University of Pennsylvania (Penn) is one of the members of the prestigious Ivy League, which consists of the highest ranked Universities in the US. For more than two centuries, the University of Pennsylvania has been committed to excellence in scholarship, research and service. From its highly regarded undergraduate, graduate and professional schools to its wide-ranging program of interdisciplinary research and scholarship, Penn takes pride in being a place where students and faculty can pursue knowledge without boundaries, a place where theory and practice combine to produce a better understanding of our world and ourselves. More than 2,000 students each year participate in international study programs offered in more than 70 countries around the world.
Eager to create a college to educate future generations of Philadelphians, Benjamin Franklin presented to the men and women of Philadelphia in the fall of 1749 his vision of a school to be known as the "Publick Academy of Philadelphia." Circulating his ideas in a pamphlet titled Proposals for the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania, he advocated an innovative concept of higher education, one which simultaneously taught both the ornamental knowledge of the arts and the practical skills necessary for making a living. The four colleges then in existence in the English colonies -- Harvard, William and Mary, Yale, and Princeton -- were all schools for educating the clergy, rather than preparing their students for lives of business and public service. With his characteristic zeal and intent on seeing his Academy of Philadelphia become a reality, he assembled a board of trustees and looked about for the least costly way to build a campus.
Penn has produced many alumni that have distinguished themselves in the sciences, academia, politics, the military, arts and media. Twelve heads of state or government have attended or graduated from Penn, including former U.S. president William Henry Harrison; former Prime Minister of the Philippines Cesar Virata; the first president of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe; the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah.
Penn was ranked 13th in the world by the QS World University Rankings,16th by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, and 15th by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
Penn has 12 schools: Four offer undergraduate and graduate studies and eight offer only graduate studies. Penn's highly ranked graduate programs include its Wharton School, School of Education, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Law School and School of Medicine. Penn's other notable graduate programs include its Design School and School of Dental Medicine.