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.