Founded by Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania was the first American school to focus on education for students outside the clergy. Originally established between 1740 and 1750, this Ivy League school was one of the original Colonial Colleges and the first formal university -- offering courses of study at both the undergraduate and graduate level -- established in the United States.
Penn, as it’s colloquially known, is famous for a series of educational firsts: creation of the country’s first medical school (1765); the first university teaching hospital (1874); the Wharton School, the world’s first school dedicated to the study of business (1881); and Houston Hall, America’s first student-union building (1896); and the conception and design of ENIAC, the world’s first digital computer (1946).
Its graceful 279-acre campus, where the university moved in the 1870s, is the country’s first example of the Collegiate Gothic style, based on a design blend of the university campuses at Oxford and Cambridge. Landmarks here include the beautifully landscaped, 24-acre Penn Park, completed in 2011; the ornate Victorian-era Fisher Fine Arts Library, designed by architect Frank Furness in 1888; and the 1887 University Museum, which focuses on rare antiquities from around the world and is surrounded by the elegant Warden Garden.
The University of Pennsylvania today is home to 165 different research centers and institutes, and has an enrollment count of almost 25,000 students.