The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) is a private, nonsectarian research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to the university, it is the fourth oldest institution of higher education in the U.S. and "America's first university." It is a member of the Ivy League.
As one of the Colonial Colleges, Penn's history predates the founding of the United States. Nine signers of the Declaration of Independence and eleven signers of the Constitution are associated with the University. 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 developed by several European universities, concentrating several "faculties" under one institution.
Penn has been recognized as a leader in the sciences, the humanities, architecture, engineering and education. It is particularly noted for its professional programs including Penn's schools of business, law and medicine. A faculty of about 4,500 professors serves approximately 10,000 full time undergraduate and 9,000 graduate and professional students.
The University of Pennsylvania is an important center of academic and biomedical research. The research community includes 1,000 faculty, 1,000 postdoctoral fellows, 3,000 graduate students, and 5,000 support staff. Penn has one of the largest research programs in the nation, undertaking over $700 million in sponsored research annually (a large part of which is provided by the National Institutes of Health).
Penn has the largest budget within the Ivy League, with a projected budget in FY2006 of $4.41 billion (including a payroll of $2.183 billion). According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Penn is one of the country's largest fundraisers; the school ranked third among all US universities in 2005, raising approximately $440 million.
In 1740, a group of Philadelphians joined together to erect a great preaching hall for the evangelist George Whitefield. It was the largest building in the city and it was also planned to serve as a charity school for "the instruction of poor children." The fundraising, however, fell short and although the building was erected, the plans for both a chapel and the charity school were suspended.
Eager to create a college to educate future generations, Benjamin Franklin wrote and circulated a pamphlet titled "Proposals for the Education of Youth in Pensilvania." Unlike the other three American Colonial colleges that existed at the time 鈥?Harvard, William and Mary, and Yale; Franklin's new school would not focus 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 the city, 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 William Smith's loyalist tendencies, the revolutionary State Legislature created a University of the State of Pennsylvania as a new institution with a new board of trustees. 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.
Penn has two 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."
After being located in downtown Philadelphia for more than a century, the campus was moved across the Schuylkill River to West Philadelphia in 1872, where it has since remained in an area now known as University City.
Penn has continued Franklin's innovative approach with many notable firsts: 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 only one to offer the degree 'VMD' instead of 'DVM' for its graduates, 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.
Penn is one of the nation's only private universities to be named for the state in which it is located (others include the University of Southern California and New York University). Because of this, it is sometimes confused with the Pennsylvania State University (also known as "Penn State"), a public research university whose main campus is located in the geographic center of Pennsylvania in State College.
Penn's motto is based on a line from Horace's Third Ode, quid leges sine moribus vanae proficiunt?-"Of what avail empty laws without [good] mores?" From 1756 to 1898, the motto read Sine Moribus Vanae, when a wag pointed out that the motto could be translated as "Loose women without morals." The university quickly changed the motto to Literae Sine Moribus Vanae. In 1932, all elements of the seal were revised, and as part of the redesign it was decided that the motto "mutilated" Horace, and it was changed to its present wording, Leges Sine Moribus Vanae.
The University of Pennsylvania has four undergraduate schools:
- School of Arts & Sciences (known on campus as the "College")
- School of Engineering and Applied Science
- School of Nursing
- Wharton School of Business
Penn has a strong focus on interdisciplinary learning and research. It emphasizes joint degree programs (see below), unique majors (e.g., the Biological Basis of Behavior; History and Sociology of Science; Philosophy, Political Science and Economics; Logic, Information and Computation) and academic flexibility. Penn's One University policy allows undergraduates access to courses at all of Penn's undergraduate and graduate schools.
Undergraduate students at Penn may also take courses at area colleges participating in the Quaker consortium, including Swarthmore, Haverford, and Bryn Mawr.
Graduate and professional programs
The following schools offer graduate programs:
- Annenberg School for Communication
- Graduate School of Education
- Law School
- School of Arts & Sciences
- School of Dental Medicine
- School of Design
- School of Engineering and Applied Science
- School of Medicine
- School of Nursing
- School of Social Policy & Practice
- School of Veterinary Medicine
- Wharton School
As of 2006, Penn is ranked fourth in US News & World Report's list of top undergraduate schools nationally. The undergraduate business program at Penn's Wharton School was rated No. 1.
In 2005, 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 ninth overall, and fourth among private institutions (behind MIT, Cornell and Stanford).
At the undergraduate level, Penn's business and nursing schools have maintained their #1, 2 or 3 rankings since US News began reviewing such programs. The departments of African American literature, anthropology, art history, bioengineering, biomechanical engineering, biology, communications, computer science, English, economics, French, history, political science, psychology, and Spanish are also extremely well regarded.
Penn's graduate schools are among the most influential schools in their respective fields. The schools of business (Wharton School), architecture (School of Design), communications (Annenberg), medicine, nursing and veterinary medicine rank in the top five nationally (see US News, DesignIntelligence magazine). Penn's law, social policy and education schools are ranked in the Top 10 (US News).
Penn is highly selective in undergraduate admissions, receiving approximately 19,000 applications each year for its freshman class and admitting 20.8 percent of applicants to the Class of 2009. Penn has recieved over 20,300 applications for the class of 2010. The Atlantic Monthly ranked it as the eighth most selective college in the United States (factoring in average grades, SAT scores, students' high schools rankings, and offer yields).
Joint-degree and interdisciplinary programs
Penn offers specialized joint-degree programs, which award candidates degrees from multiple schools at the University upon completion of graduation criteria of both schools:
- The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business
- The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology
- Nursing and Healthcare Management
Dual Degree programs are also available, although they sometimes lack the flexibility of the Joint-Degree Programs. Specialized Dual Degree progams include Liberal Arts 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.
In addition to cross-disciplinary majors and joint-degree programs, Penn is 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, the Executive Master's in Technology Management Program, the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business, the Roy Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management, and the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology.
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:
- Annenberg (School of Communications)
- Biddle (Law)
- Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
- Fine Arts
- Lippincott (Wharton School of Business)
- Museum (Anthropology)
- Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Van Pelt (Humanities and Social Sciences)
- High Density Storage
Community and environment
Penn has a large and diverse undergraduate student population. About 41.4% of students accepted for admission to the Class of 2008 are Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American. Women comprise 50.8 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.
Performing arts groups include The University of Pennsylvania Band, one of the oldest scramble bands in the country. Singing groups include the a cappella jazz (Counterparts, the all-male Chord on Blues); the traditional PennSix; Pennchants; Off the Beat; Penn Masala鈥攁 Hindi group which has received global acclaim; and The University of Pennsylvania Glee Club and its small group, the Penn Pipers, founded in 1862, the oldest continually-performing collegiate performance group in the United States. Penn Singers is one of the premier collegiate Gilbert and Sullivan societies in the world, and remains under the direction of Bruce Montgomery, a leading figure in the Philadelphia performing community. The Philomathean Society, Penn's student literary society, was founded in 1813 and is the oldest continuously-existing collegiate literary society in the United States. Mask and Wig, founded in 1889, is the nation's oldest all-male collegiate musical comedy troupe in the nation, and the Pennsylvania Punch Bowl is one of the nation's oldest humor magazines.
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 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.
Penn is also noted for its Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. A direct beneficiary of the many expeditions led by the University's famed anthropology department, the Museum's collection includes a very large number of antiqities from ancient Egypt and the Middle East. The Museum also has a strong collection of Chinese artifacts including one of the largest crystal spheres ever designed, (originally owned by an Empress of China).
The Institute of Contemporary Art is based on Penn's campus and showcases various exhibitions of art throughout the year.
Much of Penn's architecture was designed by Cope & Stewardson. The two architects combined the Gothic architecture of the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge - retaining some of their classical elements - with the local landscape to establish the "Collegiate Gothic" style. The present core campus covers over 269 acres (~1 km虏) in a contiguous area of western 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 includes the opening of several restaurants, a large upscale grocery store, and an art-house movie theater on the western edge of campus. Penn recently acquired approximately 35 acres of land located between the campus and the Schuylkill River (the former site of the Philadelphia Civic Center and a nearby 24-acre site owned by the US Postal Service), which will be redeveloped for expanded educational, research, biomedical, and mixed-use facilities over the next ten years.
In addition to its properties in west Philadelphia, the University owns the 92 acre Morris Arboretum in northwestern Philadelphia, the official arboretum of the state of Pennsylvania. Penn also owns the 687 acre New Bolton Center, the research and large-animal health care center of its Veterinary School.
Penn borders Drexel University and is near the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (USP). Also nearby is the University City High School.
Penn's sports teams are called the Quakers. They participate in the Ivy League and Division I (Division I-AA 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 2005). Penn made its only Final Four appearance in 1979, where the Quakers lost to the Magic Johnson-led Michigan State Spartans in Salt Lake City. Penn is also part of the Big Five traditional basketball rivalries, along with Temple, Villanova, Saint Joseph's, and La Salle.
Penn's home court, the Palestra, is an arena used for Big Five contests as well as high-school sporting events. The Palestra has hosted more NCAA Tournament basketball games than any other facility. Franklin Field, where the Quakers play football, 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. In 2004, Penn Men's Rugby won the EPRU championship.
As a sign of school pride, crowds of Quaker fans perform a unique ritual. After the third quarter of football games, spirited onlookers unite in the singing of "Drink a Highball." In years long past, students would literally make a toast to the success of Penn's athletic teams. During Prohibition, stubborn students insisted on keeping their tradition - since they could not use alcohol, they had no choice but to literally "toast" Penn. As the last line, "Here's a toast to dear old Penn," is sung, the fans send toast hurling through the air onto the sidelines. In another version of the origins of toast throwing, in 1977, current band leader and then drum major, Greer Cheeseman threw the first slice of toast after being inspired while attending a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show where members of the audience throw toast at the screen. In more recent years, some students have become more creative in their choice of projectiles, and it is not rare to see a hail of bagels or donuts, or even a loaf of French bread come flying down from the stands. A continuing myth which has been passed down by the undergraduate admissions department to their guides is that the Penn athletic department owns a toast "Zamboni," created by an Engineering student as a Senior Project. This statement is false. The athletics department has purchased several industrial street sweepers built by Tenant Inc. The latest is a 6400 Rider Sweeper used for cleaning the concourses and track area of the stadium.
Penn students show love to the founder of their school, Benjamin Franklin, by paying special attention to the statues and monuments throughout campus. Students and tourists often take pictures sitting on Ben's lap or in other fun and friendly poses.
Goal post tossing
In past years, the Penn Quakers have won the Ivy League championship, sending the jubilant fans into a frenzy. In celebration, the fans ripped down the goal posts and tossed them into the Schuylkill River.
At midnight on the eve of the first Microeconomics 001 midterm exam, hundreds of students ease their frustrations by participating in a shout in the Quadrangle. Some bold students have even been known to streak through the Quad.
Class Day and Hey Day
In April, several class traditions are celebrated. Class Day, which began in 1865 to supplement the final graduation exercises, celebrates the progression of all classes and the departure of the seniors. In 1916, this day merged with Straw Hat Day and became the "day of two events." In 1931, Hey Day arose from these two celebrations. On this day, the juniors gather on Hill Field for a picnic, don straw "skimmers" and canes, and march triumphantly through campus. The procession tradition began in 1949. While marching, the outgoing seniors pelt the upcoming seniors with a variety of food and condiments, including maple syrup, eggs, and flour. When the procession reaches College Hall, the students make an arch with their canes to greet the President of the University. The outgoing and incoming senior class presidents then give speeches, and the juniors are "officially" declared seniors.
Showcasing their superstitious side, Penn students avoid stepping over the tiled compass on the scenic Locust Walk. Supposedly, the compass serves to guide freshmen through their first year; stepping on it will put a student in danger of failing midterms or finals. According to popular myth, the only way for a freshman to reverse the "curse" is to have sex under the sculpture of a button in front of the Van Pelt library (a tradition in and of itself).The Button
It is an oft-proclaimed goal of Penn undergraduates to have sex underneath the Claes Oldenberg sculpture of a large split-button in front of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library sometime before they graduate.Ivy Day
One of the oldest Penn traditions is Ivy Day, when the graduating class plants ivy by a building, and an "Ivy Stone" is placed on the building to commemorate the occasion. In 1981, the day was officially moved to the Saturday before Commencement. Also on this day, the prestigious Spoon, Bowl, Cane, and Spade awards are given, honoring four senior men; and the Hottel, Harnwell, Goddard, and Brownlee awards are presented to honor four senior women. During the celebration, a noted individual who is chosen by the class gives an address. Recent Ivy Day addresses have been presented by Penn Parent Joan Rivers, former Philadelphia Mayor and current Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell, and basketball player Julius Erving
"The Red and Blue"
Penn students have a school anthem (not to be confused with alma mater), "The Red and Blue." The song is sung especially loudly when competing against Ivy school rival, Princeton University, and with different lyrics when competing against Brown University.
Nobel prize winners
Through 2005, 18 people associated with Penn - as alumni, members of the faculty or researchers - have been honored with Nobel Prizes for their work in physics, chemistry, medicine and economics. A complete list is below:
- Irwin Rose - 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
- Alan MacDiarmid - 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
- "for the discovery and development of conductive polymers."
- Ahmed H. Zewail - 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
- "for or his studies of the transition states of chemical reactions using femtosecond spectroscopy."
- Christian B. Anfinsen - 1972 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
- "for his work on ribonuclease, especially concerning the connection between the amino acid sequence and the biologically active conformation"
- Vincent du Vigneaud - 1955 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
- "for his work on biochemically important sulphur compounds, especially for the first synthesis of a polypeptide hormone."
- Edward C. Prescott - 2004 Nobel Prize in Economics
- Lawrence Robert Klein - 1980 Nobel Prize in Economics
- "for the creation of economic models and their application to the analysis of economic fluctuations and economic policies."
- Simon Smith Kuznets - 1971 Nobel Prize in Economics
- "for his empirically founded interpretation of economic growth which has led to new and deepened insight into the economic and social structure and process of development."
- Stanley B. Prusiner - 1997 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- "for his discovery of Prions - a new biological principle of infection."
- Michael S. Brown - 1985 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- for his discovery "concerning the regulation of cholesterol metabolism"
- Baruch Samuel Blumberg - 1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- "for their discoveries concerning new mechanisms for the origin and dissemination of infectious diseases."
- Gerald Edelman - 1972 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- for the discovery "concerning the chemical structure of antibodies"
- Haldan Keffer Hartline - 1967 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- for the discovery "concerning the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye."
- Ragnar Granit - 1967 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- Otto Fritz Meyerhof - 1922 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- "for his discovery of the fixed relationship between the consumption of oxygen and the metabolism of lactic acid in the muscle."
- Raymond Davis - 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics
- for "pioneering contributions to astrophysics, in particular for the detection of cosmic neutrinos."
- John Robert Schrieffer - 1972 Nobel Prize in Physics (first Penn faculty member to win)
- for the "theory of superconductivity, usually called the BCS-theory."
- Robert Hofstadter - 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics
- "for his pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his thereby achieved discoveries concerning the structure of the nucleons."
Some noted University of Pennsylvania alumni include the ninth President of the United States, William Henry Harrison, real estate mogul Donald Trump, Cisco Systems co-founder Len Bosack, linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, actress Candice Bergen, American industralist Jon Huntsman, philanthropist Walter Annenberg, CEO and investor Warren Buffett, U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan and numerous other past and present U.S. Ambassadors, members of congress, governors, cabinet members, and corporate leaders.
The university has come under fire several times for free speech issues. In spite of this, Penn is one of only two Ivy League universities (the other being Dartmouth College) to receive the highest possible free speech rating from the campus watchdog Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
Water Buffalo Incident
Perhaps most infamous is the so-called Water buffalo incident. In 1993, a Penn student was charged with violating Penn's racial harassment policy after shouting "Shut up you water buffalo" out his window to a crowd of mostly black sorority sisters creating a ruckus right outside his dorm. Although the student claimed that "water buffalo" derived from the slang word "Behema," to refer to a loud, rowdy person, the university continued proceedings operating on their belief that "water buffalo" was being used as a racial epithet.
The university administrators told the student that uttered it that the term was racist because "the water buffalo is a dark primitive animal that lives in Africa." The questionable semantics, dubious zoology, and incorrect geography (the water buffalo is an Asian animal) did not prevent the university from pressing charges against the student.
The event reached national and even international print media and television, and even had a Doonesbury comic strip devoted to it, and the university received much criticism for its decision to punish the student.
The affair ended when at a press conference the 15 women agreed to drop charges, claiming that the media coverage made it unlikely they would get a fair hearing. The University stated there were no charges pending.
"Ivy League Grind": Window Sex
In the fall of 2005, an undergraduate student took photographs of two other Penn students having sex pressed up against the floor-to-ceiling window of a highrise dormitory. The photos quickly spread across university servers and email groups, and soon appeared on CollegeHumor, a popular website for college students.
Upon learning of the student's actions, University officials attempted to bring disciplinary action against the photographer. A short time later, several articles regarding the incident and the university's response were published in the Daily Pennsylvanian, and the issue received attention in larger local and national news publications including The Philadelphia Daily News (which printed the photo on its front page) and the Los Angeles Times, and on television news programs. In light of the national attention increasingly focused on the University, as well as the strong reasoning behind the student's advisor's arguments for the photos being protected by free speech, the University's Office of Student Conduct was influenced to end its disciplinary hearings.