The University of Pennsylvania (commonly referred to as Penn or UPenn), one of the eight members of the Ivy League, is a private research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, and is considered the first university in the United States, with both undergraduate and graduate studies. Penn is also one of the Colonial Colleges.
Benjamin Franklin, Penn's founder, advocated an educational program that focused as much on practical education for commerce and public service as on the classics and theology. Penn was one of the first academic institutions to follow a multidisciplinary model pioneered by several European universities, concentrating multiple "faculties" (e.g., theology, classics, medicine) into one institution. Penn offers a broad range of academic departments, an extensive research enterprise and a number of community outreach and public service programs. Penn is particularly well known for its medical school, dental school, school of business, law school, communications school, nursing school, veterinary school, its social sciences and humanities programs, as well as its biomedical teaching and research capabilities. Its undergraduate programs are also among the most selective in the country (12.3% acceptance rate). Penn is also home to many firsts, including the first student union (Houston Hall, 1896), the first school of medicine in the United States (University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1765), the first collegiate business school (Wharton, 1881), and the first general-purpose large-scale digital computer (ENIAC, 1946).
Penn is consistently included among the top 10 research universities in the world both in terms of quality and in terms of quantity of research. In FY2009, Penn's academic research programs undertook more than $730 million in research, involving some 3,800 faculty, 1,000 postdoctoral fellows and 5,400 support staff/graduate assistants. Much of the funding is provided by the National Institutes of Health for biomedical research. Penn tops the Ivy League in annual spending, with a projected 2011 budget of $6.007 billion. In 2008, it ranked fifth among U.S. universities in fundraising, bringing in about $475.96 million in private support.
Incorporated as The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn is one of 14 founding members of the Association of American Universities.