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."