University of Pennsylvania

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The University of Pennsylvania, situated near the heart of Philadelphia, is a private, co-educational institution. It is commonly referred to as “Penn” or “UPenn.”

Benjamin Franklin, the most lovable founding father of America, was instrumental in organizing and shaping the Penn from its inception. He proposed a program of study that became the nation's first modern liberal-arts curriculum. A board of trustees, from among the leading citizens of the city, was assembled and took steps to build a campus. In 1740, a group of working class Philadelphians decided to erect a great preaching hall for the evangelist George Whitefield. That building turned out to be the largest in the city. Franklin used the hall as an academy. In accordance with the donors, a charity school was opened in 1751.

The Penn gained university status when the School of Medicine began in 1765. But the university was called a college until 1779, when it became the University of the State of Pennsylvania. The campus moved to west Philadelphia in 1872. It was renamed to the University of Pennsylvania in 1791.

The University of Pennsylvania covers more than 260 acres. It consists of 12 schools, 25 research centers and institutes, and a number of cultural organizations. It enrolls nearly 10,000 undergraduate students and more than 10,000 students in graduate and professional courses.

The university offers continuing education, undergraduate and graduate levels programs in law, arts and science, dental medicine, engineering and applied science, medicine, nursing, social policy and practice, veterinary medicine, and education. There are many well-known departments, including history, economics, philosophy, computer science, biology, psychology, and anthropology. The Department of Recreation coordinates intramural sports, open recreation, adult recreation classes, sport clubs, fitness programs, and special interest programs.

The university also is famed for its Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, a small but high-quality museum in west Pennsylvania. It showcases archaeological and anthropological collections from Mesoamerica and China. One of the two statuettes, "Ram in a Thicket," is a major attraction.

The University of Pennsylvania has been named as one of the top 10 universities in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report.

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By the time photography was invented in the 1830s, the University of Pennsylvania, America's first university, was nearly a century old. University of...