Franklin drew up the constitution for the academy, and at the founding meeting of trustees on November 13, 1749, he was appointed its president. The academy opened for the secondary schooling of boys on August 13, 1751. The college was granted a charter in 1755 and graduated its first class of seven men on May 17, 1757, at its first commencement; six graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees and one with a Master of Arts.
In 1765, John Morgan and William Shippen, Jr. founded the Medical School of the College of Philadelphia, the first medical school in North America. That same year the first dormitory was built.