The New International Encyclopædia/Pennsylvania, University of
PENNSYLVANIA, University of. An institution of higher learning in Philadelphia, Pa., established in 1740 as a charitable school, and raised to the grade of an academy in 1751 through the efforts of an association of citizens formed in consequence of a pamphlet published by Benjamin Franklin, entitled, “Proposals Relative to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania.” The academy, consisting of an English, a mathematical, and a Latin school, each under a master, with subordinate tutors and ushers, proved so successful that in 1753 it received a charter from the Proprietors, Thomas and Richard Penn. Two years later it had attained a standard which justified the granting of degree conferring powers, and in 1755 the institution was converted into the College and Academy of Philadelphia. During the agitated times of the wars with the French the provost, Rev. William Smith, opposed so vehemently the non-resistance policy of the Pennsylvania Legislature that he was arbitrarily thrown into prison, where he faithfully received his classes. He was subsequently sent to England to raise funds for an endowment, and there met the commissioner from King's (Columbia) College on a similar mission. Through the influence of the Archbishop of Canterbury they received a circular letter from the King, and succeeded in raising a considerable endowment for each college. On Doctor Smith's return a letter to the trustees from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas and Richard Penn, and Rev. Samuel Chandler represented that the institution was originally founded and carried on for the benefit of a mixed body of people; that at the time of making the collection its officers included representatives of various Christian denominations; and, since jealousies had arisen between parties, it was recommended to the trustees to make a fundamental declaration to prevent inconveniences of this kind. Accordingly, in 1764, the trustees bound themselves and their successors to retain the original wide plan of the institution and “to use their utmost endeavors that the same be not narrowed, nor the members of the Church of England, or those dissenting from them (in any future election to the principal offices), be put on any worse footing in this seminary than they were at the time of receiving the royal brief.” In 1779 this resolution was construed by the Legislature into a “narrowing of the foundation,” and seized as a pretext for confiscating all the rights and properties of the college, which were bestowed upon a new organization, called in the charter the “Trustees of the University of the State of Pennsylvania.” Ten years later these rights and properties were restored, and in 1791 an act was passed amalgamating the old college with the new university under its present title. In 1872 the university was removed to the present site.
The departments of the university are the college, including the School of Arts, the Towne Scientific School, and the courses for teachers; the Departments of Philosophy (Graduate School), Law, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, and Archæology; the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology; the Laboratory of Hygiene; the Veterinary Hospital; the Library, and the Flower Astronomical Observatory; Physical Education. The School of Arts offers courses in arts and science, finance and commerce, biology and music. The Towne Scientific School offers courses in architecture, science and technology, mechanical, electrical, civil; and chemical engineering, and chemistry. Candidates are admitted on passing the examination set by the college, or by the Entrance Examination Board of the Middle States and Maryland, or on the diplomas of the public high schools. Free tuition is offered through the 2 Penn scholarships, filled by the Governor of the State, 50 Philadelphia free city scholarships, 5 competitive State scholarships, a General Alumni Society scholarship, and 31 scholarships not confined to special localities. The college courses in arts and sciences, finance and commerce, and biology are planned to enable the student to complete his work in three, four, or five years, at his option, the successful completion of 60 units of work being required for graduation. Students are not permitted to take less than 12 units a year, a unit being defined as one hour's work a week for one year in lectures or recitations, or two hours' work a week in laboratory practice. In the course in arts and sciences the prescribed studies amount to 22 units and group studies to 18 units, the remaining 20 units being made up of free electives. Provision is made for a senior composite year in which eight units are credited to the work of the first year class in medicine. In the Scientific School, the architectural course covers four years. The courses in science and technology cover five years. The Graduate Department offers eight scholarships on the Harrison Foundation, entitling the holder to free tuition and an income of $100, 30 university scholarships, providing only free tuition, and 29 fellowships, with incomes ranging from $200 to $800. The Graduate Department for women offers 5 fellowships.
Of the professional schools of the university, that of medicine is best known and has always been one of the strong departments. The Dental School especially has a wide reputation in Australia and in Spanish American countries. The Flower Astronomical Observatory is situated two miles beyond the city limits, and there is a small working observatory in the college grounds. The university buildings, 29 in number, stand on Woodland Avenue, on property covering over 56 acres in the city proper, and provide dormitory accommodations for about 500 students. They include a University Hospital, with a training school and home for nurses, and the Howard Houston Hall, a students' club.
The university confers the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Laws, Music, and Science, Master of Arts and Science, Doctor of Philosophy, Medicine, Dental Surgery, and Veterinary Medicine, and the technical degrees of Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, and Chemical Engineer. In 1902 the faculty numbered 281, and the student body 2578, distributed as follows: School of Arts, 476; Scientific School, 431; Teachers' Courses, 206; Graduates, 192; Law, 339; Medicine, 475; Dentistry, 403; Veterinary Medicine, 62. The library contained 212,861 volumes. The university grounds and buildings were valued at about $4,500,000 and extensive plans were undertaken in the early part of 1903 for a group of new buildings to be erected outside the present limits of the university grounds. The first step toward this end was the announcement of a new building for the Wharton Scientific School, to cost $200,000, the gift of Joseph Wharton, the founder. The endowment of the university in 1902 was $9,000,000 and its income was $1,490,000. The heads of the university, since its beginning as a collegiate institution in 1755, have been: William Smith (1755-80); John Ewing (1780-1802); John McDowell (1807-10); John Andrews (1810-13); Frederick Beasley (1813-28); William Heathcote de Lancey (l828-33); John Ludlow (1834-53); Henry Vethake (1854-59); Daniel Raynes Goodwin (1860-68); Charles Janeway Stillé (1868-80); William Pepper (1881-94); Charles Custis Harrison (1894—).