Founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania has been responsible for many educational and scientific innovations: it was America’s first university, the home of the first U.S. schools of medicine and business, and the birthplace of the first electronic computer (ENIAC). In recent years, an extensive building and landscaping campaign has resulted in a beautiful, pedestrian-oriented campus that offers easy movement between academic and residential buildings and among the twelve schools of the University. With a faculty of more than 4,000 and about 20,000 students from 100 nations, Penn is today one of the world’s major research universities.
The University of Pennsylvania has easy access to the cultural and historical landmarks of the nation’s fifth largest city. It is a short distance from the homes of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which attracts world-class dancers, theater, jazz, and other musical performances. Other colleges and universities within the metropolitan area include Swarthmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Villanova, Drexel, Temple, La Salle, and St. Joseph’s. An important financial and commercial center, the city is served by frequent Amtrak trains between New York (90 minutes) and Washington, D.C. (two hours). Philadelphia International Airport, a major hub for international and domestic destinations, is approximately fifteen minutes by car or rail from the campus.