University of Pennsylvania

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University of Pennsylvania
motto Leges sine moribus vanae
(laws without morality are useless)
founding 1740
Sponsorship Private
place Philadelphia , United States
president Amy Gutmann
Students 24,876 (fall 2015)
Foundation assets $ 7.7 billion (2013)
University sports Quakers ( Ivy League )
Networks Association of American Universities

The University of Pennsylvania (often just Penn or UPenn ) in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania is one of the most prestigious universities in the world and one of the oldest universities in the United States of America. It is one of the most selective universities in America. It is a member of the Association of American Universities and a sports league of eight American elite universities, the Ivy League . Penn is the largest private employer in Philadelphia with more than 17,000 employees.

With annual research spending of US $ 878 million (2015), the university is one of the largest research centers in the USA. The university's annual budget of more than US $ 7 billion (fiscal year 2016; around US $ 4.2 billion of which is wages and salaries) is the largest of all Ivy League universities. Penn's foundation assets, at 7.74 billion US dollars (2013), are smaller than those of the foundations at Harvard University , Princeton University and Yale University .

The Wharton School of Business, Law School, School of Design, and School of Medicine are particularly respected.


Museum of Archeology and Anthropology

The clergyman George Whitefield (1714-1770) founded an organization in 1740 to establish a school for socially disadvantaged children (Charity School). Construction work on the school building began that same year. The building could not be completed due to a lack of funds.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) published his ideas about a modern educational institution in Philadelphia (Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania) in 1749 and founded the Philadelphia Academy. The Academy's board of directors bought the school building from Whitefield's school in 1750. The central campus of the academy was to be built on the site. The Philadelphia Academy made a commitment to set up a school for poor children on the site.

The academy and school for the poor opened in 1751. The school for poor boys accepted the first pupils in September 1751. In October of the following year, around 100 students were already attending the school. The curriculum consisted mainly of reading, writing and arithmetic. This curriculum was complemented by lessons on the principles of Christianity.

The school for poor girls accepted the first female students in 1753. The curriculum consisted mainly of reading, sewing and knitting. Mostly around 30 girls attended school.

In 1754, Father William Smith was appointed headmaster by the Philadelphia Academy Board of Directors. In 1755, Benjamin Franklin and the Philadelphia Academy Board of Directors founded the College of Philadelphia with William Smith as its principal. Benjamin Franklin had to resign as chairman of the board at the urging of William Smith, but remained a member of the board. The first students graduated in 1757.

In 1765, the first medical school in North America was established at the College of Philadelphia. In 1777 the college was temporarily closed due to the American Revolutionary War.

In 1779, the Pennsylvania State Revolutionary Administration found the colonial college charter to be illegal. The administration wrote a new charter and appointed a new supervisory board and university director. The facility was renamed the University of the State of Pennsylvania.

While Benjamin Franklin was visiting Paris in 1784, King Louis XVI. the university library books. After Franklin's return to Philadelphia in 1785, he was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of the University of the State of Pennsylvania. In 1789, the Pennsylvania State Parliament restored the College of Pennsylvania, with its original board of directors and university directors, in 1789.

By law in 1791 the University of the State of Pennsylvania and the College of Philadelphia were merged to form the University of Pennsylvania. This institution still exists today.


Ware College House, University of Pennsylvania campus
The Fisher Fine Arts Library on the
University of Pennsylvania campus


Penn's urban campus has been located in West Philadelphia, near downtown Philadelphia, since the 1870s. The approximately 1.1 km² campus in Philadelphia consists of 152 buildings (2005; not including the university clinic).

Penn also owns a research facility outside of Philadelphia with the New Bolton Center. This center serves mainly as a veterinary clinic. The university's botanical garden, the Morris Arboretum, is north of the city center.


There are 12 graduate schools. Some schools, like the School of Arts & Sciences, are divided into subject areas (chemistry, physics, etc.).

  • design
  • Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Communication Sciences (Annenberg School for Communication)
  • Arts and sciences
  • medicine
  • pedagogy
  • maintenance
  • law Sciences
  • Social policy and practice
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Economics ( Wharton School of Business)
  • Dentistry

There are four different schools for Bachelor students:

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • Wharton School of Business
  • The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • The Nursing School

According to the “one university” concept, students are not only allowed but recommended to attend courses in other faculties. Many students benefit from this concept, for example by supplementing their studies at the College of Arts & Sciences with courses from the Wharton School or the Law Faculty (actually only for Master’s students).

Penn offers four so-called "joint degree programs":

These are particularly renowned as students are enrolled in two different schools.

Admission of students

Penn is one of the most selective universities in the United States when it comes to admitting applicants for undergraduates. In 2016, only around 9.4% of applicants were accepted. From the final year 2015 (start of studies in autumn 2011) 97% of the admitted applicants belong to the top 10% of their school class. For degree programs for postgraduates (“graduate programs”), the admission rate depends, among other things, on the reputation of the respective degree program.

Tuition fees and financial support

Tuition at the University of Pennsylvania is $ 49,536 for the 2015/16 academic year for undergraduates. The total tuition fee for undergraduate students residing on campus (which is required in the first year of study) is $ 66,800 and for undergraduate students living off campus is $ 55,100. Undergraduates are supported by loans or grants from the university. Doctoral and master’s students generally do not have to pay any fees and also receive grants for living expenses. A School of Arts and Sciences graduate student scholarship consists of tuition waiver (approximately $ 34,000), health insurance (approximately $ 2,200), and a scholarship of approximately $ 24,500 (2006 academic year -2007).


The University of Pennsylvania's sports teams are the Quakers . The university is a member of the Ivy League .

Sights on campus

Founded in 1887, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology is an archeological and anthropological university-owned museum and is located on campus.


Professors and lecturers

Nobel Prize Winner

The following winners were professors at the University of Pennsylvania at the time of the award ceremony.

  • Raymond Davis Jr. (1914–2006) (Nobel Prize in Physics, 2002; Professor of Physics from 1985 to 2006; Emeritus since?)
  • Alan G. MacDiarmid (1927–2007) (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2000; Professor of Chemistry 1955–2007)
  • Lawrence R. Klein (1920–2013) (Nobel Prize in Economics, 1980; Professor of Economics since 1958; Emeritus since 1991)
  • Baruch S. Blumberg (1925–2011) (Nobel Prize for Medicine, 1976; Professor of Medicine since 1964; Emeritus since?)
  • John Robert Schrieffer (1931–2019) (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1972; Professor of Physics from 1962 to 1980)

The following award winners were professors or researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. The award ceremony took place after or before her affiliation with the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Ragnar Granit (1900–1991) (Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1967; researcher from 1929 to 1931)
  • Haldan K. Hartline (1903–1983) (Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1967; Professor of? From 1936 to 1949)
  • Alan J. Heeger (* 1936) (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2000; Professor of Physics from 1962 to 1982)
  • Robert Hofstadter (1915–1990) (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1961; researcher from 1939 to 40; teaching position 1940–41)
  • Simon Smith Kuznets (1901–1985) (Nobel Prize in Economics, 1971; Professor of Economics from 1930 to 1954)
  • Otto F. Meyerhof (1884–1951) (Nobel Prize for Medicine, 1922; Professor of Chemistry from 1940 to 1951)
  • Edward C. Prescott (* 1940) (Nobel Prize in Economics, 2004; Professor of Economics from 1967 to 1971)
  • Irwin A. Rose (1926–2015) (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2004; Professor of Chemistry in the 1970s)
  • Hideki Shirakawa (* 1936) (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2000; post-doctoral student, 1976–1977)
  • Vincent du Vigneaud (1901–1978) (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1955; Assistant in Biochemistry from 1924 to 1925)

Penn alumni who have received a Nobel Prize are listed in the “Notable Alumni” section.



1. Natural sciences and medicine

2. Economy

  • Walter H. Annenberg (1908–2002) (G '1931; businessman, philanthropist, US ambassador to Great Britain from 1968 to 1974)
  • Leonard Bosack (* 1952) (BS, 1973; co-founder of Cisco Systems)
  • Warren Buffett (* 1930) (Penn student in the 1940s; degree from another institution; US investor, who is considered one of the richest men in the world)
  • Peter Lynch (* 1944) (MBA, 1968; investment fund manager and advisor at Fidelity Investments)
  • Donald J. Trump, Sr (* 1946) (BS, 1968; CEO of the Trump Organization and billionaire, 45th President of the USA)
  • Stephen A. Wynn (BS, 1963; CEO of Wynn Resorts, Limited and CEO Mirage Resorts, Inc.)
  • Klaus Zumwinkel (* 1943) (MBA, 1971; former CEO of Deutsche Post AG)
  • Sheena Iyengar (BS)

3. Politics and Justice

4. Sports

5. Others


University Development - "The Penn Compact"

The core of the university development plan is the “Penn Compact” presented by President Amy Gutmann in 2004. With this plan, Penn has set itself the goal of continuing to provide excellent performance in teaching, research and service. The "Penn Compact" consists of three main objectives:

  • The access of excellent students from all social classes should be facilitated through improved financial support.
  • Knowledge from different disciplines is to be integrated more strongly into teaching and research. This is to be done, among other things, by increasing the recruitment of internationally renowned scientists. These should hold positions in several faculties in order to promote interdisciplinary cooperation.
  • The regional and global commitment of the University of Pennsylvania is to be further strengthened. The university should actively participate in urban development by further developing the campus.

Name of the university

The University of Pennsylvania is a private university in Philadelphia. The university is often confused with Pennsylvania State University ( Penn State ). However, there is no link between these two institutions.

The University of Pennsylvania decided in 2002 to use Penn as its official abbreviation. However, the abbreviation UPenn is still often found in the English-language media .

The terms Universität von Pennsylvania , Pennsylvania-Universität and University of Pennsylvania are used in the German-language media .


The university cooperates in Germany a. a. with the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main , particularly in the subjects of economics, finance and law.


  • George E. Thomas, David B. Brownlee: Building America's First University - An Historical and Architectural Guide to the University of Pennsylvania. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia 2000. ISBN 0-8122-3515-0 (English)
  • George E. Thomas: University of Pennsylvania. The Campus Guide. Princeton Architectural Press, New York 2002. ISBN 1-56898-315-8 (English)

Web links

Commons : University of Pennsylvania  - collection of pictures, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Facts University of Pennsylvania website, accessed January 2, 2016
  2. University Almanac (English)
  3. ^ Penn - The University in the Age of B. Franklin
  4. Penn - Frequently asked questions about the university (English)
  5. ^ Paying for a Penn Education. Undergraduate Cost of Attendance, Academic Year 2015-2016. University of Pennsylvania, Student Registration & Financial Services, archived from the original on October 23, 2015 ; accessed on January 2, 2016 .
  6. Penn - University Archives (English)
  7. University Development Plan , Penn Compact (English)

Coordinates: 39 ° 57 ′ 13 "  N , 75 ° 11 ′ 34"  W.