HistoryThe University of Pennsylvania considers itself the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, though this is contested by Princeton and Columbia Universities. The university also considers itself as the with both undergraduate and graduate studies. In 1740, a group of Philadelphians joined to erect a great preaching hall for the traveling , who toured the American colonies delivering open-air sermons. The building was designed and built by and was the largest building in the city at the time, drawing thousands of people the first time in which it was preached. It was initially planned to serve as a as well, but a lack of funds forced plans for the chapel and school to be suspended. According to Franklin's autobiography, it was in 1743 when he first had the idea to establish an academy, "thinking the Rev. a fit person to superintend such an institution". However, Peters declined a casual inquiry from Franklin and nothing further was done for another six years. In the fall of 1749, now more eager to create a school to educate future generations, circulated a pamphlet titled "", his vision for what he called a "Public Academy of Philadelphia". Unlike the other that existed in 1749—, , , and the —Franklin's new school would not focus merely on education for the clergy. He advocated an innovative concept of higher education, one which would teach both the ornamental knowledge of the arts and the practical skills necessary for making a living and doing public service. The proposed program of study could have become the nation's first modern liberal arts curriculum, although it was never implemented because priest (1727–1803), who became the first , and other strongly preferred the traditional curriculum. Franklin assembled a board of trustees from among the leading citizens of Philadelphia, the first such non-sectarian board in America. At the first meeting of the 24 members of the board of trustees on November 13, 1749, the issue of where to locate the school was a prime concern. Although a lot across Sixth Street from the old Pennsylvania State House (later renamed and famously known since 1776 as ""), was offered without cost by , its owner, the trustees realized that the building erected in 1740, which was still vacant, would be an even better site. The original sponsors of the dormant building still owed considerable construction debts and asked Franklin's group to assume their debts and, accordingly, their inactive trusts. On February 1, 1750, the new board took over the building and trusts of the old board. On August 13, 1751, the "Academy of Philadelphia", using the great hall at 4th and Arch Streets, took in its first secondary students. A charity school also was chartered on July 13, 1753, by the intentions of the original "New Building" donors, although it lasted only a few years. On June 16, 1755, the "" was chartered, paving the way for the addition of undergraduate instruction. All three schools shared the same board of trustees and were considered to be part of the same institution. The first commencement exercises were held on May 17, 1757. The institution of higher learning was known as the College of Philadelphia from 1755 to 1779. In 1779, not trusting then-provost the 's tendencies, the revolutionary State Legislature created a . The result was a schism, with Smith continuing to operate an attenuated version of the College of Philadelphia. In 1791, the legislature issued a new charter, merging the two institutions into a new University of Pennsylvania with twelve men from each institution on the new board of trustees. Penn has three claims to being the first university in the United States, according to university archives director Mark Frazier Lloyd: the 1765 founding of the first medical school in America made Penn the first institution to offer both "undergraduate" and professional education; the 1779 charter made it the first American institution of higher learning to take the name of "University"; and existing colleges were established as seminaries (although, as detailed earlier, Penn adopted a traditional seminary curriculum as well). Although Penn began operating as an academy or secondary school in 1751 and obtained its collegiate charter in 1755, it initially designated 1750 as its founding date; this is the year that appears on the first iteration of the university seal. Sometime later in its early history, Penn began to consider 1749 as its founding date and this year was referenced for over a century, including at the centennial celebration in 1849. In 1899, the board of trustees voted to adjust the founding date earlier again, this time to 1740, the date of "the creation of the earliest of the many educational trusts the University has taken upon itself". The board of trustees voted in response to a three-year campaign by Penn's General Alumni Society to retroactively revise the university's founding date to appear older than Princeton University, which had been chartered in 1746.
Early campusesThe Academy of Philadelphia, a secondary school for boys, began operations in 1751 in an unused church building at 4th and Arch Streets which had sat unfinished and dormant for over a decade. Upon receiving a collegiate charter in 1755, the first classes for the College of Philadelphia were taught in the same building, in many cases to the same boys who had already graduated from The Academy of Philadelphia. In 1801, the university moved to the unused Presidential Mansion at 9th and Market Streets, a building that both George Washington and John Adams had declined to occupy while Philadelphia was the temporary national capital. Among the classes given in 1807 at this building were those offered by , a professor of chemistry, medical theory, and clinical practice who was also a signer of the , member of the , and of the . Classes were held in the mansion until 1829 when it was demolished. Architect designed twin buildings on the same site, College Hall and Medical Hall (both 1829–1830), which formed the core of the Ninth Street Campus until Penn's move to West Philadelphia in the 1870s. After being located in downtown Philadelphia for more than a century, the campus was moved across the to property purchased from the in West Philadelphia in 1872, where it has since remained in an area now known as .
Residential universityIn the 1750s, roughly forty percent of Penn students needed lodging as they came from areas too far to commute including other colonies in the South or the . Before the completion of the construction of the first dormitory in 1765, out of town students were typically placed with "guardians" in the homes of faculty or in suitable boarding houses (such as the one run by widow Rachel Marks Graydon, mother of Penn College Class of 1775 (who did not graduate) alumnus ). In 1765, the campus was expanded by the opening of the newly completed dormitory run by Ben Franklin's collaborator on study of electricity using and Penn Professor and "chief master" . Kinnersley was designated "steward" of the students in the dormitory and he and his wife were given "powers of discipline" over the students and supervised the cleanliness of the students with respect to personal hygiene and washing of the students' dirty clothing. However, even after its construction, many students sought living quarters elsewhere, where they would have more freedom resulting in loss of funds to Penn such that in fall of 1775, Penn's trustees voted to advertise to lease the dormitory to a private family who would board the pupils at lesser cost to Penn. In another attempt to control the off-campus activities of the students, the trustees agreed not to admit any out-of-town student unless he was lodged in a place which they and the faculty considered proper. As of 1779, Penn, through its Trustees, owned three houses on Fourth Street, just north of the campus's "New Building" with the largest residence located on the corner of Fourth and Arch Streets. Starting in 1849 (with formation of Penn's Eta chapter of (St. Elmo) by five founders and fifteen "initiates", Penn students began to establish chapters of and live in houses rented or owned by fraternities. Since Penn only had limited housing near campus and since students (especially the students at the medical school who) came from all over the country, the students elected to fend for themselves rather than live in housing owned by Penn trustees and good number chose housing by pledging and living in Penn's first fraternities (, , , and ). These first fraternities were located in walking distance of 9th and Chestnut (as campus was located from 1800 to 1872 on West side of 9th Street, from Market Street on the North to Chestnut Street on the South). For example, Zeta Psi Fraternity was located at Southeast corner of 10th Street and Chestnut Street, Delta Phi was located on South side of 11th Street near Chestnut Street, and Delta Psi was located on North side of Chestnut Street, West of 10th Street. When Penn moved West in 1872 to its "new" campus (centered on the intersection of Woodland Avenue, 36th Street, and Locust Street) so did the fraternities. Among the first fraternities to build near the new campus were Phi Delta Theta in 1883 and in 1891. By 1891 there were at least seventeen fraternities at the university. From its founding until construction of the , which started construction in 1895, the student body did not live in university-owned housing as, with minor exceptions, there was none. Indeed, a significant portion of the undergraduate population commuted from and a large number of students resided in the Philadelphia area. The medical school (with roughly half the students) was a significant exception to this trend as it attracted a more geographically diverse population of students. For example, in the 1850s when Penn's medical school accounted for two-thirds to three-quarters of the student body, over half of the population of the medical school was from the southern part of the United States. Penn had increasing need for housing in the last decade of 19th century and first decades of the twentieth century due to number of factors including its competition for students with peer institutions and active recruitment of foreign students. With respect to the desire to compete with peer institutions to attract students from across the nation, such was aptly reported by George Henderson, President of the College Class of 1889 (in his monograph he distributed to his classmates at their 20th reunion), which charted not only Penn's strong growth in acreage and number of buildings over the prior two decades but also the near-quadrupling in the size of the student body, which was accommodated, in part, by building of the Men's Dormitory, the Quadrangle. Henderson argued that building played a vital role in attracting students, and made an impassioned plea for its expansion:George Henderson, ''Old Penn and Other Universities: A Comparative Study of Twenty Years Progress of The University of Pennsylvania'', (U. of Pa. Class of '89) June 1909 Monograph in Penn Archives for Class of 1889: Box 9, Folder
ControversiesFrom 1930 to 1966, there were 54 documented , a student tradition of rioting which included everything from car smashing to panty raids. After 1966, there were five more instances of "Rowbottoms", the latest occurring in 1980. In 1965, Penn students learned that the university was sponsoring research projects for the United States' . According to 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 to halt the program, citing the project as being "immoral, inhuman, illegal, and unbefitting of an academic institution". Members of the faculty believed that an academic university should not be performing classified research and voted to re-examine the university agency which was responsible for the project on November 4, 1965. In 1983, members of the broke into the Head Injury Clinical Research Laboratory in the School of Medicine and stole research audio and video tapes. The stolen tapes were given to who edited the footage to create a film, '. As a result of media coverage and pressure from , the project was closed down. The school gained notoriety in 1993 for the in which a student who told a group of black students to "shut up, you water buffalo" was charged with violating the university's racial harassment policy.
Educational innovationsPenn's educational innovations include the nation's first medical school in 1765; the first university teaching hospital in 1874; the , the world's first collegiate business school, in 1881; the first American student union building, , in 1896; the country's second school of veterinary medicine; and the home of , the world's first electronic, large-scale, general-purpose digital computer in 1946. Penn is also home to the oldest continuously functioning department in North America and is where the was founded. In 1921, Penn was also the first university to award a PhD to an African-American woman, (in economics).
MottoPenn's motto is based on a line from 's . From 1756 to 1898, the motto read '. When it was pointed out that the motto could be translated as 'Loose women without morals', the university quickly changed the motto to la, literae sine moribus vanae, lit=Letters without morals useless, link=no, label=none. In 1932, all elements of the seal were revised. As part of the redesign, it was decided that the new motto "mutilated" Horace, and it was changed to its present wording, la, Leges Sine Moribus Vanae, lit=Laws without morals useless, link=no, label=none.
SealThe official of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania serves as the signature and symbol of authenticity on documents issued by the corporation. A request for one was first recorded in a meeting of the trustees in 1753 during which some of the Trustees "desired to get a Common Seal engraved for the Use of Corporation". However, it was not until a meeting in 1756 that "a public Seal for the College with a proper device and Motto" was requested to be engraved in silver. The most recent design, a modified version of the original seal, was approved in 1932, adopted a year later and is still used for much of the same purposes as the original. The outer ring of the current seal is inscribed with "Universitas Pennsylvaniensis", the Latin name of the University of Pennsylvania. The inside contains seven stacked books on a desk with the titles of subjects of the and a modified , components of a classical education: Theolog Astronom Philosoph Mathemat Logica, Rhetorica and Grammatica. Between the books and the outer ring is the Latin motto of the university, "Leges Sine Moribus Vanae".
CampusMuch of Penn's architecture was designed by the Philadelphia based architecture firm (same architects who designed and a large part of ) known for having combined the of the and with the local landscape to establish the style. The present core campus covers over in a contiguous area of West Philadelphia's University City section, whereas the older heart of the campus comprises the . All of Penn's schools and most of its research institutes are located on this campus. The surrounding neighborhood includes several restaurants, bars, a large upscale grocery store, and movie theater on the western edge of campus. Penn's core campus borders and is a few blocks from the and . The renowned cancer research center is also located on campus. In 2014, a new 7-story glass and steel building was completed next to the institute's original brick edifice built in 1897 further expanding collaboration between the university and the Wistar Institute. The Module 6 Utility Plant and Garage at Penn was designed by BLT Architects and completed in 1995. Module 6 is located at 38th and Walnut and includes spaces for 627 vehicles, of storefront retail operations, a 9,500-ton chiller module and corresponding extension of the campus chilled water loop, and a 4,000-ton ice storage facility. In 2010, in its first significant expansion across the , Penn purchased at the northwest corner of 34th Street and Grays Ferry Avenue, the then site of Marshall Research Labs. In October 2016, Penn completed the design (with help from architects , , and ) and renovation of the center piece of the project, a former paint factory it named ''Pennovation Works''. ''Pennovation Works'' houses shared desks, wet labs, common areas, a "pitch bleacher," and other attributes of a tech incubator. The rest of the site, which Penn is formally calling "South Bank" (of Schuylkill River), is a mixture of lightly refurbished industrial buildings that serve as affordable and flexible workspaces and land for future development. Penn hopes that "South Bank will provide a place for academics, researchers, and entrepreneurs to establish their businesses in close proximity to each other to facilitate cross-pollination of their ideas, creativity, and innovation.
Parks and arboretaIn 2007, Penn acquired about between the campus and the Schuylkill River (the former site of the and a nearby site owned by the United States Postal Service). Dubbed the Postal Lands, the site extends from Market Street on the north to Penn's Bower Field on the south, including the former main regional U.S. Postal Building at 30th and Market Streets, now the regional office for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Over the next decade, the site became the home to educational, research, , and facilities. The first phase, comprising a park and athletic facilities, opened in the fall of 2011. In September 2011, Penn completed the construction of the $46.5 million, Penn Park, which features passive and active recreation and athletic components framed and subdivided by canopy trees, lawns, and meadows. It is located east of the Highline Green and stretches from Walnut Street to South Streets. Penn maintains two arboreta. The roughly ''The Penn Campus Arboretum at the University of Pennsylvania'' encompasses the entire University City campus. The campus arboretum is an urban forest with over 6,500 trees representing 240 species of trees and shrubs, ten specialty gardens and five urban parks, which has been designated as a Tree Campus USA since 2009 and formally recognized as an accredited ArbNet Arboretum since 2017. Penn maintains an interactive website linked to Penn's comprehensive tree inventory, which allows users to explore Penn's entire collection of trees. Penn also owns and operates the in in northwestern Philadelphia. The Morris Arboretum is also the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of .
New Bolton Center veterinary campusPenn also owns the , the research and large-animal health care center of its veterinary school. ''Note:'' This includes Located near , New Bolton Center received nationwide media attention when winner underwent surgery at its Widener Hospital for injuries suffered while running in the .
LibrariesPenn's library began in 1750 with a donation of books from cartographer . Twelve years later, then-provost William Smith sailed to England to raise additional funds to increase the collection size. Benjamin Franklin was one of the libraries' earliest donors and, as a trustee, saw to it that funds were allocated for the purchase of texts from London, many of which are still part of the collection, more than 250 years later. It has grown into a system of 15 libraries (13 are on the contiguous campus) with 400 (FTE) employees and a total operating budget of more than $48 million. The library system has 6.19 million book and serial volumes as well as 4.23 million items and 1.11 million e-books. It subscribes to over 68,000 print serials and e-journals. Penn has the following libraries, associated by school or subject area: Annenberg (School of Communications), located in the Annenberg School; Biddle (Law), located in the Law School; Biomedical, located adjacent to the Robert Wood Johnson Pavilion of the Medical School; Chemistry, located in the 1973 Wing of the Chemistry Building; Dental Medicine; Engineering, located on the second floor of the Towne Building in the Engineering School; Fine Arts, located within the . The Fine Arts Library was built to be Penn's main library (and first to have its own building). The then main library was designed by to be first library in nation to separate the low ceilings of the , where the books were stored, from forty foot plus high ceilinged rooms, where the books were read and studied, , located at 420 Walnut Street, near Independence Hall and Washington Square; Lea Library, located within the Van Pelt Library; Lippincott (Wharton School), located on the second floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center; Math/Physics/Astronomy, located on the third floor of David Rittenhouse Laboratory; Museum (Archaeology); Rare Books and Manuscripts; (Humanities and Social Sciences) – location of ; Veterinary Medicine, located in Penn Campus and New Bolton Center; and High Density Storage. The Penn Libraries are strong in Area Studies, with bibliographers for Africa, East Asia, Judaica, Latin America, Middle East, Russia, and Slavic and . As a result, the Penn Libraries have extensive collections in several hundred languages. The Yarnall Library of Theology, a major American rare book collection, is part of Penn's libraries. The Yarnall Library of Theology was formerly affiliated with in Philadelphia. It was founded in 1911 under the terms of the wills of Ellis Hornor Yarnall (1839–1907) and Emily Yarnall, and subsequently housed at the former Philadelphia Divinity School. The library's major areas of focus are theology, patristics, and the liturgy, history and theology of the and the . It includes a large number of rare books, incunabula, and illuminated manuscripts, and new material continues to be added.
Art installationsThe campus has over 40 notable art installations, in part because of a 1959 ordinance requiring total budget for new construction or major renovation projects (where any governmental resources are used) to include (Philadelphia's ordinance created the first such program in the country) to be used to pay for installation of site-specific public art, in part because of many alumni who collect and donate art to Penn, and in part because of the presence of the on campus. In 2020, Penn installed ''Brick House'', a monumental work of art (a "critical fabulation" in language used by its creator, ) at the College Green gateway to Penn's campus (near corner of 34th Street and Woodland Walk). This bronze sculpture, which is high and in diameter at its base, depicts an African woman's head (crowned with an afro framed by cornrow braids) atop a form that resembles both a skirt and a clay house. At the installation, Penn president Amy Guttman proclaimed that "Ms. Leigh's sculpture brings a striking presence of strength, grace, and beauty—along with an ineffable sense of mystery and resilience—to a central crossroad of Penn's campus." The ''Covenant'', better known to the student body as "Dueling Tampons" or "The Tampons", is a large red structure created by and located on Locust Walk as a gateway to the high-rise residences "super block". It was installed in 1975 and is made of rolled sheets of milled steel. A larger-than-life white button, known as ' (officially ''Split Button'') is a sculpture designed by designed by (who specializes in creating oversize sculptures of everyday objects). It sits at the south entrance of and has button holes large enough for people to stand inside. Penn also has a replica of the ' sculpture, part of a series created by . It is a painted aluminum sculpture and was installed in 1998 overlooking College Green. In 2019, the loaned Penn two multi-ton sculptures. The two works are ''Social Consciousness'' (created by in 1954 and sited on the walkway between Wharton's and Phi Phi chapter of fraternity house) and ''Atmosphere and Environment XII'', created by in 1970, which is sited on Shoemaker Green between and Ringe Squash Courts). In addition to the contemporary art, Penn also has a number of more traditional statues including a good number created by Penn's first Director of Physical Education Department, . Among the notable sculptures is that of ''Young Ben Franklin'', which McKenzie produced and Penn sited adjacent to the fieldhouse contiguous to . The sculpture is titled '' in 1723'' and was created by McKenzie during the pre-World War 1 era (1910–1914). Other sculptures he produced for Penn include the 1924 sculpture of then Penn provost . Penn is presently re-evaluating all of its public art and has formed a Campus Iconography Group led by Penn Design dean , who was part of a similar effort at the (that led to the removal of statues of and other Confederate officials), and Penn's Chief Diversity Officer, Joann Mitchell. Penn has begun the process of adding art and removing or relocating art. Penn removed from campus in 2020 the statue of the Reverend (who had inspired the 1740 establishment of a trust to establish a charity school, which trust Penn legally assumed in 1749) when research showed Whitefield owned fifty enslaved people and drafted and advocated for the key theological arguments in favor of and the the .
The Penn MuseumSince the Penn Museum was founded in 1887, it has taken part in 400 research projects worldwide. The museum's first project was an excavation of , a location in current day Iraq. Penn Museum is home to the largest authentic sphinx in North America at about seven feet high, four feet wide, 13 feet long, and 12.9 tons (made of solid red granite). The sphinx was discovered in 1912 by the British archeologist, , during an excavation of the ancient Egyptian city of , where the sphinx had guarded a temple to ward off evil. Since Petri's expedition was partially financed by Penn Petrie offered it to Penn, which arranged for it to be moved to museum in 1913. The sphinx was moved in 2019 to a more prominent spot intended to attract visitors. The museum has three gallery floors with artifacts from , the Middle East, , Asia, the Mediterranean, Africa and indigenous artifacts of the Americas. Its most famous object is the goat rearing into the branches of a rosette-leafed plant, from the . The Penn Museum's excavations and collections foster a strong research base for graduate students in the . Features of the building include a and gardens that include Egyptian .
Other Penn museums, galleries, and art collectionsPenn maintains a website providing a detailed roadmap to small museums and galleries and over one hundred locations across campus where the public can access Penn's over 8,000 artworks acquired over 250 years and includes, but is not limited to, paintings, sculptures, photography, works on paper, and decorative arts. The largest of the art galleries is the , one of the only s in the country, which showcases various art exhibitions throughout the year. Since 1983 the , located at the , has housed Penn's art collection and is named for its benefactor, philanthropist .
ResidencesEvery College House at the University of Pennsylvania has at least four members of faculty in the roles of House Dean, Faculty Master, and College House Fellows. Within the College Houses, Penn has nearly 40 themed residential programs for students with shared interests such as world cinema or science and technology. Many of the nearby homes and apartments in the area surrounding the campus are often rented by undergraduate students moving off campus after their first year, as well as by graduate and professional students. The College Houses include W.E.B. Du Bois, Fisher Hassenfeld, Gregory, Harnwell, Harrison, , Kings Court English, Lauder College House, Riepe, Rodin, Stouffer, and Ware. The first College House was Van Pelt College House, established in the Fall of 1971. It was later renamed Gregory House. Fisher Hassenfeld, Ware and Riepe together make up one building called "The Quad". In 2019, Penn announced the construction of New College House West, which is planned to open in the fall of 2021. Penn students in Junior or Senior year may live in the 45 sororities and fraternities governed by three student-run governing councils, Interfraternity Council, Intercultural Greek Council, and Panhellenic Council.
Campus policeThe University of Pennsylvania Police Department (UPPD) is the largest, private police department in Pennsylvania, with 117 members. All officers are sworn municipal police officers and retain general law enforcement authority while on the campus.
Academics and interdisciplinary focusPenn's "One University Policy" allows students to enroll in classes in any of Penn's twelve schools. The is the undergraduate division of the School of Arts and Sciences. The School of Arts and Sciences also contains the Graduate Division and the College of Liberal and Professional Studies, which is home to the , the master's programs in Organizational Dynamics, and the Environmental Studies (MES) program. is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania. Other schools with undergraduate programs include the and the . Penn has a strong focus on interdisciplinary learning and research. It offers double degree programs, unique majors, and academic flexibility. Penn's "One University" policy allows undergraduates access to courses at all of Penn's undergraduate and graduate schools except the medical, veterinary and dental schools. Undergraduates at Penn may also take courses at , , and under a reciprocal agreement known as the .
AdmissionsUndergraduate admissions to the University of Pennsylvania is considered by ' to be "most selective". Admissions officials consider a student's to be a very important academic factor, with emphasis on an applicant's high school class rank and letters of recommendation. For the class of 2024, entering in the fall of 2020, the university received 42,205 applications and admitted 8.07 percent of the applicants. ' also ranked Penn among the 10 most selective schools in the country. At the graduate level, based on admission statistics from ''U.S. News & World Report'', Penn's most selective programs include its law school, the health care schools (medicine, dental medicine, nursing, veterinary), and Wharton business school. SAT and ACT ranges are from the 25th to the 75th percentile.
Coordinated dual-degree and interdisciplinary programsPenn offers specialized (CDD) programs, which award candidates degrees from multiple schools at the university upon completion of graduation criteria of both schools. Undergraduate programs include: * Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology * Artificial Intelligence: Computer and Cognitive Science * Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business * Nursing and Health Care Management * Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management * Vagelos Scholars Program in Molecular Life Sciences * Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) * Accelerated 7-year Bio-Dental Program * Singh Program in Networked & Social Systems Engineering (NETS) * Accelerated 6-year Law and Medicine Program * Digital Media Design (DMD) Dual-degree programs that lead to the same multiple degrees without participation in the specific above programs are also available. Unlike CDD programs, "dual degree" students fulfill requirements of both programs independently without the involvement of another program. Specialized dual-degree programs include Liberal Studies and Technology as well as an Artificial Intelligence: Computer and Cognitive Science Program. Both programs award a degree from the College of Arts and Sciences and a degree from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Also, the Vagelos Scholars Program in Molecular Life Sciences allows its students to either double major in the sciences or submatriculate and earn both a B.A. and an M.S. in four years. The most recent Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) was first offered for the class of 2016. A joint program of Penn's School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, VIPER leads to dual Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Engineering degrees by combining majors from each school. For graduate programs, Penn offers many formalized double degree graduate degrees such as a joint J.D./MBA and maintains a list of interdisciplinary institutions, such as the Institute for Medicine and Engineering, the Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management and International Studies, and the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science. The , commonly known as Penn SP2, is a school of and that offers degrees in a variety of subfields, in addition to several dual degree programs and sub-matriculation programs. Penn SP2's vision is: "The passionate pursuit of social innovation, impact and ." Originally named the School of Social Work, SP2 was founded in 1908 and is a graduate school of the University of Pennsylvania. The school specializes in research, education, and policy development in relation to both social and economic issues. The offers five dual-degree programs, combining the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (VMD) with a Master of Social Work (MSW), Master of Environmental Studies (MES), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Public Health (MPH) or Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree. The Penn Vet dual-degree programs are meant to support veterinarians planning to engage in interdisciplinary work in the areas of human health, environmental health, and animal health and welfare.
Academic medical center and biomedical research complexIn 2018, the university's nursing school was ranked number one by . That year, Quacquarelli Symonds also ranked Penn's school of Veterinary Medicine sixth. In 2019, the Perelman School of Medicine was named the third-best medical school for research in ''U.S. News & World Report's'' 2020 ranking. The (also known as UPHS) is a multi-hospital headquartered in , , owned by Trustees of University of Pennsylvania. UPHS and the together comprise Penn Medicine, a clinical and research entity of the University of Pennsylvania. UPHS hospitals include the , , , Chester County Hospital, Lancaster General Hospital, and Princeton Medical Center. Penn Medicine owns and operates the first hospital in the United States, the . It is also home to America's first surgical amphitheatre and its first medical library.
Research, innovations and discoveriesPenn is as an "R1" doctoral university: "Highest research activity." Its economic impact on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 2015 amounted to $14.3 billion. Penn's research expenditures in the 2018 fiscal year were $1.442 billion, the fourth largest in the U.S. In fiscal year 2019 Penn received $582.3 million in funding from the . In line with its well-known interdisciplinary tradition, Penn's research centers often span two or more disciplines. In the 2010–2011 academic year alone, five interdisciplinary research centers were created or substantially expanded; these include the Center for Health-care Financing, the Center for Global Women's Health at the Nursing School, the $13 million Morris Arboretum's Horticulture Center, the $15 million Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at Wharton and the $13 million Translational Research Center at Penn Medicine. With these additions, Penn now counts 165 research centers hosting a research community of over 4,300 faculty and over 1,100 postdoctoral fellows, 5,500 academic support staff and graduate student trainees. To further assist the advancement of interdisciplinary research President established the "Penn Integrates Knowledge" title awarded to selected Penn professors "whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge". These professors hold endowed professorships and joint appointments between Penn's schools. Penn is also among the most prolific producers of doctoral students. With 487 PhDs awarded in 2009, Penn ranks third in the Ivy League, only behind and (Harvard did not report data). It also has one of the highest numbers of post-doctoral appointees (933 in number for 2004–2007), ranking third in the Ivy League (behind Harvard and Yale) and tenth nationally. In most disciplines Penn professors' productivity is among the highest in the nation and first in the fields of epidemiology, business, communication studies, comparative literature, languages, information science, criminal justice and criminology, social sciences and sociology. According to the nearly three-quarters of Penn's 41 assessed programs were placed in ranges including the top 10 rankings in their fields, with more than half of these in ranges including the top five rankings in these fields. Penn's research tradition has historically been complemented by innovations that shaped higher education. In addition to establishing the first medical school, the first university teaching hospital, the first business school, and the first student union, Penn was also the cradle of other significant developments. In 1852, Penn Law was the first law school in the nation to publish a law journal still in existence (then called ''The American Law Register,'' now the ', one of the most cited law journals in the world). Under the deanship of , the law school was also one of the first schools to emphasize legal teaching by full-time professors instead of practitioners, a system that is still followed today. The Wharton School was home to several pioneering developments in business education. It established the first research center in a business school in 1921 and the first center for entrepreneurship center in 1973 and it regularly introduced novel curricula for which ' wrote, "Wharton is on the crest of a wave of reinvention and change in management education". Several major scientific discoveries have also taken place at Penn. The university is probably best known as the place where the first general-purpose electronic computer (ENIAC) was born in 1946 at the . It was here also where the world's first spelling and grammar checkers were created, as well as the popular programming language. Penn can also boast some of the most important discoveries in the field of medicine. The machine used as an artificial replacement for lost kidney function was conceived and devised out of a pressure cooker by William Inouye while he was still a student at Penn Med; the and vaccines were developed at Penn; the discovery of cancer's link with genes, , (the cream used to treat acne), , the (linked to ) and the technology behind were all discovered by Penn Med researchers. More recent gene research has led to the discovery of the (a) genes for , the most common form of inherited mental retardation; (b) , a disorder marked by progressive muscle wasting; (c) , a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the hands, feet and limbs; and (d) genetically engineered T cells used to treat lymphoblastic leukemia and refractory diffuse large B cell lymphoma. was also developed at Penn by , and , an invention that earned them the . On faculty since 1965, developed the scientific basis for and the transgenic mouse at Penn and was awarded the in 2010. The theory of was also partly developed at Penn, by then-faculty member (along with and ). The university has also contributed major advancements in the fields of economics and management. Among the many discoveries are , widely used as a predictive tool especially in market research, 's method of measuring , the (the observation that consumer price levels in richer countries are systematically higher than in poorer ones) and the "Wharton Model" developed by Nobel-laureate to measure and forecast economic activity. The idea behind s also belonged to Penn professor Robert Eilers, who put it into practice during then-President Nixon's health reform in the 1970s.
Academic profile and rankings
International partnershipsStudents can study abroad for a semester or a year at partner institutions such as the , , , , , , and .
Rankings''s 2020 rankings place Penn 8th among national universities in the United States and Center for World University Rankings' ("CWUR") 2020/2021 survey also ranks Penn as the 8th best University in the world. includes Penn in its Dream Colleges list. As reported by ', Penn was ranked 1st in the United States by College Factual for 2015. In their 2021 edition, Penn was ranked 10th in the nation by QS (Quacquarelli Symonds). In the 2020 edition, Penn was ranked 15th in the world by the ' and in 2019, 17th by the ' (ARWU) and 12th by the '. In 2019, it ranked 12th among the universities around the world by '. According to the 2015 ARWU ranking, Penn is also the 8th- and 9th-best university in the world for economics/business and social sciences studies, respectively. University of Pennsylvania ranked 12th among 300 Best World Universities in 2012 compiled by (HRLR) on Measurements of World's Top 300 Universities Graduates' Performance. The Center for Measuring University Performance places Penn in the first tier of the United States' top research universities (tied with Columbia, and ), based on research expenditures, faculty awards, PhD granted and other academic criteria. Penn was also ranked 18th of all U.S. colleges and universities in terms of R&D expenditures in fiscal year 2013 by the . The High Impact Universities research performance index ranks Penn 8th in the world, whereas the 2010 Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities (published by the Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan) ranks Penn 11th in the world for 2007, 2008 and 2010 and 9th for 2009. The Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers measures universities' research productivity, research impact, and research excellence based on the scientific papers published by their academic staff. The Institutions Rankings World Report 2012, which ranks world universities, national institutions and academies in terms of research output, ranks Penn 7th nationally among U.S. universities (2nd in the Ivy League behind Harvard) and 28th in the world overall (the first being France's ). The , which ranks universities on the basis of the number of alumni listed among CEOs in the 500 largest worldwide companies, ranks Penn 11th worldwide and 2nd nationally behind Harvard. According to a ''U.S. News'' article in 2010, Penn is tied for second (tied with and ) for the number of undergraduate alumni who are current Fortune 100 CEOs. ' ranked Penn 17th, based on a variety of criteria.
Graduate and professional programsAmong its professional schools, in 2021 the school of was ranked number one in 2021 and was ranked number two, the , , , and , and veterinary medicine schools rank in the top 5 nationally. Penn's was ranked number 6 in 2021 and Design school, and its School of Social Policy and Practice are ranked in the top 10 In the 2010 , Penn was ranked 2nd in North America.
Demographics and diversityJonathan and Philip Gayienquitioga, two brothers of the Mohawk Nation, were recruited by Benjamin Franklin to attend the Academy of Philadelphia, making them the first Native Americans at Penn when they enrolled in 1755. , the first Jewish student, enrolled in 1769 (and was also elected Penn's first Jewish trustee in 1802, serving to 1826). Joseph M. Urquiola, class of 1829 was the first Latino (from Cuba), and Auxencio Maria Pena, class of 1836, was first (from ) to graduate from Penn. William Adger, James Brister, and in 1879 were the first to enroll at Penn. Adger was the first African American to graduate the college at Penn (1883), and when Brister graduated the (class of 1881), he was the first African American to earn a degree at Penn. Mossell was first African American to graduate from Penn Med (1882) (and had a brother, II who was the first African American graduate of (in 1888) and niece, , Albert's daughter, who not only was first African American woman to graduate Penn Law (in 1927) and be admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania, but prior to such noteworthy accomplishments was first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in the United States (from Penn in 1922)). Tosui Imadate was the first person of Asian descent to graduate from Penn (College, B.S. 1879). In 1877, Imadate became the first Asian member of a fraternity at Penn when he became a brother at . In a quote from a portion of a letter published in December 1880 issue of ''The Crescent'', Imadate is described by a Phi Kappa Psi brother as a "brother member of Penn's I chapter of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, who is a professor in college at Kiota , ). It is possible that Imadate was a professor at what is now known as as was not established until the 1890s. , M.D., Ph.D., and Anna H. Johnson were in 1880 the first women to enroll in a Penn degree-granting program and Bennett was the first woman to receive a degree from Penn, which was a Ph.D. ("Willing and Able" to his fellow students) in 1902 was the first African American to graduate from (then named Department of Architecture) and was elected as the president of Penn's Architectural Society. Abele won a 1901 student competition where he designed a pedestrian gateway that was built and still stands on the campus of , The Edward B. Conklin Memorial Gate at the Railroad Avenue entrance to Haverford College. Abele contributed to the design of more than 400 buildings, including the at (1912–1915), 's (1917–1927), and the (1914–1928). and was the primary designer of the west campus of (1924–1954). Duke honored Abele by prominently displaying his portrait, the first portrait of an African American to be displayed on the campus. (niece of Nathan Francis Mossell) was the first African American to receive a in economics in the United States (and third black woman to earn one in the United States in any subject) and first from Penn in 1921, the first African-American woman to receive a law degree from Penn Law in 1927, and the first African-American woman to practice law in Pennsylvania. , MD, who earned a master's degree at Penn Med in radiology (class of 1928), was born in 1890 and publicly identified as a female, Alberta Lucille Hart, through much of 1917, the year Dr. Hart transitioned to being a man by having a , one of the first in the United States to be performed to help a person become a , and lived the rest of his life as a man. Dr. Hart, Penn's most prominent transgender alumnus in the first half of the twentieth century, was a pioneer in using to detect , allowing the identification of asymptomatic TB carriers (seventy-five percent of the total infected), permitting treatment of patients before they had complications, and allowing for separation of TB patients from others to stop the spread of one of the more infectious deadly diseases known to humanity. As detailed in part above, by the first decades of the twentieth century, Penn made strides and took an active interest in attracting diverse students from around the globe. Two examples of such action occurred in 1910. Penn's first director of publicity, created a recruiting brochure, translated into Spanish, with approximately 10,000 copies circulated throughout Latin America. That same year, the Penn-affiliated organization, the Cosmopolitan Club, started an annual tradition of hosting an opening "smoker", which attracted students from 40 nations who were formally welcomed to the university by then-vice provost (who the following year would start a ten-year tenure as provost) who spoke about how Penn wanted to "bring together students of different countries and break down misunderstandings existing between them". The success of such efforts were reported in 1921 when the official Penn publicity department reported that Of those accepted for admission in 2018, 48 percent were , , African-American or Native American. Fourteen percent of entering undergraduates in 2018 were s. The composition of international first-year students in 2018 was: 46% from Asia; 15% from Africa and the Middle East; 16% from Europe; 14% from Canada and ; 8% from the , Central America and South America; 5% from Australia and the . The acceptance rate for international students admission in 2018 was 493 out of 8,316 (6.7%). In 2018, 55% of all enrolled students were women. In the last few decades, Jewish enrollment has been declining. Circa 1999 about 28% of the students were Jewish. In early 2020, 1,750 Penn undergraduate students were Jewish, which would be approximately 17% of the some 10,000 undergrads for 2019–20.
Penn Face and behavioral healthThe university's social pressure surrounding academic perfection, extreme competitiveness, and nonguaranteed readmission have created what is known as "Penn Face": students put on a façade of confidence and happiness while enduring mental turmoil. Stanford University calls this phenomenon "Duck Syndrome." In recent years, mental health has become an issue on campus with ten student suicides between the years of 2013 to 2016. The school responded by launching a task force. The most widely covered case of Penn Face has been Madison Holleran. In 2018, initiatives were enacted to ameliorate mental health problems, such as requiring sophomores to live on campus and the daily closing of Huntsman Hall at 2:00 a.m. The university's suicide rate was the catalyst for a 2018 state bill, introduced by Governor Tom Wolf, to raise Pennsylvania's standards for university suicide prevention. The university's efforts to address mental health on campus came into the national spotlight again in September 2019 when the director of the university's counseling services committed suicide six months after starting the position.
Selected student organizations;Oldest organization The , founded in 1813, is one of the United States' oldest collegiate literary societies and continues to host lectures and intellectual events open to the public. ;Self-funded organization ;''The Daily Pennsylvanian'' ' is an independent, student-run newspaper, which has been published daily since it was founded in 1885. The newspaper went unpublished from May 1943 to November 1945 due to . In 1984, the university lost all editorial and financial control of ''The Daily Pennsylvanian'' (also known as ''The DP'') when the newspaper became its own corporation. ''The Daily Pennsylvanian'' has won the administered by the multiple times, most recently in 2019. The ''DP'' also publishes a weekly arts and culture magazine called '. The DP also operates three principal websites—thedp.com, 34st.com, and underthebutton.com—as well as a variety of opinion, news, and sports blogs. It has received various collegiate journalism awards. ;Academic organizations The Penn Debate Society (PDS), founded in 1984 as the Penn Parliamentary Debate Society, is Penn's debate team, which competes regularly on the and the international British Parliamentary circuit. ;LGBTQ+ organizations Penn has been ranked as the number one LGBTQ+ friendly school in the country. Penn's LGBTQ+ center is second oldest in the nation and oldest in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as it has been serving the LGBTQ+ community since 1979 by providing support and guidance through 25 groups (including Penn J-Bagel a Jewish LGBTQ+ group, the Lambda Alliance a general LGBTQ social organization, and oSTEM a group for LGBTQ people in STEM fields). Penn offers courses in Sexuality and Gender Studies which allows students to discover and learn queer theory, history of sexual norms, and other gender orientation related courses. The first LGBTQ+ organization at Penn was formed in 1972 by "Steve" (a Benjamin Franklin scholar and Penn alumnus from college class of 1966) when he created the Gay Coffee Hour, which met every week on campus and was also open to non-students and served as an alternative space to s for gay people of all ages. Penn funded the Gay Coffee House via a grant from the student government and was held in Houston Hall at six o'clock in the evening every Wednesday and attracted on average roughly sixty people of all ages with roughly "one-quarter to one-third women and two-thirds to three-quarters men."
Performing arts organizationsPenn is home to numerous organizations that promote the arts, from dance to spoken word, jazz to stand-up comedy, theatre, a cappella and more. The Performing Arts Council (PAC) oversees 45 student organizations in these areas. The PAC has four subcommittees: A Cappella Council; Dance Arts Council; Singer, Musicians, and Comedians (SMAC); and Theatre Arts Council (TAC-e).
Penn Glee Club, founded in 1862, is tied for continually running s in the and the oldest performing arts group at the University of Pennsylvania. Each year, the Penn Glee Club writes and produces a fully staged, Broadway-style production with an eclectic mix of Penn standards, Broadway classics, classical favorites, and pop hits, highlighting choral singing from all genders (as of April 9, 2021, it merged with Penn Sirens, a previously all female chorale group), clever plots and dialogue, dancing, humor, colorful sets and costumes, and a pit band. The Glee Club draws its singing members from the undergraduate and graduate students (and men and women from the Penn community are also called upon to fill roles in the pit band and technical staff when the club is involved with theatrical productions). The Penn Glee Club has traveled to nearly all 50 states in the United States and over 40 nations and territories on five continents. Since the 1950s, Penn Glee Club has appeared on national television with such celebrities as , , , , , and Princess of and has been showcased on television specials such as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and at professional sporting events for The where club sung the National Anthem at the 1993 National League Championship Series. Since its first performance at the for President in 1926, the club has sung for numerous heads of state and world leaders. One of the highlights of 1989 was the club's performance for Polish President . , its best-known and longest-serving director, led the club from 1956 until 2000.
Penn Bandhas been a part of student life since 1897. The Penn Band presently mainly performs at football and basketball games as well as university functions (e.g. and ) throughout the year but in past it was known not only as the first college band to perform at but performed with notable musicians, including , members of the , the ("The President's Own"), of . Beginning in the late 1920s and 1930s Penn Band recorded with the (RCA-Victor Company) and was nationally broadcast on . In 1977, Penn Band performed with of and in 1980 opened for Penn Alumnus, in his eponymously named show. Penn Band has performed for Princess of (sister and aunt to number of alumni), alumnus and District Attorney and Mayor of Philadelphia, and Governor of Pennsylvania , Vice President , Presidents , and , and Polish dissident and President . By the 1970s, however, Penn Band had begun moving away from the traditional corps style and is now a scramble band. The first one hundred years of the organization's history was described in a book from Arcadia Publishing: ''Images of America:The University of Pennsylvania Band'' (2006).
Penn's a cappella communityThe A Cappella Council (ACK) is composed of 14 a cappella groups. Penn's a cappella groups entertain audiences with repertoires including pop, rock, R&B, jazz, Hindi, and Chinese songs. ACK is also home to Off The Beat, which has received the most contemporary a cappella recording awards of any collegiate group in the United States and the most features on the ''Best of College A Cappella'' albums. , formed in 1996, is world's oldest and premier n a cappella group based in an American university, which has performed for , , , , , , , and , had their a cappella version of 's classic "", (originally from the movie ') sung in the movie , and was invited by Penn alumni (class of 1996) and (Banks' husband, class of 1995) to appear in ', as Banks reported that Penn's a capella community inspired the starring and/or produced by Banks and Handleman.
Comedy organizationsThe Club, founded in 1889, is the oldest all-male musical comedy troupe in the country. Bloomers comedy group, founded in 1978, was the "... nation's first collegiate all-women musical and sketch comedy troupe..." and now accepts all persons from under-represented gender identities who perform comedy.
Religious and spiritual organizations;Mainstream Protestantism Dating back to 1857, The Christian Association (a.k.a. The CA) is the oldest religious organization at the university and is composed primarily of students from backgrounds. When the university moved to its current campus in the 1880s the CA was based in Houston Hall. After moving around several times it relocated to building at 36th and Locust Streets, which it built and owned (now the ARCH Building), and occupied from 1928 until 2000. The CA ran several foreign missions including one of lasting import when in 1906 it financed graduate, , MD, trip to China to investigate the viability of operating the medical department of the (now known as ). The following year, Dr. McCracken moved to China and renamed the department as "The University Medical School in Canton, China," and served as its president from the time of renaming through the date in 1913 when the CA ended its affiliation with the Canton Christian College. The CA also ran for decades a camp for socio-economically disadvantaged children from Philadelphia in a more rural section of Pennsylvania. At present the CA occupies part of the parsonage at Tabernacle United Church of Christ. ;Judaism Though Moses Levy, Penn's first Jewish student, enrolled in 1772 and first Jewish trustee was elected in 1802 (and served through 1826), organized Jewish life did not begin in earnest until start of 20th century. Jewish Life on campus is centered at Penn branch of , which inspires students to explore Judaism, creates patterns of Jewish living that can be sustained after graduation, provides religious communities, promotes educational initiatives, projects, social and cultural opportunities, and groups focusing on Israel education and politics, and hosts a Penn approved dining hall (supervised by the Community Kashrus of Greater Philadelphia). In addition Penn Hillel student and professional staff help facilitate the 's Sinai Scholars Society Academic Symposium, a prestigious event that brings together Jewish college students with noted Jewish academics for a day of in-depth discussion and debate at the university. ;Roman Catholicism The Penn Newman Catholic Center (the ) was founded in 1893 (and was the first Newman Center in the country) with the mission of supporting students, faculty, and staff in their religious endeavors. The organization brings prominent Christian figures to campus, including Rev. Thomas "Tom" J. Hagan, , who worked in the Newman Center and founded Haiti-based non-profit Hands Together; and, in September 2015, . In addition to his duties as a priest, Father Martin is an of the Jesuit magazine , a ' Best Selling author, and frequent commentator on the life and teachings of Jesus and on . Father Martin is especially well known for his outreach to the community, which has drawn a strong backlash from parts of the Catholic Church, but has provided comfort to Penn students and other members of Roman Catholic community who wish to stay connected with their faith and identify as LGBQT. During the 2015 , which included a visit from to Philadelphia, the Newman Center hosted over 900 Penn students and alumni. ;Hinduism and Jainism University of Pennsylvania funds (via the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly or similar undergraduate organization) a variety of official clubs focused on including a number focused on students who are Hindu or Jain. In addition to 'Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH)', a center for students to celebrate South Asian, East Asian, Southeast Asian, culture and religion, 'Rangoli, the Indian Association at Penn', a Penn club, that educates and informs Penn students (mainly graduate and professional students) with ancestry and/or interest in India whose goals include a desire to "rekindle the spirit of various Indian traditions and festivals", and '', the first and now world famous South Asian a cappella group (detailed above under performing arts clubs), Penn funds the 'Penn Hindu & Jain Association', a student-run official club at Penn that has 80 to 110 student members and an extensive alumni network, dedicated to raise awareness of the Hindu and Jain faiths and foster further development of these communities in the greater Philadelphia area by providing a variety of services and hosting a number of events such as (which has been held annually at Penn since 1993) and ". . . aims to be a home to anyone seeking to explore their spiritual, religious, or social interests." ;Islam In 1963, the (MSA National) and Penn chapter of MSA National were founded to facilitate Muslim life among students on college campuses. The University of Pennsylvania chapter (Penn MSA) was established to help Penn Muslims build faith and community by fostering a space under the guidance of Islamic principles. In 1973, Penn MSA helped found , a mosque close to campus, to facilitate Penn's and the local community's easy access to Islamic study circles, social events, Friday prayers and holiday celebrations. The establishment of the mosque and the 1980 organization of a relief fund to aid refugees fleeing Afghanistan in the wake of the Soviet attack are consistent with Penn MSA support of mission of its related umbrella organization, , to "foster the development of the Muslim community, interfaith relations, civic engagement, and better understandings of Islam." Though Penn MSA stakeholders remain involved with Masjid Al-Jamia mosque, the local community now operates the mosque, which, as of 2009, is owned by a national organization, North American Islamic Trust, Inc. In addition to Penn MSA support of Islam at Penn, The Muslim Life Program at the University of Pennsylvania provides such support and helped cause Penn (in January 2017) to hire its first full-time Muslim chaplain, the co-president of the Association of Campus Muslim Chaplains, Sister Patricia Anton (whose background includes working with Muslim, interfaith, academic and peace-building institutions such as and ). Chaplain Anton's mandate includes supporting and guiding the Penn Muslim community to foster further development of such community by creating a welcoming environment that provides Penn Muslim community opportunities to intellectually and spiritually engage with Islam. Penn also has a residential house, the Muslim Life Residential Program, which provides Penn students with a live/learn environment focused on the appreciation of Islamic culture, food, history, and practice, and shows its residents how Islam is deeply integrated in the culture of Philadelphia so they may appreciate how Islam influences daily life in the home of one of the largest Muslim communities in North America.
AthleticsPenn's teams are nicknamed the , but the teams are often also referred to as as reflected in the popular song sung after every athletic contest where the Penn Band or other musical groups are present. The athletes participate in the and (Division I FCS for football) in the . In recent decades, they often have been champions in football (14 times from 1982 to 2010) and basketball (22 times from 1970 to 2006). The first athletic team at Penn was the team, which formed in 1842 and played regularly through 1846, the year it lost its "grounds", and then only played intermittently until 1864, the year it played its first intercollegiate game (against ). The rowing (or crew) team composed of Penn students but not officially representing Penn was formed in 1854 but did not compete against other colleges as official part of Penn until 1879. The rugby football team began to play against other colleges, most notably against (now Princeton University) in 1874 using a combination of (i.e. soccer) and rules (the twenty players on each side were able to use their hands but were not able to pass or bat the ball forward).
CricketThe first University of Pennsylvania cricket team was organized in 1842 by a member of Philadelphia's prominent , William Rotch Wister (class of 1846 for Bachelor of Arts and 1849 for Master of Arts). Penn never possessed its own "ground" except in 1846 when it leased one day a week, for a total sum of $50, a "ground" (located east of the on land owned by the Union Club of Camden, New Jersey, which, in 1840, arguably organized the first Cricket team in the United States). From 1846 to 1860, there is little evidence of Penn playing cricket but just as Civil War began, Penn students resumed playing cricket matches between classes of Penn students. On May 7, 1864, Penn played its first intercollegiate game against and then proceeded to play Haverford for three consecutive years until 1869, when the Haverford faculty banned cricket away from their college grounds. After Penn moved west of the Schuylkill River in 1872, Penn played cricket at one of the local clubs (, the closest to campus at 50th Street and Chester Avenue, , and ), or at Haverford College. Though there is evidence of an occasional game during period 1870 through 1875, none were played against other colleges and there were no yearbook pictures for the three years after 1872 when Penn moved from Center City to University City. Starting in 1875 and through 1880, Penn fielded a varsity eleven, which played a few matches each year against opponents that included Haverford College and . In 1881, Penn, , Haverford College, Princeton College (then known as College of New Jersey), and Columbia College formed The , which later joined. Penn won The championship (the ''de facto'' national championship) 23 times (18 solo, 3 shared with Haverford and Harvard, 1 shared with Haverford and Cornell, and 1 shared with just Haverford) during the 44 years that The Intercollegiate Cricket Association existed (1881 through 1924). In the 1890s Penn's cricket team frequently toured Canada and the British Isles. In July 1895 an international cricket match between and the United States was played on the Manheim grounds in Germantown section of Philadelphia with six of the United States team being Penn student athletes and, in September of that year, past and then current members of Penn's varsity cricket team played past and then current members of the English cricket teams of Oxford and Cambridge resulting in Penn defeating the Oxford-Cambridge team by one hundred runs. This was not surprising as in the last two and a half decades of the 19th century and first decade of the 20th century, Philadelphia was the center of Cricket had gained in popularity among the upper class from their travels abroad and cricket clubs sprung up all across the Eastern Seaboard (even today Philadelphia still has three cricket clubs: the , the Merion Cricket Club and the Germantown Cricket Club). Perhaps the university's most famous cricket player was (class of 1888), who still holds the North American batting record and who went on to play for the professional . Following the First World War, cricket began to experience a serious decline (as baseball became the preferred sport of the warmer months and , Cricket's "... international governing body and forerunner to the current (ICC), introduced a regulation making it clear that only countries within the British empire were welcome to compete") such that in 1924 Penn fielded its last team in the twentieth century. Starting in 2009, however, Penn once again fielded a cricket team, albeit club, that ended up being the first winner of a tournament for teams from the Ivies.
Rowingat Penn dates back to at least 1854 with the founding of the . The university currently hosts both heavyweight and lightweight men's teams and an open weight women's team, all of which compete as part of the League. was Penn's first intercollegiate crew coach from 1879 through 1912. During the course of Ward's coaching career at Penn his "... Red and Blue crews won 65 races, in about 150 starts." Importantly, Ward coached Penn's 8-oared boat to the finals of the (the oldest and most prized trophy) at the (but in that final race was defeated by the champion ). Penn Rowing has produced a long list of famous coaches and Olympians. Members of Penn crew team, rowers Sidney Jellinek, Eddie Mitchell, and coxswain, John G. Kennedy, won the bronze medal for the United States at . (class of 1935) was captain of Penn crew team, winner of the Henley Diamond Sculls twice, named recipient of the for nation's best amateur athlete in 1939, and Penn coach from 1950 to 1969. The 1955 Men's Heavyweight 8, coached by , became one of only four American university crews in history to win the at the . The outbreak of canceled the 1940 Olympics for which Burk was favored to win the gold medal. Other Penn Olympic athletes and or Penn coaches of such athletes include (winner of gold medals as part of the women's 8 oared boat at and ), Regina Salmons (member of 2021 USA team), Rusty Callow, , , and , son of (winner of three medals at ) and brother of , was the 2nd Penn Crew Alumnus to win the for being nation's best amateur athlete (in 1947), also was winner of a bronze medal at the ). The Penn men's crew team won the in 1991. A member of that team, ( (class of 1992) won the bronze medal in Men's Quadruple Sculls for at the 1996 Summer Olympics. The Penn teams presently row out of , No.11 .
RugbyThe Penn men's team is one of the oldest collegiate rugby teams in the United States. Indeed, Penn first fielded a team in mid 1870s playing by rules much closer to the and code rules (relative to rules, as such American football rules had not yet been invented). Among its earliest games was a game against (which in 1895 changed its name to ) played in Philadelphia on Saturday, November 11, 1876, which was less than two weeks before Princeton met on November 23, 1876, with and to confirm that all their games would be played using the rugby union rules. (1985) "Fight On, Pennsylvania" Trustees of University of Pennsylvania pp. 25, 28, 33, 34. Princeton and Penn played their November 1876 game per a combination of rugby (there were 20 players per side and players were able to touch the ball with their hands) and Association Football codes. The rugby code influence was due, in part, to the fact that some of their students had been educated in .Bath (1977) p77 Among the prominent alumni to play in a 19th-century version of rugby (rules that did not allow forward passes or center snaps) was , namesake of the and an 1892 graduate of the . Heisman was instrumental in the first decade of the 20th century in changing the rules to more closely relate to the present rules of American football. One of Heisman's teammates (who was unanimously voted Captain in the fall after Heisman graduated) was , class of 1893 (who subsequently served as from 1928 to 1932. In 1906, Rugby per code was reintroduced to Penn (as Penn last played per Rugby Union Code in 1882 as Penn played rugby per a number of different rugby football rulebooks and codes from 1883 through 1890s) by Frank Villeneuve Nicholson () (class of 1910), who in 1904 had captained the Australian national rugby team in its match against England. Penn played per rugby union code rules at least through 1912, contemporaneously with Penn playing American gridiron football. Evidence of such may be found in an October 22, 1910, ' article (quoted below) and a yearbook photo that rugby per rugby union code was played. The player-coach of United States Olympic gold-winning rugby team at the was , who played rugby while at Penn (which he attended during 1921/1922 academic year) as he was getting a master's degree at Wharton. Though Penn played rugby per rugby union rules from 1929 through 1934, there is no indication that Penn had a rugby team from 1935 through 1959 when Penn men's rugby became permanent due to leadership of Harry "Joe" Edwin Reagan III Penn's College class of 1962 and Penn Law class of 1965, who also went onto help create and incorporate (in 1975) and was Treasurer (in 1981) of and Oreste P. "Rusty" D'Arconte Penn's College class of 1966 Thus, with D'Arconte's hustle and Reagan's charisma and organizational skills, a team, which had fielded a side of fifteen intermittently from 1912 through 1960, became permanent. In spring of 1984 Penn women's rugby, led by Social Chair Tamara Wayland (College class of 1985 who subsequently became the women's representative to and vice president of South from 1996 to 1998), Club President Marianne Seligson, and student , began to compete. Penn women's rugby team is coached, as of 2020, by (a) Adam Dick, a 300-level certified coach with over 15 years of rugby coaching experience including being the first coach of the first women's rugby team at the and who was a four-year starter at University of Arizona men's first XV rugby team and (b) Philly women's player Kate Hallinan. Penn's men's rugby team plays in the and have finished as runners-up in both 15s and 7s in the Conference and won the Ivy Rugby Tournament in 1992. , the club uses the state-of-the-art facilities at . The Penn Quakers' rugby team played on national TV at the 2013 , a college rugby tournament that for number of years had been played each June at (now known as ) in Philadelphia and was broadcast live on . In their inaugural year of participation, the Penn men's rugby team won the Shield Competition, beating local rival, , 17–12 in the final. In the semifinal match of that Shield Competition, Penn Rugby became the first Philadelphia team to beat a non-Philadelphia team in CRC history, with a 14–12 win over the . Penn men's rugby, as of 2020, is coached by Tiger Bax, a former professional rugby player hailing from , whose playing experience includes stints in the competition with the (15s) and Mighty Mohicans (7s), as well as with the side, and whose coaching experience includes three successful years as coach at Valley Rugby Football Club in ; and Tyler May, from , who played rugby at where he was a first XV player for three years. Players on the 2019 men's team came from 11 different countries: Australia, , , , , , New Zealand, , , , and the ). Penn's graduate and professional schools also fielded rugby teams. The Penn Law Rugby team (1985 through 1993) counts among its alumni Walter Joseph , III Penn Law class of 1993, and chair of the from May 4, 2017, until December 23, 2020, and Raymond Hulser, former Chief of Public Integrity Section of . The Wharton rugby team has competed from 1978 to the present. Other recent Penn Rugby Alumni include (Penn College class of 2006 and Penn Law class of 2009), who played for undergraduate team (and had an additional year of eligibility allowing him to continue to playing for undergraduate team while a student at Penn Law per rules), and, as of 2021, is a member of , elected originally to , since 2019 is a from .
FootballPenn first fielded a football team against Princeton at the Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia on November 11, 1876. Penn football made many contributions to the sport in its early days. During the 1890s, Penn's famed coach and alumnus introduced the quarterback kick, a forerunner of the , as well as the from scrimmage and the delayed pass. In 1894, 1895, 1897 and 1904, Penn was generally regarded as the national champion of collegiate football. Among the key players on the teams from 1897 to 1900 was , Sr. who was selected as a charter member of the in 1951. While primarily a , he also ran, , kicked off, and drop-kicked . The achievements of two of Penn's other outstanding players from that era, John Heisman, a Law School alumnus, and , a alumnus, are remembered each year with the presentation of the Heisman Trophy to the most outstanding college football player of the year, and the to the most outstanding college football of the year. Also, each year the is given to college football's best defensive player. (class of 1949) was a three-time n / who starred on the 1947 team and is generally regarded as Penn's all-time finest. In addition to Bednarik, the 1947 squad boasted four-time All-American and three-time All-American . All three standouts were subsequently elected to the , as was their coach, (a star running back at Penn in the early 1930s). Bednarik went on to play for 12 years with the , and was elected to the in 1969. Penn's game against at Berkeley on September 29, 1951 (in front of a crowd of 60,000 at Franklin Field), was first college football game to be broadcast in color. 's ' traveled to Penn to highlight the –Penn game on November 17, 2002, the first time the popular college football show had visited an Ivy League campus.
BasketballPenn is steeped in tradition. Penn made its only (and the Ivy League's second) appearance in 1979, where the Quakers lost to -led 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 , along with , , and . In 2007, the men's team won its third consecutive Ivy League title and then lost in the first round of the to . Penn last made the NCAA tournament in 2018 where it lost to top seeded .
Olympic athletesAt least 43 different Penn alumni have earned 81 Olympic medals (26 gold). Penn won more of its "medals" (which were actually cups, trophies, or a plaques as medals were not introduced until a later Olympics) at held in than any other Olympics. Penn's track and field alumni who won 21 'medals' at the 1900 Paris Olympics are: (1) ( class of 1900), known as "the father of the modern hurdling technique", who was first sportsman in the history of Olympic games to win four individual gold medals in a single discipline; (2) , M.D. ( class of 1901) who won the silver medal in the and a bronze medal for the hammer throw; (3) John ( class of 1899) who won five 'medals' (gold in the 200 meter dash and 400 meter hurdles, silver in the 60 meter dash and 100 meter dash, and a bronze in the 200 meter hurdles); (4) ( class of 1901) who won five "medals" (gold in both the men's and men's and silver in all three of the standing jumps (long, triple, and high); (5) (College Class of 1901 (BS), class of 1904) who won the silver 'medal' in the , (6) ( class of 1904) who won the silver 'medal' in the (and at held in , won (i) bronze medal in the (which consisted of 100 yard run, shot put, high jump, 880 yard walk, hammer throw, pole vault, 120 yard hurdles, long jump and one mile run), and (ii) gold medal as part of United States tug of war team), and (7) (University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Arts and Sciences class of 1894 (MA) and class of 1896 (Ph.D.)) who (as first physically disabled Olympic athlete) won a gold 'medal' in the 2,500 meter run and a bronze metal in the 400 meter hurdles The first in the United States to win an at an Olympics, the , as part of where he ran the third leg, the 400 meters, was ( (class of 1908)). Taylor was followed by and (fellow Penn athlete). In the held in Tokyo, Japan, in summer of 2021, nine Penn students and alumni played in six different sports from six different countries.
Facilitiesis where the Quakers play football, , , and track and field (and formerly baseball, soccer, and rugby). It is the oldest stadium still operating for football games and was the first stadium to sport two tiers. It hosted the first commercially televised football game, was once the home field of the Philadelphia Eagles, and was the site of 18 games between 1899 and 1935. Today it is also used by Penn students for recreation such as and club sports, including and cricket. Franklin Field hosts the annual collegiate track and field event "the ." Penn's home court, the , is an arena used for men's and women's basketball teams, volleyball teams, team, and Philadelphia Big Five basketball, as well as high school sporting events. The Palestra has hosted more NCAA Tournament basketball games than any other facility. Penn staff and students make use of the Palestra to play and/or watch basketball, volleyball, and fencing. Penn's River Fields hosts a number of athletic fields including the Rhodes Soccer Stadium (for both women's and men's soccer, which includes elevated stands for 650 spectators, a 180-degree rotating scoreboard, and the Rapaport Family Suite), the Ellen Vagelos C'90 Field Hockey Field (with special artificial turf), and Irving "Moon" Mondschein Throwing Complex (for , , , and ). In addition, Penn baseball plays its home games at at Murphy Field. The of 1980 was held at the University of Pennsylvania in response to Moscow's hosting of the following the . Twenty-nine of the boycotting nations participated in the Boycott Games.
Alumni relations and inter-Ivy eventsIn addition to active alumni chapters globally, in 1989, the university bought a 14-story clubhouse building in New York City from for $15 million to house Penn's largest alumni chapter. After raising a separate $25 million (including $150,000+ donations each from heirs, and , , , and ) and two years of renovation, the moved to said current location on NYC's Clubhouse Row directly in front of the , on the same block as the , and a block away from the and for inter-Ivy events. Despite the university being in New York City, the shares a clubhouse with the Penn Club. The New York region of the university maintains an office in the Penn Club.
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