University of Pennsylvania

History and Origins
– University of Pennsylvania founded by Benjamin Franklin
– Merged with the University of the State of Pennsylvania in 1791
– Franklin’s vision for higher education and public service
– Established as the Academy of Philadelphia in 1751
– Became the College of Philadelphia in 1755
– Initial plans for a preaching hall and charity school
– Franklin’s idea to establish an academy in 1743
– Circulated a pamphlet outlining his vision in 1749
– Acquired a dormant building and assumed debts
– Chartered the Academy of Philadelphia in 1751
– The University of Pennsylvania considers itself the first university in the United States with both undergraduate and graduate studies.
– Penn has two claims to being the first university in the United States, according to the former university archives director Mark Frazier Lloyd.
– The founding of the first medical school in America made Penn the first institution to offer both undergraduate and professional education.
– The 1779 charter made Penn the first American institution of higher learning to take the name of University.
– The Academy of Philadelphia, a secondary school for boys, began operations in 1751.
– The first classes for the College of Philadelphia were taught in the same building as the Academy of Philadelphia.
– The building used by both institutions was an unused church assembly hall at 4th and Arch Streets.
– The College of Philadelphia received its collegiate charter in 1755.
– Many of the boys who graduated from the Academy of Philadelphia also attended the College of Philadelphia.
– College Hall, the only building at the time, served as the temporary meeting site of the Second Continental Congress in 1778.
– The British Army’s attack on Philadelphia caused significant damage to important buildings, including the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall).
– The Second Continental Congress returned to Philadelphia in 1778 and convened at College Hall due to the damage to Independence Hall.
– Penn’s campus briefly became one of the early capitals of the United States.
– A letter from Josiah Bartlett, a Founding Father, mentioned the Congress meeting at College Hall.
– In 1802, the university moved to the unused Presidential Mansion at Ninth and Market Streets.
– Benjamin Rush, a professor at Penn’s Department of Medicine, offered classes at the Presidential Mansion in 1807.
– The mansion was demolished in 1829, and twin buildings, College Hall and Medical Hall, were built on the same site.
– College Hall and Medical Hall formed the core of the Ninth Street Campus until the university’s move to West Philadelphia in the 1870s.
– In 1872, the university moved across the Schuylkill River to property purchased from the Blockley Almshouse in West Philadelphia.
– The campus has remained in West Philadelphia since then, in an area now known as University City.
– The move to West Philadelphia marked a significant shift from the university’s previous downtown location.
– The campus in West Philadelphia has been the university’s home for over a century.

Schools and Programs
– Four undergraduate schools and 12 graduate/professional schools
– Schools include College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Wharton School, and School of Nursing
– Highly ranked graduate schools include law, medical, and business schools
– Penn’s endowment is $20.7 billion as of 2022
– Received $1.5 billion in research grants in 2020

Campus and Landmarks
– Main campus located in University City neighborhood of West Philadelphia
– Centered around College Hall
– Notable landmarks include Houston Hall and Franklin Field
– Houston Hall is the first modern student union
– Franklin Field is the first dual-level college football stadium

Achievements and Alumni
– Notable alumni include signers of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution
– Alumni include U.S. presidents, Supreme Court justices, senators, and members of Congress
– 39 Nobel laureates and 4 Turing Award winners
– Graduated 32 Rhodes Scholars and 21 Marshall Scholars
– Largest number of undergraduate alumni who are billionaires among all colleges (17)

Student Housing
– In the 1750s, approximately 40% of Penn students needed lodging as they came from distant areas or were international students.
– Before the first dormitory was built in 1765, out-of-town students were placed with guardians in faculty homes or suitable boarding houses.
– The completion of the first dormitory in 1765 provided on-campus housing for students.
– The university recognized the need for residential facilities to accommodate its growing student population.
– Penn students began to establish residential fraternity houses in 1849
– Limited housing near campus led students to fend for themselves
– First fraternities included Delta Phi, Zeta Psi, Phi Kappa Sigma, and Delta Psi
– Fraternity locations were within walking distance of 9th and Chestnut Street
– When Penn moved to West Philadelphia in 1872, fraternities centered around Woodland Avenue
– Penn experienced increased need for housing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
– Competition with peer institutions to recruit foreign students contributed to the need
– George Henderson argued for greater dormitory room to foster college spirit
– Penn’s medical school attracted a geographically diverse population of students
– By 1891, there were at least 17 fraternities at the university
– The university largely lacked university-owned housing until the construction of the Quadrangle Dormitories
– A significant portion of the undergraduate population commuted from Delaware Valley locations
– The medical school was an exception, attracting students from the southern part of the United States
– The Quadrangle Dormitories were influential in attracting students and fostering college spirit
– After World War II, Penn began a capital spending program to overhaul its campus and student housing
– The G.I. Bill led to an increase in Penn’s student population
– Penn had outgrown previous expansions and needed to accommodate the growing student population
– First-year students were required to live in the quadrangleSources: