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Penn History

This chronological overview of the integration of women, ethnic Americans and International students at Penn was compiled and edited by Michael Franklin (College, 2008) under the supervision of Mark Frazier Lloyd, August 2007

“There is a big difference between diversity and inclusion. Diversity is sort of- it’s just a snapshot. I say that there can be no case for diversity because the case is already made, it is the- it is the reality in which we live. What doesn’t exist and what takes hard work and what you have to think about is inclusion. So just simply having, you know, the existence of different groups and a multiplicity of cultures isn’t enough. And so really it is inclusion, real efforts that you make affirmatively, to include people of different backgrounds and sort of accentuating those differences. And what that means is that ultimately as you as an institution will change, and will have to change. That’s not a bad thing.”

Gilbert F. Casellas, Esq., “Towards Inclusion”

1990 The University stated “To create and maintain an environment responsive to the interests, concerns, and aspirations of a diverse minority community, the University of Pennsylvania must strengthen and expand programs which provide intellectual support to minority faculty and students.” Examples included the Afro-American Studies Program, DuBois College House, Center for the Study of Black Literature and Culture, Albert M. Greenfield Intercultural Center, the PRIME Program.
1992 The 1992 “Report on Minority Permanence at the University of Pennsylvania” remarked,

Since September 1979 there has been a 69% increase in offers of admission to minorities and a 68% increase in the number of matriculates….It is important to note that minority recruitment is a priority concern not only of this office [of Minority Recruitment] but of the entire admissions staff….Hispanic recruitment is receiving special emphasis this year, in an effort to build Penn’s appeal to this fastest-growing minority group. In addition to travel and personalized recruitment, the staff is working with current Penn undergraduates to develop a network of Hispanic undergraduate student recruiters….The office has also initiated an annual Latino Pre-Applicant program.

The report discussed the wide range of student organizations on campus promoting diversity at the undergraduate and graduate levels:

Undergraduate level:

  • ACELA: Asociacion Cultural de Estudiantes Latino Americanos
  • BSL: Black Student League
  • CASA: Caribbean American Student Association
  • CSA: Chinese Student Association
  • JCS: Japan Culture Society
  • KCS: Korean Cultural Society
  • MEChA: El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (established 1972 at Penn)
  • PPA: Penn Philippine Association
  • PVC: Penn Vietnamese Club
  • SAS: South Asia Society

Graduate level:

  • The Minority Graduate and Professional Students Association
  • Society of Black Engineers
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
  • Black MBA Association
  • Wharton Latin American Student Association
  • Asian American Association of the Wharton School
  • Black Law Students Union
  • Student National Medical Association
  • Organization of Minority Veterinary Medical Students
  • Graduate School of Education Multicultural Student Association
  • Hispanos Unidos of the School of Social Work
  • National Association of Black Social Workers-University of Pennsylvania Chapter

Scholarships/Fellowships targeting minorities include:

  • The Minority Scholars Initiative
  • The Andrew W. Mellon Minority Undergraduate Scholars Program
  • The William Penn Scholars Initiative in Mathematics, Science and Engineering
  • The Penn Historically Black College Undergraduate Biomedical Initiative, or, the Lincoln University NSF Initiative
  • Fontaine Fellowship Program (Note: named for William Thomas Valeria Fontaine. Since 1968 tuition awards and stipends have been provided for around 215 minority men and women)
  • Howard Mitchell Fellowship Program

Programs aimed at minority high school students in the Philadelphia region:

  • The Philadelphia Regional Minority Student Scholars Invitational
  • The Philadelphia Junior High School Program

Additional pre-college programs for minorities include:

  • LEAD
  • Minority High School Student Research Apprentice Program
  • Upward Bound and Veterans Upward Bound
  • National Youth Sports Program (Penn is the annual host)
  • Penn participates in the American Foundation for Negro Affairs (AFNA) program
  • William Penn Summer Science Enrichment Program
  • Penn Partners Program
  • Discovery Program of CGS

The report details a multitude of resources available to minority students at Penn with the goal of creating a permanent presence of diversity on campus. From pre-college programs to strengthening the West Philadelphia community, Penn highlights their past success and future goals, demonstrating a sustained commitment to foster a welcoming University for students from all backgrounds.

1993 University President Sheldon Hackney presented “Minority Permanence at the University of Pennsylvania: A Retrospective Analysis.”

Dr. Claire Muriel Mintzer Fagin, R.N., Ph.D., FAAN (Hon. LL.D.) was appointed, as the first woman, to a one year term as Interim President and Chief Executive of the University of Pennsylvania.

1994 In December 1993 Judith Seitz Rodin (A.B., 1966), M.A., Ph.D., was elected the seventh President and Chief Executive of the University of Pennsylvania; the first woman to serve as President of an Ivy League institution.
1996 A group of students formed Penn MASALA, the first and world-famous Hindi a capella group.
1997 In January 1997, Jon M. Huntsman (Wharton ’59), founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Huntsman Chemical Corporation, endowed the Huntsman Program. “Globalization is the single most dramatic change factor affecting business….I am proud to endow a program that is the first to fully integrate comprehensive international studies into a business curriculum in order to prepare graduates to work anywhere.”

The Huntsman Program is an integrated undergraduate program in business, language and liberal arts of the School of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School.

2004 The University of Pennsylvania announced Dr. Amy Gutmann as the new University President. Dr. Gutmann was the first woman to succeed a fellow female president at an Ivy League school.