University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
Arms of the University of Pennsylvania
Arms of the University of Pennsylvania
Latin: Universitas Pennsylvaniensis
Motto Leges sine moribus vanae
Motto in English Laws without morals are in vain
Established 1740[note 1]
Type Private
Endowment US $6.58 billion[1]
Budget US $6.007 billion[2]
President Amy Gutmann
Vice-president Gregory S. Rost
Provost Vincent Price
Academic staff 4,199 faculty members[2]
Admin. staff 2,308[2]
Students 21,203[2]
Undergraduates 10,394[2]
Postgraduates 10,809[2]
Location Philadelphia, PA, USA
Campus Urban, 992 acres (4.01 km2) total: 300 acres (1.2 km2), University City campus; 600 acres (2.4 km2), New Bolton Center; 92 acres (0.37 km2), Morris Arboretum
Colors Red and blue          [3]
Athletics NCAA Division I
Nickname Quakers
Affiliations Ivy League, AAU, COFHE
UPenn logo.svg

The University of Pennsylvania (commonly referred to as Penn or UPenn) is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,[note 2] and considers itself to be the first university in the United States with both undergraduate and graduate studies. It is also one of the Colonial Colleges. Incorporated as The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn is one of 14 founding members of the Association of American Universities.

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 multiple "faculties" (e.g., theology, classics, medicine) into one institution.[4] It was also home to many other educational innovations. The first school of medicine in North America (Perelman School of Medicine, 1765), the first collegiate business school (Wharton, 1881) and the first student union (Houston Hall, 1896),[5] were all born at Penn.

Penn offers a broad range of academic departments, an extensive research enterprise and a number of community outreach and public service programs. It is particularly well known for its medical school, dental school, school of business, law school, communications school, nursing school, veterinary school, its social sciences and humanities programs, as well as its biomedical teaching and research capabilities. Its undergraduate programs are also among the most selective in the country (12.26% acceptance rate).[6] One of Penn's most well known academic qualities is its emphasis on interdisciplinary education, which it promotes through numerous joint degree programs, research centers and professorships, a unified campus, and the ability for students to take classes from any of Penn's schools (the "One University Policy").[7]

All of Penn's schools, alone or jointly, exhibit very high research activity. Penn is consistently included among the top five research universities in the US,[8] and among the top research universities in the world, both in terms of quality and quantity of research.[9] In fiscal year 2011, Penn will top the Ivy League in academic research spending with a $814 million budget, involving some 4,000 faculty, 1,100 postdoctoral fellows and 5,400 support staff/graduate assistants.[2] As one of the most active and prolific research institutions, Penn is associated with several important innovations and discoveries in many fields of science and the humanities. Among them are the first general purpose electronic computer (ENIAC), the Rubella and Hepatitis B vaccines, Retin-A, cognitive therapy, conjoint analysis and others.

Penn's academic and research programs are led by a large and highly productive faculty.[10] In the last ten years alone 11 Penn faculty members or graduates have won a Nobel Prize. Over its long history the university has also produced a large volume of distinguished alumni. These include 11 heads of state (among which a U.S. President), 3 United States Supreme Court justices, and supreme court justices of other states, 8 signers of the Declaration of Independence, 9 signers of the Constitution, and 18 living billionaires.[11]



This statue of Benjamin Franklin donated by Justus C. Strawbridge to the City of Philadelphia in 1899 now sits in front of College Hall.[12] The room behind the upper left window of College Hall is the seat of the Philomathean Society, Penn's first student group.

In 1740, a group of Philadelphians joined together to erect a great preaching hall for the traveling evangelist George Whitefield. The building was designed and built by Edmund Woolley and was the largest building in the city at the time. It was initially planned to serve as a charity school; however, a lack of funds forced plans for a chapel and the school to be 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."[13] 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 Colonial colleges that existed in 1743—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.[14]

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 of Philadelphia, using the great hall at 4th and Arch Streets, took in its first secondary 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. In 1755, the College of Philadelphia was chartered, paving the way for undergraduate instruction. All three schools shared the same Board of Trustees and were considered to be part of the same institution.[15]

Quad in the Fall, facing Ware College House

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.[15] 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.[16]

Penn referred to 1749 as its founding date until 1899, when the board of trustees voted to begin using 1740 instead. 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.[17]

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. In 1899, Penn's Board of Trustees voted to change the University's founding date from 1749 to 1740, the date of "the creation of the earliest of the many educational trusts the University has taken upon itself."[18]

Educational innovations

College Hall and Cohen Hall viewed from Woodland Ave., ca. 1892.

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;[19] 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.[20][21] Penn was also the first university to award a PhD to an African-American woman, Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, in 1921 (in economics).[22]


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, and 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").[23]


1757 Seal of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania
Current Seal of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania

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.[24] 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 Colledge with a proper device and Motto” was requested to be engraved in silver.[25] 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.[24]

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 what was the common curriculum in 1932: Theolog, Astronom, Philosoph, Mathemat, Logica, Rhetorica, Grammatica. Between the books and the outer ring is the Latin motto of the University, “Leges Sine Moribus Vanae.”[24]


Overlooking Lower Quad from Upper Quad

Much of Penn's architecture was designed by the Cope & Stewardson firm, 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 (1.09 km2) in a contiguous area of West Philadelphia's University City district; 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 and pubs, a large upscale grocery store, and a movie theater on the western edge of campus.

The Module 6 Utility Plant and Garage at Penn was designed by BLT Architects and completed in 1995. Module 6 is located at 38th & 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.[26] In 2007, Penn acquired about 35 acres (140,000 m2) between the campus and the Schuylkill River (the former site of the Philadelphia Civic Center and a nearby 24-acre (97,000 m2) 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 (57,000 m2) 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. In 2010 Penn, in its first significant expansion across the Schuylkill River, purchased 23 acres from DuPont for storage and office space.

Upper Quad Gate.

The University also owns the 92-acre (370,000 m2) Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill in northwestern Philadelphia, the official arboretum of the state of Pennsylvania. Penn also owns the 687-acre (2.78 km2) 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 borders Drexel University and is near the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. The renowned cancer research center Wistar Institute is also located on campus. In 2014 a new 7-story glass and steel building will be completed next to the Institute's historic 117-year old brick building further expanding collaboration between Penn and the Wistar Institute.[27]


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 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees and a total operating budget of more than $48 million. The library system holds 5.93 million book and serial volumes as well as 4.19 million microform items.[2] It subscribes to over 68,000 print serials and e-journals.[28]

Penn's Libraries, with associated 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; Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, located on Walnut Street at 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 (Anthropology); 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 University Museum

Fisher Fine Arts Library, also referred to as the Furness Library or simply the Fine Arts Library

Since the University museum was founded in 1887, it has taken part in 400 research projects worldwide.[29] The museum's first project was an excavation of Nippur, a location in current day Iraq.[30] The museum has three gallery floors with artifacts from Egypt, the Middle East, Mesoamerica, Asia, the Mediterranean, Africa, and indigenous artifacts of the Americas.[29] Its most famous object is the goat rearing into the branches of a rosette-leafed plant, from the royal tombs of Ur. Features of its Beaux-Arts building include a rotunda and gardens that include Egyptian papyrus. The Institute of Contemporary Art, which is based on Penn's campus, showcases various art exhibitions throughout the year.


Every College House at the University of Pennsylvania has at least 4 members of faculty in the roles of House Dean, Faculty Master, and College House Fellows.[31] 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 freshman year, as well as by graduate and professional students.


University of Pennsylvania graduate and professional schools[32]
School Year founded

Annenberg School for Communication 1958
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 1881[33]
Graduate School of Education 1915
Law School 1850[note 3]
Perelman School of Medicine 1765[35]
School of Dental Medicine 1878[36]
School of Design 1868
School of Engineering and Applied Science 1850[37]
School of Nursing 1935
School of Social Policy and Practice 1948
School of Veterinary Medicine 1884[38]
The Wharton School 1881[39]
Lower Quad in winter, from Riepe College House

The College of Arts and Sciences is the undergraduate division of the School of Arts and Sciences, which also contains the Graduate Division and the College of Liberal and Professional Studies, Penn's division for non-traditional undergraduate and graduate students. Wharton is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania. Other undergraduate schools 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 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, 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.

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:

Dual-degree programs which 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 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 Sciences and a degree from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. In addition, 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 a M.S. in four years. The most recent Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) will be first offered for the class of 2015. 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 joint-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.

Academic medical center and biomedical research complex

Hamilton Walk and the John Morgan Building at the Perelman School of Medicine
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania Dental School
University of Pennsylvania Dental School

Penn's health-related programs—including the Schools of Nursing, Medicine, Dental Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine, and programs in bioengineering (School of Engineering) and health management (the Wharton School)—are among the university's strongest academic components. The combination of intellectual breadth, research funding (each of the health sciences schools ranks in the top 5 in annual NIH funding), clinical resources and overall scale ranks Penn with only a small handful of peer universities in the U.S.

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.

Admissions selectivity

The Princeton Review ranks Penn as the 6th most selective school in the United States.[40] For the Class of 2015, entering in the fall of 2011, the University received a record of 31,659 applications and admitted 12.26 percent of the applicants (9.5% in the regular decision cycle), marking Penn's most selective admissions cycle in the history of the University.[41] The Atlantic also ranked Penn among the 10 most selective schools in the country. 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 and World Report, Penn's most selective programs include its law school, the health care schools (medicine, dental medicine, nursing, and veterinary), and its business school.

Research, innovations, and discoveries

Claudia Cohen Hall, formerly Logan Hall, home of the College of Arts and Sciences and former home of the Wharton School

Penn is considered a "very high research activity" university.[42] In 2011 Penn will top the Ivy League in research expenditures with $814 million worth of research,[2][43] of which about 70% comes from federal support and in the most part from the Department of Health and Human Services.[44] Penn also enjoys strong support from the private sector, which in 2010 contributed almost $400 million to Penn, making it the 6th strongest US university in terms of fundraising.[45] In line with its well-known interdisciplinary tradition, Penn's research centers often span two or more disciplines. In the 2010-11 academic year alone 5 interdisciplinary research centers were created or substantially expanded; these include the Center for Health-care Financing,[46] the Center for Global Women’s Health at the Nursing School,[47] the $13 million Morris Arboretum’s Horticulture Center,[48] the $15 million Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at Wharton,[49] and the $13 million Translational Research Center at Penn Medicine.[50] With these additions, Penn now counts 165 research centers hosting a research community of over 4,000 faculty and over 1,100 postdoctoral fellows, 5,400 academic support staff and graduate student trainees.[2] 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."[51] These professors hold endowed professorships and joint appointments between Penn's schools. The most recent of the 13 PIK professors is Ezekiel Emanuel, who started at Penn in September 2011 as the Diane S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor with a joint appointment at the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy, which he chairs in the Perelman School of Medicine, and the Department of Health Care Management in the Wharton School.[51]

As a powerful research-oriented institution Penn is also among the most prolific and high-quality 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).[52] It also has one of the highest numbers of post-doctoral appointees (933 in number for 2004-07), ranking third in the Ivy League (behind Harvard and Yale), and tenth nationally.[53] 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.[10] 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 5 rankings in these fields.[54]

ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic computer, was born at Penn in 1946

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[55]); 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;[56] 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,[57] 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."[58][59]

Several major scientific discoveries have also taken place at Penn. The university is probably best well known as the place where the first general-purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) was born in 1946 at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering.[60] It was here also where the world's first spelling and grammar checker were created as well as the popular COBOL programming language.[60] 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;[61] the Rubella and Hepatitis B vaccines were developed at Penn;[61][62] the discovery of cancer's link with genes, cognitive therapy, Retin-A (the cream used to treat acne), and Resistin were all discovered by Penn Med researchers.[61] More recent gene research has led to the discovery of the genes for fragile X syndrome, the most common form of inherited mental retardation, Kennedy's disease, a disorder marked by progressive muscle and bulbar atrophy, and Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the hands, feet, and limbs.[61] 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. 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,[63] the Penn effect (the observation that consumer price levels in richer countries are systematically higher than in poorer ones), and the "Wharton Model"[64] developed by Nobel-laurete 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 Nixon's health reform in the 1970s.[63]


University rankings (overall)
Forbes[65] 52
U.S. News & World Report[66] 5
Washington Monthly[67] 21
ARWU[68] 14
QS[69] 9
Times[70] 16
General rankings

According to U.S. News & World Report Penn is currently ranked 5th in the United States (tied with Stanford, MIT, CalTech and Chicago), behind Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Columbia.[71] The fifth position is one spot down compared to 2005 and 2010; the university attributed the drop in U.S. News' new methodology that takes into account graduation rates and the opinions of high school college counselors, who emphasize the benefits of large urban centers like New York.[72]

In their latest editions Penn was ranked 9th in the world by the QS World University Rankings,[73] 14th by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities (up one spot from 2010),[74] and 16th by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (up three spots from 2010).[75] According to the Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranking Penn is also the 8th and 9th best university in the world for economics and business and social sciences studies accordingly.

Research rankings

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.[76] Penn was also ranked 9th by the National Science Foundation in terms of R&D expenditures topping all other Ivy League Schools.[43] 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 2010, 2008 and 2007, and 9th for 2009.[citation needed] 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.

Other rankings

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.[77] The Washington Monthly ranked Penn 21st on its list of universities' contributions to national service (Social mobility: percentage of, and support for, Pell grant recipients; Research: total research spending; PhDs granted in science and engineering; and Community Service: the number of students in ROTC, Peace Corps, etc.).[78] Forbes ranked Penn 52nd, based on "student criteria," such as student evaluations of professors and total debt upon graduation.[79]

Undergraduate programs

Penn's arts and science programs are all well regarded, with many departments ranked amongst the nation's top 10. At the undergraduate level, Wharton, Penn's business school, and Penn's nursing school have maintained their #1, 2 or 3 rankings since U.S. News began reviewing such programs.[citation needed] In the School of Engineering, top departments are bioengineering (typically ranked in the top 5 by U.S. News), mechanical engineering, chemical engineering and nanotechnology.[citation needed] The school is also strong in some areas of computer science and artificial intelligence.

Graduate and professional programs

Among its professional schools, the schools of business, communication, dentistry, medicine, nursing, and veterinary medicine rank in the top 5 nationally (see U.S. News and National Research Council).[citation needed] Penn's Law School is ranked 7th, and its School of Education and School of Social Policy & Practice are ranked in the top 10 (see U.S. News).[citation needed] In the 2010 QS Global 200 Business Schools Report, Penn was ranked 2nd in North America.[80]

Student life

Demographics for Class of 2014 [81]
Multicultural background Number enrolled Percent of class
American Indian 25 1.0%
Asian 592 24.5%
Black 218 9.0%
Caucasian 1,372 56.8%
Hispanic 209 8.7%
Locust Walk lit up during the winter season
The Castle Fraternity


Of those accepted for admission to the Class of 2014, 40.8 percent are Asian, Hispanic, African, or Native American.[2] In addition, 51.1% of current students are women.[2]

More than 11% of the first year class are international students.[2] The composition of international students accepted in the Class of 2014 is: 50.2% from Asia; 9.2% from Africa and the Middle East; 17.7% from Europe; 15.5% from Canada and Mexico; 4.8% from the Caribbean, Central America, and South America; 1.1% from Australia and the Pacific Islands.[2] The acceptance rate for international students applying for the class of 2014 was 411 out of 4,390 (9.4%).[2]

Selected student organizations

The Philomathean Society, founded in 1813,[82] claims to be the United States' oldest continuously-existing collegiate literary society. The Mask and Wig Club is the oldest all-male musical comedy troupe in the country. The University of Pennsylvania Glee Club, founded in 1862, is one of the oldest continually operating collegiate choruses in the United States. Bruce Montgomery, its best-known and longest-serving director, led the club from 1956 until 2000.[83] The International Affairs Association (IAA) was founded in 1963 as an organization to promote international affairs and diplomacy at Penn and beyond.[84] With over 400 members, it is the largest student-funded organization on campus. The IAA serves as an umbrella organization for various conferences (UPMUNC, ILMUNC, and PIRC), as well as a host of other academic and social activities.

The University of Pennsylvania Band has been a part of student life since 1897.[85] The Penn Band performs at football and basketball games as well as university functions (e.g. commencement and convocation) throughout the year and was the first college band to perform at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.[85] Membership fluctuates between 80 and 100 students.[85]

The Daily Pennsylvanian

The Daily Pennsylvanian is an independent, student-run newspaper, which has been published daily since it was founded in 1885.[86] The newspaper went unpublished from May 1943 to November 1945 due to World War II.[86] In 1984, the University lost all editorial and financial control of The Daily Pennsylvanian when the newspaper became its own corporation.[86] In 2007, The Daily Pennsylvanian won the Pacemaker Award administered by the Associated Collegiate Press.[87]



Penn's sports teams are nicknamed 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 (14 times from 1982 to 2010) and basketball (22 times from 1970 to 2006). The first athletic team at Penn was its cricket team.[88]


Rowing 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 openweight women's team, all of which compete as part of the Eastern Sprints League. Penn Rowing has produced a long list of famous coaches and Olympians, including John B. Kelly, Jr., Joe Burk, Rusty Callow, Harry Parker, and Ted Nash. The teams row out of College Boat Club, No. 11 Boathouse Row. The program is currently under the direction of men's head coach Greg Myhr.


The Penn Men's Rugby Football Club is recognized as one of the oldest collegiate rugby teams in America. The earliest documentation of its existence comes from a 1910 issue of the Daily Pennsylvanian:

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..."[89]

The team existed on and off during the World Wars, with the current club having its roots in the 1960s.


Franklin Field

Penn first fielded a football team against Princeton at the Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia on November 11, 1876.[90]

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.[90] 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 who starred on the 1947 team and is 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 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.

ESPN's College GameDay traveled to Penn to highlight the Harvard-Penn game on November 17, 2002, the first time the popular college football show had visited an Ivy League campus.

The Palestra, "Cathedral of Basketball"


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.


Franklin Field is where the Quakers play football, field hockey, lacrosse, sprint football, and track and field (and formerly soccer). It is the oldest stadium still operating for football games and was the first stadium to sport two tiers. It hosted the first commercially televised football game, was once the home field of the Philadelphia Eagles, and was the site of early Army – Navy games. 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 baseball plays its home games at Meiklejohn Stadium.

The Olympic Boycott Games of 1980 were 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.

Notable people

Donald Trump graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968.

Penn has produced many alumni that have distinguished themselves in the sciences, academia, politics, arts and media. Ten heads of state have graduated from Penn, including former US president William Henry Harrison,[91] 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 Côte d'Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara. The university has also produced three United States Supreme Court justices, William J. Brennan, Owen J. Roberts and James Wilson, and supreme court justices of foreign states (e.g. Ronald Wilson of the High Court of Australia, Ayala Procaccia of the Israel Supreme Court, and Jasper Yeates Brinton (architect of the Egyptian court system, Justice of the Egyptian Supreme Court and former U.S. Legal Advisor to Egypt)). Eight signers of the Declaration of Independence and nine signers of the Constitution are also alumni. 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. Other notable politicians who hold a degree from Penn include Utah Governor and 2012 Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, Jr., Senator Arlen Specter, and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

Penn alumni also have a strong presence in economic life. Penn has graduated several governors of central banks including Ignazio Visco (Bank of Italy), 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). Founders of technology companies include Ralph J. Roberts (co-founder of Comcast), Elon Musk (founder of Paypal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX), Leonard Bosack (co-founder of Cisco), David Brown (co-founder of Silicon Graphics) and Mark Pincus (founder of Zynga, the company behind Farmville), and founders of law firms include James Harry Covington (co-founder of Covington & Burling), Martin Lipton (co-founder of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, & Katz), George Wharton Pepper (Senator from Pennsylvania, and founder of Pepper Hamilton), Russell Duane (co-founder of Duane Morris), and Stephen Cozen, (co-founder of Cozen O'Connor). Other notable businessmen and entrepreneurs who studied at or graduated from the University of Pennsylvania include William S. Paley (former president of CBS), Warren Buffet[note 4] (CEO of Berkshire Hathaway), Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump, Safra Catz (President and CFO of Oracle Corporation), Leonard Lauder (Chairman Emeritus of Estée Lauder Companies and son of founder Estée Lauder), Steven A. Cohen (founder of SAC Capital Advisors), Robert Kapito (president of Blackrock, the world's largest asset manager), and P. Roy Vagelos (former President and CEO of multinational pharmaceutical company Merck & Co.).

Among other distinguished alumni are poets Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, linguist and political theorist Noam Chomsky, starchitect Louis Kahn, cartoonist Charles Addams, theatrical producer Harold Prince, counter-terrorism expert and author Richard A. Clarke, pollster Frank Luntz, recording artist John Legend, and football athlete and coach John Heisman.

In total, 28 Penn affiliates have won Nobel Prizes, of whom four are current faculty members and nine are alumni. Eleven of the Nobel-laureates have won the prize in the last decade. Penn also counts 120 members of the United States National Academies, 77 members of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, eight National Medal of Science laureates, 28 members of the American Philosophical Society, and 175 Guggenheim Fellowships.

In popular culture

College Hall, which inspired the Addams Family mansion, and a Benjamin Franklin statue in front
  • The mansion of The Addams Family was modeled in part after Penn's College Hall, and was inspired by Penn alumnus and Addams Family creator Charles Addams.[92]
  • Penn has been used as a setting for many scenes of the show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Dennis graduated from Penn whereas Dee failed to enroll to major in psychology.[citation needed]
  • Penn is frequently mentioned in TV series American Dreams. Sam and Beth are students at Penn.[citation needed]
  • One of the characters in the TV series Queer as Folk, Ted Schmidt boasts of being a graduate of Wharton. Matthew Blank, a Wharton graduate, is the Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing of Showtime—the station Queer as Folk is aired on.[93]
  • Lindsey Naegle, the Simpsons character who plays the role of Springfield's residential business link is a Wharton alumna, and is characterized as "stereotypical upper-management executive."[94]
In Movies
In Literature


From 1930-1966 there were 54 documented Rowbottom riots, a student tradition of rioting which included everything from car smashing to panty raids.[98] After 1966, there were five more instances of "Rowbottoms", the latest occurring in 1980.[98]

In 1965, Penn students learned that the University was sponsoring research projects for the United States' chemical and biological weapons program.[99] 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."[99] 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.[99]

In 1984, the Head Lab at the University of Pennsylvania was raided by members of the Animal Liberation Front.[100] 60 hours worth of video footage depicting animal cruelty was stolen from the lab.[101] The video footage was released to PETA who edited the tapes and created the documentary Unnecessary Fuss.[101] As a result of an investigation called by the Office for Protection from Research Risks, the chief veterinarian was fired and the Head Lab was closed.[101]

The school gained notoriety in 1993 for the water buffalo incident in which a student who told a noisy group of black students to "shut up, you water buffalo" was charged with violating the University's racial harassment policy.

In 2007, the undergraduate Dean of Admissions, Lee Stetson, abruptly resigned one year before his expected departure date.[102] Penn President Amy Gutmann remained quiet about the event, stating only that the resignation was made in the best interests of the University and Stetson himself.[103]

See also


  1. ^ 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. When Franklin's institution was established, it inhabited a schoolhouse built in 1740 for another school, which never came to practical fruition. Penn archivist Mark Frazier Lloyd [1] notes: “In 1899, Penn’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 become a post-secondary institution, the College of Philadelphia." Princeton's library [2] presents another, diplomatically phrased view.
  2. ^ Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution. Penn, Princeton and Columbia originated within a few years of each other. Penn considered 1749 to be its founding date for more than a century but, in 1895, elite universities in the United States agreed that henceforth formal 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 began a campaign to retroactively revise the university's founding date to 1740, in order 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 in general. See Building Penn's Brand for more details on why Penn did this. Princeton University implicitly challenges this [3], also considering itself to be the nation's fourth oldest institution of higher learning. [4] To further complicate the comparison, a Presbyterian minister 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 the College of New Jersey (later 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 Presbyterian leaders in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area.[5]) This antecedent relationship, if 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. [6] Columbia University also implicitly challenges Penn's use of either 1740 or 1749, 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. [7] Even Penn's own account of its early history agrees that the Academy of Philadelphia did not become an institution of higher learning until 1755, but university officials continue to make it their practice to assert their fourth-oldest place in academic processions. Other American universities which began as colonial era secondary schools such as St. John's College in 1696 and the University of Delaware in 1743 choose to march based upon the date they became institutions of higher learning.
  3. ^ In 1790, the first lecture on law was given by James Wilson; however, a full time program was not offered until 1850.[34]
  4. ^ Buffet studied at Penn for 3 years before he transferred to the University of Nebraska


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