, 3,800 graduate students, and 5,400 support staff. Much of the funding is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for biomedical research.
Penn tops the Ivy League in annual spending, with a projected 2007 budget of $5.18 billion. In 2007, it ranked fourth among U.S. universities in fundraising, bringing in about $392.4 million in private support.
Penn is incorporated as The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. The university is one of 14 founding members of the Association of American Universities.
The University of Pennsylvania is often confused with Penn State although there is no affiliation between the two.
In 1740, a group of Philadelphians joined together to erect a great preaching hall for the evangelist George Whitefield. Designed and built by Edmund Woolley, it was the largest building in the city and it was also planned to serve as a charity school. The fundraising, however, fell short and although the building was erected, the plans for both a chapel and the charity school were suspended. In the fall of 1749, eager to create a college to educate future generations, Benjamin Franklin circulated a pamphlet titled "Proposals for the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania," his vision for what he called a "Public Academy of Philadelphia. However, according to Franklin's autobiography, it was in 1743 when he first drew up a proposal for establishing the academy, "thinking the Rev. Richard Peters a fit person to superintend such an institution." Unlike the other three American Colonial colleges that existed at the time — Harvard, William and Mary, and Yale — 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 became the nation's first modern liberal arts 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 (November 13, 1749) the issue of where to locate the school was a prime concern. Although a lot across Sixth Street from 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. On February 1, 1750 the new board took over the building and trusts of the old board. In 1751 the Academy, using the great hall at 4th and Arch Streets, took in its first students. A charity school also was opened in accordance with the intentions of the original "New Building" donors, although it lasted only a few years.
For its date of founding, the University uses 1740, the date of "the creation of the earliest of the many educational trusts the University has taken upon itself (the charity school mentioned above) during its existence.
The institution was known as the College of Philadelphia from 1755 to 1779. In 1779, not trusting then-provost the Rev. 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 the University of Pennsylvania with twelve men from each institution on the new board of trustees. These three schools were part of the same institution and were overseen by the same board of Trustees.
Penn has three claims to being the first university in the United States, according to university archive director Mark Frazier Lloyd: founding the first medical school in America in 1765, makes it the first university de facto, while, by virtue of the 1779 charter, "no other American institution of higher learning was named University before Penn." Also, as previously noted, Harvard, William and Mary, and Yale were merely colleges dedicated to the education of the clergy.
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.
|Provosts of the Academy, College and University||birth–death||Years as provost|
|1||The Rev. George Whitefield||(1714–1770)||(1740–1746) Church and Charity School of Philadelphia|
|2||Benjamin Franklin||(1706–1790)||(1749–1754) Academy of Philadelphia|
|3||The Rev. William Smith||(1727–1803)||(1754–1779) College of Philadelphia|
|4||The Rev. John Ewing||(1732–1802)||(1779–1802) University of Pennsylvania|
|5||The Rev. William Smith||(1751–1820)||(1802–1806) University of Pennsylvania|
|6||The Rev. John McDowell||(1732–1802)||(1807–1810) University of Pennsylvania|
|7||The Rev. John Andrews||(1746–1813)||(1810–1813) University of Pennsylvania|
|8||The Rev. Frederick Beasley||(1777–1845)||(1813–1828) University of Pennsylvania|
|9||The Rev. William Heathcote DeLancey||(1797–1865)||(1828–1834) University of Pennsylvania|
|10||The Rev. John Ludlow||(1793–1857)||(1834–1852) University of Pennsylvania|
|11||The Rev. Henry Vethake||(1790–1866)||(1853–1859) University of Pennsylvania|
|13||The Rev. Daniel Goodwin||(1811–1890)||(1860–1868) University of Pennsylvania|
|14||Charles Janeway Stillé||(1819–1899)||(1868–1880) University of Pennsylvania|
|15||William Pepper||(1843–1898)||(1881–1894) University of Pennsylvania|
|16||Charles Custis Harrison||(1844–1929)||(1894–1910) University of Pennsylvania|
|17||Edgar Fahs Smith||(1854–1928)||(1910–1920) University of Pennsylvania|
|18||Josiah Harmar Penniman||(1868–1940)||(1923–1930) University of Pennsylvania|
|Presidents of the University of Pennsylvania||Years as president|
|1||Thomas Sovereign Gates||(1930–1944)|
|2||George William McClelland||(1944–1948)|
|3||Harold Edward Stassen||(1948–1953)|
|4||William Hagan DuBarry||(1953–1953), Acting President|
|5||Gaylord Probasco Harnwell||(1953–1970)|
|8||Claire Fagin||(1993–1994), Interim President|
One President of the United States (William Henry Harrison); nine signers of the Declaration of Independence (Benjamin Franklin, James Wilson, Benjamin Rush, George Clymer, Robert Morris, George Ross, Francis Hopkinson, Thomas McKean, and William Paca); eleven signers of the Constitution (Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, James Wilson, Thomas Mifflin, George Clymer, Thomas Fitzsimons, Jared Ingersoll, Rufus King, Gouverneur Morris, Robert Morris, and Hugh Williamson); and three United States Supreme Court justices (William Brennan, Owen J. Roberts, and James Wilson) are associated with the University.
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 school of business, 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 Psychology department in North America and where the American Medical Association was founded.
The College of Arts & Sciences is the undergraduate division of the School of Arts and Sciences, which also contains the Graduate Division and the College of General Studies, Penn's division for non-traditional undergraduate and graduate students.
Penn has a strong focus on interdisciplinary learning and research. It emphasizes joint 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 and dental schools.
One of the most well known guest professors at Penn is the actor Kal Penn who taught a very popular class at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dual Degree programs which lead to the same multiple degrees without participation in the specific above programs are also available. Unlike joint-degree programs, "dual degree" students fulfill requirements of both programs independently without involvement of another program. Specialized Dual Degree programs include Liberal Studies and Technology as well as a Computer and Cognitive Science Program. Both programs award a degree from the College of Arts and Science and a degree from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
For graduate programs, there are many formalized joint degree graduate programs such as a joint J.D./MBA. Penn is also the home to interdisciplinary institutions such as the Institute for Medicine and Engineering, the Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management and International Studies, the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science, and the Executive Master's in Technology Management Program.
The size of Penn's biomedical research organization, however, adds a very capital intensive component to the university's operations, and introduces revenue instability due to changing government regulations, reduced Federal funding for research, and Medicaid/Medicare program changes. This is a primary reason highlighted in bond rating agencies' views on Penn's overall financial rating, which ranks one notch below its academic peers. Penn has worked to address these issues by pooling its schools (as well as several hospitals and clinical practices) into the University of Pennsylvania Health System, thereby pooling resources for greater efficiencies and research impact.
Penn has an acceptance rate of 15.9%, and is arguably the most selective of the "middle" or "lower" Ivies (i.e. Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, and Cornell). To wit, 96% of Penn's incoming freshmen for 2007 were ranked in the top 10% of their high school classes, compared to Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth and Cornell, whose statistics were 93%, 90%, 91%, and 87%, respectively. To quote a recent article about the university regarding its admissions policy and research prowess, "The University of Pennsylvania holds its own against the best of its Ivy League brethren.
At the graduate level, Penn's admissions rates—like most universities'—vary considerably based on school and program. Based on admission statistics from U.S. News, Penn's most selective programs include its law school, the health care schools (medicine, dental medicine, nursing), and its business school.
In 2007, The Washington Monthly published a unique ranking that focused on universities' contributions to national service (Research: total research spending, Ph.D.s granted in science and engineering; Community Service: the number of students in ROTC, Peace Corps, etc.; and Social Mobility: percentage of, and support for, Pell grant recipients); Penn ranked 17th overall, and 4th among private institutions behind Cornell, Stanford and MIT.
Among its professional schools, the schools of business (Wharton School), architecture and urban planning (School of Design), communications (Annenberg School for Communication), medicine (School of Medicine), dentistry (School of Dental Medicine), nursing and veterinary medicine rank in the top five nationally (see U.S. News, National Research Council, Planetizen, DesignIntelligence magazines). Penn's law school is ranked seventh and the social work and education schools are ranked in the top twelve (U.S. News).
Much of Penn's architecture was designed by the architecture firm of Cope & Stewardson, whose principal architects combined the Gothic architecture of the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge with the local landscape to establish the Collegiate Gothic style. The present core campus covers over 269 acres (~1 km²) in a contiguous area of West Philadelphia's University City district. All of Penn's schools and most of its research institutes are located on this campus. Recent improvements to the surrounding neighborhood include the opening of several restaurants, a large upscale grocery store, and a movie theater on the western edge of campus.
In 2007, Penn acquired about 35 acres between the campus and the Schuylkill River (the former site of the Philadelphia Civic Center and a nearby 24-acre 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. It encompasses the main U.S. Postal Building at 30th and Market Streets (the retail post office at the east end of the building will remain open), the Postal Annex between Chestnut Street and Walnut Street, the Vehicle Maintenance Facility Garage along Chestnut Street and the 14 acres of surface parking south of Walnut Street. Over the next decade, the site will become the home to educational, research, biomedical, and mixed-use facilities. Penn also plans new connections between the campus and the city, including a pedestrian bridge.
The University also owns the 92-acre Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill in northwestern Philadelphia, the official arboretum of the state of Pennsylvania. Penn also owns the New Bolton Center, the research and large-animal health care center of its Veterinary School. Located near Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, 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 Louis Evans. Twelve years later, then-provost William Smith sailed to England to raise additional funds to increase the collection size. More than 250 years later, it has grown into a system of 15 libraries (13 are on the contiguous campus) with 400 FTE employees and a total operating budget of more than $48 million. The library system holds 5.7 million book and serial volumes. It subscribes to 44,000 print serials and e-journals.
Penn's Libraries, with associated school or subject area:
The Institute of Contemporary Art based on Penn's campus, showcases various exhibitions of art throughout the year.
Within the college houses Penn has nearly forty themed residential programs which bring together students with common interests ranging from science and technology (STWING) to world cinema.
Many of the nearby homes on 40-42nd are often rented by undergraduate students moving off campus after freshman year.
Of those accepted for admission to the Class of 2009, 39.2 percent are Asian, Hispanic, African, or Native American. Women comprise 51.3 percent of all students currently enrolled. A total of 2,440 international students applied for admission to Penn's undergraduate schools for the Class of 2008, and 489 (20%) were accepted. More than 13% of the first year class are international students. Of the international students accepted to the Class of 2008, 15.8% were from Africa and the Middle East, 48.1% from Asia, 0.4% from Australia and the Pacific, 11.7% from Canada and Mexico, 10% from Central/South America and the Caribbean, and 14.1% from Europe. Penn had 4,192 international students enrolled at all levels in Fall 2004.
The Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania, founded in 1813, is the oldest continually-existing student group in the United States. The Daily Pennsylvanian has been published since 1885, and is among the top college papers in the country, regularly winning Pacemaker and CSPA Gold Circle awards. The Pennsylvania Punch Bowl is one of the nation's oldest and most acclaimed humor magazines. The student-run TV station UTV13 is the oldest college TV station in the country. The University of Pennsylvania Glee Club is one of the oldest continually-operating collegiate choruses in the United States, having been founded in 1862. Its best-known and longest-serving director was Bruce Montgomery, who led the club from 1956 until 2000. The Mask and Wig Club is the oldest all-male musical comedy troupe in the country.
The University's Political Science Department is known for publishing a semesterly scholarly journal of undergraduate research called "Sound Politicks." The journal is student-run and is widely noted for the originality and quality of the articles it publishes. It accepts submissions from Penn students year round. There are many such journals across the university, with the oldest being the Pennsylvania Triangle founded in 1899 to cover Science and Technology.
The University of Pennsylvania Band has been a fixture of student life on campus since 1897. The Penn Band performs at football and basketball games as well as University functions throughout the year and has a current membership of approximately 80 students. Notable among a number of songs commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement and convocation, and athletic games are: Fight On Pennsylvania.
Penn's sports teams are called the Quakers. They 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 (12 times from 1982 to 2003) and basketball (22 times from 1970 to 2006). Penn football made many contributions to the sport in its early days. During the 1890s Penn's famed coach George Woodruff introduced the quarternick 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 the national champion of collegiate football. The achievements of two of Penn's outstanding players from that era—John Heisman and John Outland—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.
In addition, 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, and starred on the 1947 team, generally regarded as Penn's all-time finest. In addition to Bednarik, the '47 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 '30s). 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 NFL Hall of Fame in 1969.
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 the Magic Johnson-led Michigan State Spartans 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 is also is one of the teams in the Big Five, along with La Salle, Saint Joseph's, Temple and Villanova. In 2007, the Men's Basketball team won their third consecutive Ivy League title, then lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Texas A&M.
Penn's home court, the Palestra, is an arena used for men's and women's basketball teams, volleyball teams, wrestling team, Philadelphia Big 5 basketball, as well as high-school sporting events. The Palestra has hosted more NCAA Tournament basketball games than any other facility. Franklin Field is where the Quakers play football, field hockey, lacrosse, sprint football, and track and field (and formerly soccer). It is also used by Penn students for recreation, and for intramural and club sports, including touch football and cricket. Franklin Field hosts the annual collegiate track and field event "the Penn Relays," and once was the home field of the National Football League's Philadelphia Eagles. It was also the site of the early Army-Navy football games. Franklin Field, the oldest stadium still operating for football games, was also the home to the first commercially-televised football game, and was also the first stadium to sport two tiers. Franklin field is featured prominently as the Stadium in the M. Night Shyamalan's film Unbreakable. On November 17, 2002, ESPN College GameDay traveled to Penn to highlight the Harvard-Penn game that day, the first time the popular college football show has visited an Ivy League campus. In 2004, Penn Men's Rugby won the EPRU championship.
The Olympic Boycott Games of 1980 were held at the University of Pennsylvania in response to Moscow being the host of the 1980 Summer Olympics (and to the Soviet incursion in Afghanistan). Twenty-nine of the boycotting nations participated in the Boycott Games.
Some noted University of Pennsylvania alumni include the ninth President of the United States, William Henry Harrison, Former Justice of The High Court of Australia Sir Ronald Wilson AC KBE CMG QC real estate mogul Donald Trump, billionaire investor Steven A. Cohen, CEO and investor Warren Buffett, Cisco Systems co-founder Len Bosack, linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, poets Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, American industrialist Jon Huntsman, Sr., Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., philanthropist Walter Annenberg, E. Digby Baltzell who is credited with the acronym WASP, U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, the first woman president of Harvard University Drew Gilpin Faust, athlete and coach John Heisman, cartoonist Charles Addams, recording artist John Legend, and numerous other past and present U.S. Ambassadors, members of Congress, governors, Cabinet members, corporate leaders, and signers of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Also Chicago Cub 2nd baseman Mark DeRosa played Quaterback (1993–1995) for the University of Pennsylvania.