Penn was founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin and became the nation's first university when the School of Medicine opened in 1765. Since then, Penn has grown in size and now includes four undergraduate schools and twelve graduate schools providing excellent opportunities for advanced education.
It is located west of the downtown area of Philadelphia on a unified 260-acre campus and is conveniently located close to New York City and Washington, DC, as well as the New Jersey beaches, the Pocono Mountains, and the Chesapeake Bay.
Aside from on-campus apartment buildings, students are able to find affordable living accommodations in several areas surrounding the University. Many students choose to live nearby the University in West Philadelphia or in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood of Center City Philadelphia, both of which are within walking distance of Penn. The University provides shuttle services throughout these neighborhoods in the evening and late at night. Students also reside in many other neighborhoods throughout the city, including Old City, Queen Village, Bella Vista, Society Hill, and the Art Museum area, all of which are accessible by public transportation with varying degrees of convenience.
Information on off-campus housing, including more detailed descriptions of Philadelphia's neighborhoods, can be found at http://www.business-services.upenn.edu/offcampusliving/. For information regarding on-campus graduate housing, visit http://www.business-services.upenn.edu/housing.
Cultural Resources on the Penn Campus
The Annenberg Center is comprised of three theaters that are home to national, local, and student performing arts groups.
The Institute of Contemporary Art presents a stimulating schedule of changing exhibitions, performances of new music and dance, lectures, films, symposia, and tours.
The Morris Arboretum is an interdisciplinary center of the University and is home to a rare collection of trees and shrubs, along with classrooms, laboratories, greenhouses, a herbarium, and a library all situated on 166 acres in the Chestnut Hill area of Philadelphia, seven miles northeast of the main campus.
The University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology houses galleries that feature materials from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, Asia, and the Greco-Roman Civilizations. Artifacts from native peoples in North and South America, Africa, and Polynesia are also on display.
Opened in 2002, the Pottruck Health and Fitness Center contains a climbing wall, multipurpose rooms for dance, martial arts and aerobic activities, a golf simulator, a swimming pool, three basketball courts, a spinning room and a Pro Shop and Jammin' juice bar. Other facilities on campus include indoor and outdoor tennis courts, squash courts, various athletic fields, and the Class of 1923 Ice Rink. Graduate students are welcome to participate in the many club sports programs that Penn offers.
For more information on recreation at Penn, see the Recreation website.
Points of Interest
The City of Philadelphia is a historic shrine, a great cultural center, and a metropolis that is undergoing dynamic growth. Among the City's most famous institutions, are the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Philadelphia Art Museum, and the Barnes Museum, which houses one of the largest collections of impressionist paintings in the world. Philadelphia is the home of several professional sports teams. There are theaters, museums, parks, a planetarium, and the Philadelphia Zoo (the nation's oldest) to accommodate everyone's interests. Fairmount Park, the largest intercity park in the U.S., provides opportunities for rowing, inline skating, and bicycling as well as jogging and nature trails.