Diversity Timeline

diversity timeline


Benjamin Franklin and Penn's first Trustees took control of the Charity School trust and completed construction of the "New Building" at Fourth and Arch Streets.


The Academy of Philadelphia and the Charity School both opened on the Fourth and Arch Streets campus.


The Trustees appointed Frances Holwell the first Mistress of Girls in the Charity School and opened the school to girls. 212 years later, during the University's Homecoming Weekend of October 1965, the Trustees dedicated Holwell House, one of the four houses in the Robert C. Hill Residence Hall, in her honor. Ms. Holwell served the School for seven years, concluding her work in 1760.


The College was chartered.

Two Mohawk Indian brothers, Jonathan and Philip Gayienquitioga, attended the Academy of Philadelphia. They are the first Native Americans to attend what became the University of Pennsylvania and were joined in 1756 by another Indian, John Montour, who studied English.


The School of Medicine was founded.


At the University's annual commencement, four graduating students debated the question of "A Forensic Dispute on the Question, whether keeping Slaves be lawful." It was the first student debate to discuss the moral issues surrounding African slaves. Twelve years later a similar debate was held at Harvard.


Moses Levy, said to be the first Jewish student, enrolled at Penn. In 1802 he was elected the first Jewish trustee of the University, and served through 1826.


The Revolutionary government of Pennsylvania chartered the University.


The College and School of Medicine moved to a new campus on the west side of Ninth Street, between Market and Chestnut Streets. The Academy and Charity School remained in the old buildings at Fourth and Arch Streets.


A Cuban, Joseph M. Urquiola, graduated with an M.D., the first degree awarded to a Latino.


First student from Venezuela, Auxencio Maria Pena, graduated from the Medical School.


Robert Daniel Ross, a Cherokee, became the first native-American to earn a Penn medical degree.


The Law School was founded.

Rev. Dr. Morris Jacob Raphall delivered a lecture on "The Poetry of the Hebrews" in the hall of the University of Pennsylvania on 9th St. above Chestnut


The School of Mines, Arts, and Manufactures - predecessor to the School of Engineering and Applied Science - was founded.


Marion Bedlock was named a Teacher of the Female Charity School and thereby joined her older sister Josephine on the faculty of the Charity School. Like her sister, Marion continued on the faculty until the Trustees closed the School in 1877.


The Academy was closed and the Charity School alone continued at the old Fourth and Arch Streets campus.


The College and the Schools of Medicine, Law, Engineering, and Auxiliary Medicine moved to the new West Philadelphia campus.


gertrude klein peirce and anna lockhart flanigenGertrude Klein Peirce and Anna Lockhart Flanigen enrolled in the Towne Scientific School, known today as the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, as special students. They were the first women permitted to enroll in college courses at Penn, but they were not admitted in degree granting programs.


A Department of Music was created and accepted six women as part of a two-year program.


Tosni ImadateThe first African-American students enrolled at Penn: William Adger, James Brister, Nathan Mossell.

The first Japanese student, Tosni Imadate, graduated from the College.


The first female students admitted into degree programs were Mary Alice Bennett, M.D. and Anna H. Johnson, to the School of Auxiliary Medicine. Bennett received a degree of Doctor of Philosophy in June, becoming the first woman to receive a degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

A Certificate of Proficiency in Science was awarded to Mary Thorn Lewis.


The Wharton School was founded.

The Law School accepted its first female student, Caroline Burnham Kilgore.

James Brister graduated from the Dental School, the first African American to earn a degree from Penn.


Nathan Francis Mossell graduated from Penn with a Doctor of Medicine after completing his undergraduate work at Lincoln University. He is the first African American admitted to the medical school and the first to graduate.

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences was founded.


William Adger earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and is the first African American to graduate from the College. Adger planned a career in the ministry and was a student in the Divinity School of the Episcopal Church, Philadelphia. Unfortunately he died at a young age in 1885.


The School of Veterinary Medicine was founded.


Rev. Sabato Morais, Minister of the Congregation Mickvéh Israel, Philadelphia, founder and President of the Jewish Theological Seminar of America at New York City received an honorary LL.D. He was the first Jewish recipient of an honorary degree.


Elizabeth Weston, a Native American, graduated in the first class of the Hospital Training School for Nurses


Ida Elizabeth (Bowser) Asbury, with ancestral ties to African Americans, Indians, the English and Scottish, was the first African American female to graduate from Penn. Asbury earned a Certificate of Proficiency in Music as a violinist. She taught music after graduating and married John Cornelius Asbury, a politician and member of the Pennsylvania State Assembly.


The nation's first Newman Club was formed at Penn by Timothy L. Harrington, M.D. and a group of Catholic students. According to a history by one of the earliest members, Timothy L. Harrington, the Club's initial meeting took place in the rooms of Michael O'Brien and Peter O'Donnell, students of the medical and dental school, respectively. Also present was Rev. Dr. P.J. Garvey, Rector of St. James Catholic Church in West Philadelphia, a popular church for Penn students to attend mass.


Fuji Tsukamoto enrolled in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the first Asian American woman to matriculate at Penn.


The Wharton School appointed W. E. B. DuBois "Assistant in Sociology" while he conducted research and wrote on "the social condition of the colored People of the Seventh Ward of Philadelphia." The Philadelphia Negro, a well-known publication of his findings, was published in 1899. After spending a year at Penn, DuBois left for Atlanta University where he taught economics, history and sociology from 1897 to 1909. He became famous, on a national level, for serving as a co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (1909).

Lewis Baxter Moore earned the first Ph.D. awarded to an African American at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to attending Penn, Moore was awarded his A.B. and A.M. degrees from Fisk University. At Penn Moore studied the Classics and was one of five African Americans to have earned a Doctor of Philosophy Degree from any university.


The first Chinese student, Moon Hung Chaun, D.D.S graduated from Penn.


At the University's annual commencement, an honorary LL.D. was presented to both the President of Mexico, Porfirio Díaz, and the Minister of China, Ting-fang Wu.


An accomplished student, Julian Francis Abele, graduated with a degree in Architecture. He was the first African American graduate of the Graduate School of Fine Arts and a distinguished Philadelphia architectural designer.


The College Courses for Teachers (CCT) was founded. The CCT was the predecessor to the College of General Studies (CGS) and its courses led to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science.


The Christian Association (CA) opened a summer camp for boys in Greenlane, PA, continuing the community-oriented service work started in 1898. Penn students served as counselors and the camp required a 50/50 white/non-white ratio. This camp and its corresponding camp for girls (started in '25), prospered well into the 1960 when both were separated from the CA and placed under control of the Diversified Community Services (DCS). The DCS, being religiously unaffiliated, mad the camp eligible for funding from the United Way.


The development of an international house at Penn started with a chance meeting between Dr. A. Waldo Stevenson and a group of Chinese students. After befriending the students, Stevenson was informed of the difficulties international students regularly face, namely, their isolation on campus. In Dr. Stevenson's apartment, and later Houston Hall, the group met regularly to discuss issues affecting international students at Penn.

John Baxter Taylor, Jr. graduated from the Vet School and at the summer Olympics in London was the first African American to win a gold medal. Part of the winning and world record setting 1,600 meter relay team, his teammates included Nathaniel Cartmell, Melvin Sheppard and William Hamilton. A testament to his character, the Vet School Class of 1908 yearbook stated "We of the Class of 1908 are proud and can boast of having one of the greatest athletes the world has ever known."


George Nitzsche, Penn's first director of publicity, created a recruiting brochure, translated into Spanish. Approximately 10,000 copies circulated throughout Latin America over the next two years. One newspaper article called Nitzsche, "a foster father to students from foreign countries."

The Cosmopolitan Club started the year off in a new house on 3419 Walnut St. They held an opening 'smoker,' with students from 40 nations represented, as they were formally welcomed to the University. Vice Provost Edgar F. Smith delivered a speech on the University of Pennsylvania as he sought to "bring together students of different countries and break down misunderstandings existing between them."


The School of Education was founded and the first to offer a modern, full-time, four-year, undergraduate, professional degree to women. In the same year, the School of Medicine and the School of Dental Medicine admitted women for the first time.


George E. Nitzsche wrote, "The medical school, from its inception has always attracted students from many parts of the world."


The Christian Association (CA) of the University of Pennsylvania purchased property at 3905 Spruce Street from the heirs of Joseph Potts. The house opened January 1, 1918, as a home for foreign students.


Philadelphia's International Students House opened.

As captain of the cross country team Willis Nelson Cummings was the first African American captain of an Ivy League sports team. The following year Cummings graduated from the dental school ranked sixth in his class of 259 students.

The Gamma Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority was established at Penn, the first African American sorority.

Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors of Science in Education. Mrs. Alexander continued her education at Penn earning a Ph.D. in Economics (1918) and J.D. from the Law School (1927). Mrs. Alexander was one of the first two African American women in the nation to receive a Ph.D. and the first to do so in economics. At Penn Law she was the first African American woman to graduate and the first admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar.


The Graduate School of Medicine was founded.


The School of Fine Arts was established.

Psi chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha African American fraternity founded.

Raymond Pace Alexander graduated from the Wharton School and later Harvard Law School. Alexander, a renowned Philadelphia lawyer, argued a number of cases concerning racial discrimination and was one of the more distinguished African American alumni.


The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences established a graduate level course in business, leading to the Master of Business Administration degree.


After graduating from Penn, Howard Hamilton Mackey (B. Arch '24, M. Arch '37), trained 65% of all African American architects in North America as a professor of architecture at Howard University for 50 years.

The Philadelphia Branch of the United Synagogue of America organized the Jewish Students' Association at Penn, located at the "Jewish Students' House" 3613 Locust Street. The house served as a dormitory, Kosherdining room and a social center for Jewish students.


The Christian Association started a summer camp for girls requiring a 50/50 distrubution of white and non-white students.


The 22nd Annual Conference of the Chinese Students Alliance (Eastern Section) in the USA was held at Penn on September 9-14, 1926.


Elmer T. Thompson, Director of International House, wrote an introduction and welcome for the "International Students House News." In the brochure were club listings for Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, German and South American students. Events throughout the year included lectures hosted by various groups on their respective cultures. For example: "Social and Economic Aspects of South America," and "German Night." The South American Students Club wrote, "The dogma of our South American Students Club shall be to offer the generous hand of friendship to all the peoples of the earth, convinced that if it is really true that order and internal peace repose on the truth 'that hatred is barren and that only love is fertile,' this truth acquires the character and firmness of a dogma in international relations."

The Graduate School of the University established research work in Latin-American History.


"The American Indian Club" sponsored activities with the International House, including "American Indian Nite" held at Houston Hall in January.


The University hosted a group of Argentineans sent to promote cultural relations between Argentina and North America. During the visit Penn and the Scientific Society of Argentina exchanged various publications, noted as "a distinctly forward step toward the establishment of closer intellectual" ties between countries.


At the University's annual commencement, an honorary LL.D was presented to the President-elect of Brazil, Julio Prestes. "Dr. Prestes received what was one of the greatest ovations ever accorded the recipient of an honorary degree of Pennsylvania, providing evidence not only of the high esteem which citizens of this country hold for Latin-America's distinguished leaders but also their warm friendship toward the millions of Latin-Americans which these distinguished leaders have the honor to represent."


The College of Liberal Arts for Women was founded and admitted female students only. For the first time in Penn's history, women were offered a full-time, four-year, liberal arts, undergraduate degree program.


The School of Education established a Department of Nursing Education and offered graduates of the diploma schools of nursing an undergraduate, professional degree in education. This advanced course was designed to prepare graduate nurses for positions in hospitals, schools of nursing, and public health nursing agencies. The establishment of the Department of Nursing Education in the School of Education is generally regarded as the founding of the modern School of Nursing at Penn.


Czechoslovakian President Eduard Benes inducted George E. Nitzsche as a member of the Czechoslovakian National Order of the White Lion. He was recognized for securing around twenty-five scholarships for Czechoslovakian students in the Untied States shortly after World War I. This was not the first time Nitzsche had been honored internationally. He was "widely known abroad," and given the title of Chevalier of the Crown of Italy and the Silver Cultural Medal. Nitzsche was the first American presented with the Silver Cultural Medal from Italy.


After paying for his medical education, the Christian Association continued to support Dr. Victor Rambo as he worked to eliminate blindness in India through eye surgery.

The Louis Marshall Society was founded and described in the men's undergraduate yearbook for 1938 as "the religious and cultural organization of the Jewish students at the University. The Society is an outgrowth of the former Jewish Students' Association."


Educators from nine or ten Latin-American countries visited Penn to study the city's educational system. The guests were honored at the weekly luncheon of the Pan-American Association at Penn, and attended the Philadelphia Workshop on Teacher-Education sponsored by the Board of Education, Temple and Penn.


Penn was highlighted in a Philadelphia newspaper for teaching four African languages: Moroccan Arabic, Fanti, Swahili and Hausa by native Africans Abdul Kader Larbi, Francis Nkrumah, Joseph Lengo, Abdu Hassan. The program, in light of a wartime need for enhanced knowledge on Africa, was headed by the newly created Institute of African Studies and financed by the American Council of Learned Societies. Penn students were taught at the University Museum on 33rd and Spruce with the goal of eventually being able to instruct others. In addition to African languages, Dean of the College Dr. John M. Fogg, Jr. examined what Africans ate, Dr. Herbert Liebesny focused on colonial law and Dr. Edwin R. Helwig compiled data on animal life. "It's a continent-wide research effort, in the spirit of these days of global war" said Dr. George C. Vallant, director of the museum. Dr. Wieschhoff, curator of the African section of the museum and one of the founders of the Institute of African Studies noted Americans were far behind Germany with respect to understanding African language and culture. On the same topic, but from a separate article, Dr. Zellig Harris remarked, "Penn is the only place in the country where serious teaching of African studies is available."


The International Student House separated from the Christian Association, re-named the International House of Philadelphia; it was the first of its kind in the United States and a model for future institutions around the country.

President Dr. Thomas S. Gates announced the creation of a committee on African Studies, headed by Dean of the College and Associate Professor of Botany Dr. John M. Fogg, Jr. The committee was to expand on work already completed in the field by various divisions within the University.


The Hillel Foundation is established on 3613 Locust St. to succeed the Louis Marshall Society as the Jewish student organization at Penn.


Penn created the South Asia Regional Studies Department. A news release announced a $1 million grant from the Ford Foundation and stated "The program at Pennsylvania was the first language and area program inthe United States dealing with South Asia or any part of south Asia, according to authorities at the University. Further, the program probably has attracted a greater number of students and has conferred more degrees for graduate study than any other program in America which is concerned solely with the South Asia area."


The University conferred an honorary LL.D. to Ralph Bunche at the annual Commencement ceremony. Bunche was the first African American to receive an honorary degree from Penn.


In July the basic and advanced degree programs in nursing combined to form the modern School of Nursing and the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education consolidated under the new School.


Martin Luther King, Jr. audited classes in philosophy at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.


Dean of Women Laura Bornholdt was invited by Kwame Nkrumah, Prime Minister of Ghana, as one of two American delegates to tour the nation over winter break and offer advice on the troubled educational system. Representatives toured from England, Sierra Leone and the Soviet Union; all were faced with resolving three pressing questions:

  • Should the two colleges of Ghana, the University of Legon and the Kumasi School of Technology sever ties with the University of London?
  • How can the increasing need for engineers be best supplied through the Ghanaian educational system?
  • How can Ghana's terrific demand for teachers be met?


Over the summer Penn held a six week orientation for 100 African students attending college on the east coast. The program was sponsored by the International Co-operation Administration, Department of State, African American Institute, African Scholarship Program of 141 colleges and universities, the United Negro College Fund and other private individuals.


Connaissance and the Latin American Graduate Student Association held "Connaissance 1962: Spotlighting Latin America," a six-week series of lectures, films and debates.


For the first time, tenure was granted to an African American faculty member, Dr. William Thomas Valeria Fontaine Appointed as an Assistant Professor in Philosophy in 1949, Dr. Fontaine was the first fully-affiliated African American faculty member before receiving tenure from the University.

President Gaylord P. Harnwell called on students to end religious discrimination when selecting fraternity members.
The Middle Atlantic Province National Newman Club Federation Convention was held in Philadphia.


Penn adopted an "Admissions Policy for the Undergraduate Schools of the University of Pennsylvania," chaired by Dan M. McGill, thereby committing the University for the first time to increased recruitment, retention, and promotion of minority students, faculty, administrators, and Trustees.


Judge A. Leon Higginbotham was elected the first African American trustee.

To attract minority students the Admissions Office hired the first minority recruiter at Penn. By 1972 an official Minority Recruitment Program was created

Theodore Hershberg was selected to teach "The Negro in America," the History Department's first course in African American History. Previously Hershberg had taught "Controversial Topics in Negro History" as an experimental seminar program.
Penn recognized the Society of African and Afro-American Students (S.A.A.S) as an accredited student organization, stating "The University consistently encourages the exchange of ideas not only within the formal curriculum but in a variety of situations outside it. It has long been its practice to make accommodations available, whenever possible, for discussions of intellectual, social or political subjects of mutual interest."


During the spring semester the History Departments offered a new course: "Black History."

The International Affairs Association held a "National Conference on Student Political Power" at Penn with 25 student leaders from 14 countries. The goal of the conference was to attempt "to asses the nature and direction of student unrest throughout the world."

The College stated in a 'Report of The Committee on the Goals of Higher Education on Programs for Black Students and Afro-American Studies,' "The College already has several 'area studies' programs in operation, such as Latin American Studies, American Civilization, Oriental Studies and South Asian Regional Studies. We recommend that a major program in Afro-American Studies be offered as soon as possible, specifically, in time for students in the class of 1972 to utilize it."


John Wideman (B.A. 1963), Penn graduate and Associate Professor of English, was appointed chairman of the Black Studies Committee and Director of the Afro-American Studies Program.


A news release announced, "University of Pennsylvania president Martin Meyerson names James H. Robinson to the newly created position of Equal Opportunity Administrator at the University….Mr. Robinson will be responsible for preparing and maintaining a University Affirmative Action Plan to ensure equality for women and for members of minority groups. He will also assist various departments in preparing Affirmative Action Plans of their own, and will monitor the implementation and execution of the departmental plans as well as the overall University Affirmative Action Plan."
The Daily Pennsylvanian reported the Sphinx Society will become co-ed.

A "Garden of Trees" was planted at Penn's Hillel House, the first Hillel Foundation "to respond to the needs of Israel for land reclamation, reforestation, beautification and protection around the city of Jerusalem".


DuBois College House opened as an experimental living-learning program for African American students at the same time the Afro-American Studies Program began.

The Minority Recruitment Program was officially recognized.
The student group MEChA was formed at Penn: El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan. MEChA focused on the recruitment and retention of Mexican-American students as well as providing cultural events throughout the year.


In a statement on Support Services for Minority Students at Penn, "…Nevertheless, the principal purpose of providing supportive services should be to provide expanded educational opportunity for disadvantaged students, and the principal goal of any program ought to be to maximize retention and graduation and to minimize attrition of those students who are admitted to the University."


A Culture Studies Program was created with a variety of classes focused on India; similar courses on Germany and China were to follow.

The Onyx Senior Honor Society was created to honor African American members of the Senior Class. The Society was (and is) co-ed, with nine women represented out of the first twenty-four members.


Beatrice Smith completes the Reserve Officers Training Corps Program (ROTC) at Penn. She was the first African American to complete the program at Penn and out of the Ivy League schools the second to receive a commission through Army ROTC.


Judge A. Leon Higginbotham was elected a trustee for life

Sheryl George-McAlpine founded the United Minority Council.


Throughout the 1980s the Christian Association (CA) organized "Central America Week at Penn." The CA sought to honor a missionary, Oscar Romero, killed in El Salvador.

The Afro-American Studies program held their 6th annual spring symposium addressing "New Black Middle Class Prospects" at the International House. Speakers included Toni Morrison, Frank Yerby and Harvard Professor Martin Kilson.


Edwin Meese, presidential counselor, and Wharton School Dean Russell E. Palmer were honored in Washington, DC at a ceremony promoting the LEAD Program. LEAD is described as "a pioneering attempt to strengthen minority enrollment in the nation's leading business schools." In the program, talented minority high school students are exposed to business curricula during the summer, to encourage them to pursue business education at the collegiate level. Penn was the first business school to participate and was soon followed by Northwestern, University of Michigan, Columbia, University of Maryland, University of Virginia, and the University of California at Los Angeles.

Wharton hosted a conference on how to increase private enterprise in Africa. "The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School will host the first known conference of U.S. and African academic, business and government figures designed to promote the private sector, and especially small business development, in Africa." A number of participants attend, including: US Congressman William Gray III; His Excellency Edem Kojo, former secretary general of the Organization of African Unity; Wila d. Mung' Omba, president of the African Development Bank; His Excellency Siteke Mwale, special assistant to the President of Zambia for regional cooperation; and His Excellency Marcelle Cross, Minister for International Cooperation, Guinea. "The Symposium on Economic Conditions and Developments in Africa, coordinated by Wharton's Entrepreneurial Center, will explore bilateral policy development by the U.S. and African states to promote strong economic partnerships and strategies consistent with the African conditions, according to Professor of Management Edward Shils, director of the Entrepreneurial Center. The conference is an activity of the new Wharton-Africa Entrepreneurial Project, directed by A. Romeo Horton and Edward Willis. Horton, a senior consultant at Wharton, is former Liberian secretary of commerce, and former president and founder of the Bank of Liberia. Willis, a lecturer in entrepreneurial management at Wharton, is currently a State Department consultant on small and medium sized business development in Africa."


The Albert M. Greenfield Intercultural Center opened to promote an appreciation of minority contributions to American society and issues concerning minority groups on campus.


The Harnwell House Latin American Residential Program was started with the goal of "exploring and celebrating Latin American Cultures. LARP fosters an appreciation for Latin American languages, politics, forms of cultural expression, and most importantly a sense of community."

President F. Sheldon Hackney called for donations to an organization started by former Penn professor and 1969 Nobel-prize nominee in literature, Ezekiel Mphalele, the Council for Black Education and Research. The Council was described as,

  • a non-formal educational organization operated by black educators in the segregated townships of South Africa....Zeke Mphalele has relinquished the secure life of a tenured professor at Penn and returned into the jaws of apartheid to try to overcome the South African regime's efforts to force ignorance upon blacks. We at Penn, who were also blessed with the chance to call Martin Luther King one of our own when he attended classes here, whole-heartedly support Mphalele's mission of non-violence and understanding.


Penn released a report on Minority Permanence and stated, "In 1978, when undergraduate minority recruitment efforts were intensified, the number of minority students in the entering freshman class was 11.4%. Today it stands at 19.5%, [a] 71% percent increase in less than a decade. During this same period, applications from minority students have jumped from 931 to 2,818, and the number of minority students who are admitted has more than doubled from 524 to 1,140."

The report continued to outline a number of important programs established to encourage minority achievement, from partnerships with West Philadelphia schools to the following

  • PENNCAP: University of Pennsylvania Commonwealth Achievement Program, it provides academic counseling, tutorial and referral services to 150 disadvantaged students who are residents of the Commonwealth of PA. The program has a successful history with high retention and graduation rates.
  • PRIME Program: starting in 8th grade students are offered special courses in reading, math and other subjects along with field trips and various summer opportunities. Additionally all are given college and career counseling. The report notes PRIME has over 3,000 students enrolled.
  • Upward Bound: started in 1979, Upward Bound annually offers 90 high school students or veterans the chance to strengthen their academic skills and learn about the college experience through a campus program. The program has experienced success, evident in high test scores and graduation rates.
  • Furthermore, the report mentions President Hackney's decision to include race as the subject of a University-wide dialogue through his President's Forum, a series of lectures and workshops entitled "Color lines: The Enduring Significance of Race."

Notable minority staff employed as of 1987:

  • Houston A. Baker, Jr., Albert M. Greenfield Professor: a nationally acclaimed poet, historian, and critic of Afro-American culture. Dr. Baker was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 1979 and has also received fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship for Minority Scholars, and the National Humanities Center.
  • Helen, O. Dickens, M.D., the School of Medicine's associate dean of minority affairs and professor of medicine in obstetrics and gynecology, has been honored for her decades of teaching and research with honorary doctorates from both the Medical College of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania. In recent years, Dr. Dickens has focused her work on pregnant teenagers and the issues that they and their medical providers must confront.
  • Howard E. Mitchell, UPS Professor of Human Resources and Management in the Wharton School, has devoted much of his scholarly attention in recent years to the study of the management of human resources in urban transportation. Dr. Mitchell was appointed Scholar-in-Residence at the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center in Bellagio, Italy in 1980.


The Black Wharton Undergraduate Association held its first forum on the 'Political Ramifications of Black Economic Development' (March 22). The forum was designed to facilitate a discussion on issues facing the African American community and African American business professionals.


The University stated "To create and maintain an environment responsive to the interests, concerns, and aspirations of a diverse minority community, the University of Pennsylvania must strengthen and expand programs which provide intellectual support to minority faculty and students." Examples included the Afro-American Studies Program, DuBois College House, Center for the Study of Black Literature and Culture, Albert M. Greenfield Intercultural Center, the PRIME Program.


The 1992 "Report on Minority Permanence at the University of Pennsylvania" remarked,

  • "Since September 1979 there has been a 69% increase in offers of admission to minorities and a 68% increase in the number of matriculates….It is important to note that minority recruitment is a priority concern not only of this office [of Minority Recruitment] but of the entire admissions staff….Hispanic recruitment is receiving special emphasis this year, in an effort to build Penn's appeal to this fastest-growing minority group. In addition to travel and personalized recruitment, the staff is working with current Penn undergraduates to develop a network of Hispanic undergraduate student recruiters….The office has also initiated an annual Latino Pre-Applicant program."

The report discussed the wide range of student organizations on campus promoting diversity at the undergraduate and graduate levels:

Undergraduate level:

  • ACELA: Asociacion Cultural de Estudiantes Latino Americanos
  • BSL: Black Student League
  • CASA: Caribbean American Student Association
  • CSA: Chinese Student Association
  • JCS: Japan Culture Society
  • KCS: Korean Cultural Society
  • MEChA: El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (established 1972 at Penn)
  • PPA: Penn Philippine Association
  • PVC: Penn Vietnamese Club
  • SAS: South Asia Society

Graduate level:

  • The Minority Graduate and Professional Students Association
  • Society of Black Engineers
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
  • Black MBA Association, Wharton Latin American Student Association
  • Asian American Association of the Wharton School
  • Black Law Students Union, Student National Medical Association
  • Organization of Minority Veterinary Medical Students
  • Graduate School of Education Multicultural Student Association
  • Hispanos Unidos of the School of Social Work
  • National Association of Black Social Workers-University of Pennsylvania Chapter
  • Scholarships/Fellowships targeting minorities include:
  • The Minority Scholars Initiative
  • The Andrew W. Mellon Minority Undergraduate Scholars Program
  • The William Penn Scholars Initiative in Mathematics, Science and Engineering
  • The Penn Historically Black College Undergraduate Biomedical Initiative, or, the Lincoln University NSF Initiative
  • Fontaine Fellowship Program (Note: named for William Thomas Valeria Fontaine. Since 1968 tuition awards and stipends have been provided for around 215 minority men and women)
  • Howard Mitchell Fellowship Program
  • Programs aimed at minority high school students in the Philadelphia region:
  • The Philadelphia Regional Minority Student Scholars Invitational
  • The Philadelphia Junior High School Program

Additional pre-college programs for minorities include:

  • LEAD
  • Minority High School Student Research Apprentice Program
  • Upward Bound and Veterans Upward Bound
  • National Youth Sports Program (Penn is the annual host)
  • Penn participates in the American Foundation for Negro Affairs (AFNA) program
  • William Penn Summer Science Enrichment Program
  • Penn Partners Program
  • Discovery Program of CGS.

The report details a multitude of resources available to minority students at Penn with the goal of creating a permanent presence of diversity on campus. From pre-college programs to strengthening the West Philadelphia community, Penn highlights their past success and future goals, demonstrating a sustained commitment to foster a welcoming University for students from all backgrounds.


University President Sheldon Hackney presented "Minority Permanence at the University of Pennsylvania: A Retrospective Analysis."

Dr. Claire Muriel Mintzer Fagin, R.N., Ph.D., FAAN (Hon. LL.D.) was appointed, as the first woman, to a one year term as Interim President and Chief Executive of the University of Pennsylvania.


In December 1993 Judith Seitz Rodin (A.B., 1966), M.A., Ph.D., was elected the seventh President and Chief Executive of the University of Pennsylvania; the first woman to serve as President of an Ivy League institution.


A group of students formed Penn MASALA, the first and world-famous Hindi a capella group.


In January 1997, Jon M. Huntsman (Wharton '59), founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Huntsman Chemical Corporation, endowed the Huntsman Program. "Globalization is the single most dramatic change factor affecting business….I am proud to endow a program that is the first to fully integrate comprehensive international studies into a business curriculum in order to prepare graduates to work anywhere."

The Huntsman Program is an integrated undergraduate program in business, language and liberal arts of the School of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School.


The University of Pennsylvania announced Dr. Amy Gutmann as the new University President. Dr. Gutmann was the first woman to succeed a fellow female president at an Ivy League school.