Profile of the University of Pennsylvania
Many signers of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were trustees at the University of Pennsylvania.
Opening its doors in 1751, the roots of the university actually go back to 1740 and an evangelist named George Whitefield who created an educational trust for the establishment of a charity school for working class children. His fund began to raise a structure called the New Building on Fourth and Arch streets in Philadelphia but ran out of money and the site laid dormant for almost a decade. In 1749 Benjamin Franklin took over the trust and turned the project into an institution of higher education for the children of the common and well to do. His goal was to create a place of learning in the areas of business, government, and public service. The curriculum changed from Benjamin Franklin's progressive aspirations and the first graduating class was in 1757. The University also boasted the first medical school in America in 1765.Over the years the institution grew and moved two more times before settling in West Philadelphia in 1872. Benjamin Franklin was not the only founding father associated with the university, many signers of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were trustees or students at the school. The University is not only steeped in the history of the founding of the nation but also has continued to be a pioneer in research and education. In 1946, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC, the world's first large scale digital computer was developed at the school.Among its favorite children are a number of Nobel Prize winning researchers and the likes of famous linguist and academic Noam Chomsky, the poet Ezra Pound, and even the outlaw Doc Holliday. The school produces olympic athletes, scholars and researchers of world acclaim, and influential ideas. It's definitely a university of note. For more helpful and excellent information for your college and university search, check us out at About.com.