Talk:University of Pennsylvania/Archive 1

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"Penn is internationally known as one of the world's most prestigious universities".....ohhkay there, Tiger. for a moment there I thought I was on the "University of Cambridge" page. someone needs to cut back on their extreme hyperbolic tendencies!!

It is one of the most prestigious universities in the world - US News and World Report recently ranked it the third best university in America, after Princeton, Harvard, and Yale.

I second that Penn is of the most prestigious universities in the world.
  • Which school would be considered more prestigious, Penn or Brown?

(I am aware of what the US News and World Report rankings are, but I want to know what everyone's personal opinion is).

I'd say Penn, but honestly, you're not going to go wrong going to an Ivy League School.

I did undergraduate work at Yale and my Ph.D. at Penn. In terms of academic quality, Penn really does have it all over Brown, in part owing to its many top-ranked graduate and professional schools. The presence of major law, medical, and business schools contributes immeasurably to the quality of the intellectual experience overall. Brown can't compete. (talk) 00:20, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Would some one care to tell me how Penn has the largest budget (endowment ~4 billion with ~20 thousand students) in the Ivies when Harvard is at an endowment of ~22 billion, Yale at ~12 billion, and Princeton at ~10 billion? I just want to make sure that the claim is true (and if it's another problem with semantics, would someone please re-phrase it). Thanks.

It's true. UPenn: 4.25 billion (Fiscal Year 2005). Harvard: $2.8 billion (FY2005). And so on. You see, the endowment comes largely from donations, much of which comes from alumni. Harvard-Princeton-Yale tend to really clean up because they are small and have the most name recognition, and at the same time the wealthiest alumni as well as attracting the biggest outside donors. The budget, on the other hand, comes largely from things like tuition, investment income such as real estate, and a smaller portion from endowment proceeds (this portion is larger at schools with outsize endowments like Princeton). Penn is larger in terms of number of students than any Ivy other than Cornell (which is lower on the totem pole than Penn). It has a large hospital system attached (although I think this was spun off in administration a few years ago), owns a big chunk of Philadelphia, and is the largest private employer in Pennsylvania. It's budget, therefore, is biggest in the Ivy League. NTK 20:58, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

oldest university in the United States?

".... However it is the fourth-oldest college and oldest university in the United States..." As said in the article Penn is "the oldest university in the United States". But you can read in the article about "Harvard University" that this university is founded in 1636 in contrast to Penn which is according to the article established in 1740.

It's mostly a semantic issue. Harvard College was the US's first institution of higher learning (Penn was fourth), though Penn was indeed the first to adopt the multi-discipline university model when its medical school opened in 1765 (and the first to actually have the word 'University' in its name). See [3] for example. -Ergative 21:14, 6 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Although Penn may have been the first to offer any higher degree, it was not the first to offer Doctorate degrees, which to many is the mark of being a "true" university. Johns Hopkins was in fact the first to offer Doctoral degrees, and was also the first to conform to the research-style model that is typical of modern universities. While I don't mean to disparage Penn (I actually work there) I do think this needs to be mentioned somehow in the article, lest the claim seem misleading. --Wclark 03:02, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

I thought Yale was the first university to offer a Ph.D. Yale claims to have granted the first in 1861, before Johns Hopkins was founded. [4]. btm talk 19:06, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Btm's latest edit, but have tinkered it myself. If we're going to have the silly "first university" claim the easiest thing to do is source the claim and succinctly state the actual basis for the claim. If people think it's how too long, it could be moved to the History section.
I'm no historian, but I think the American university as we know it was largely a product of the decades following the Civil War. I don't think we'd recognize any institution in the 1700s as being much like a "university," just as I seriously doubt we'd recognize whatever Penn's medical school was teaching as "medicine." (Didn't medical school as we know it originate with, um, William Osler, i.e. wasn't it, too, a product of the post-Civil-War environment?)
Penn is one of several venerable universities and trying to adjudicate which is "truly" the oldest university is an exercise in boosterism and hairsplitting. Notice the tricky wording Penn's claim: 1779, the Pennsylvania state legislature conferred a new corporate charter upon the College of Philadelphia, renaming it the "University of the State of Pennsylvania" (in 1791 still another new charter granted Penn its current name). No other American institution of higher learning was named "University" before Penn." I'm not sure what he has in mind here, but obviously there is some other institution that could lay claim to "Oldest university in continuous operation under the same name."
Couldn't we just say "Penn is reelly reelly old and just awfully good?" No, I suppose not... Dpbsmith (talk) 14:58, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

I moved the "First University" paragraph to the History section. In its current form, it doesn't fit in at all with the rest of the opening section. But I'll probably alter it and move it back at some point.

Also, it's not really our job to define "university" or decide where lay the beginnings of the modern university. Leave that to historians, who have already done so and widely acknowledged Penn to be the first university, both in name and status. (nobody disputes the name part, btw) This is an encyclopedia not a Ph.D. dissertation; we cite other sources, not inject our own opinions into the articles. Personally I think we should just say it was the first university and link to the citation so people can decide for themselves, or add a section in the "criticism and controversy" section about other Universities who also claim to be the first. There's no need to restate Lloyd's argument in this article. -Bindingtheory 17:09, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

As Dpbsmith intimates in his discussion above, Penn probably did not become what we would now call a university until the rapid growth in higher education that was experienced after the Civil War. While it's not hard to find sources that call Penn the first university, and in fact it's not even hard to find a book about it, there are plenty of other sources making the same claim about Harvard University and the College of William and Mary [5]. I think that the claim is fair and should be included in the article (I like it in the History section, but understand the desire to see it in the lead), but the wording used to justify the claim is rather awkward, and it requires an explanation. It's not our place to inject opinion into the article; we also should not omit the fact that it doesn't seem to be universally accepted. I will try to find a quotation from an appropriate authority that supports the claim, but I would really like to see one that doesn't emanate from or a history written about Penn (unless we explicitly say that it comes from a Penn historian). btm talk 19:10, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
I tweaked the wording again. Unfortunately Lloyd doesn't care to spell out Penn's position in comparison to the claims of rivals (e.g. Wclark's point about the distinction between "having a medical school" and "awarding a doctorate"). But that wording "No other American institution of higher learning was named 'University' before Penn" is oddly nuanced and I want to reproduce it exactly as given.
First, we shouldn't say "Penn was the first U.S. institution of higher learning to be called a 'University'" without citing a source. At the moment, that source would be Lloyd. Second, the two statements
No other American institution of higher learning was named "University" before Penn"
Penn was the first American institution of higher learning to be named a "University"
are not quite equivalent, and I have no idea what Lloyd had in mind when he chose the weaselly wording. Certainly, in advertising, in a case where there is no provable difference in, say, battery durability, the FTC would allow company X to advertise "no other battery lasts longer than X" and also allow company Y to advertise "no other battery lasts longer than Y." At one time, in fact, the FTC's position was that under such circumstances both companies could say their battery was "best," on the theory that if they were the same, they were both "the best."
Absolutely the safest and fairest thing to do here is avoid judgements of our own and tell the story of Penn's superlative seniority as a university by quoting sources. (Oxford and Cambridge, eat your hearts out...) Dpbsmith (talk) 19:35, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
P.S. I wouldn't have a quarrel with the lead paragraph saying something like "Penn calls itself 'America's first university'" somewhere. Dpbsmith (talk) 19:42, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
P. P. S. I just sent Lloyd an email query about this... Dpbsmith (talk) 19:54, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm really interested in Lloyd's response. I've been researching this topic for a while now and would love to know what he says on the topic. I've never seen anyone claim that Harvard was America's first university. (its oldest, perhaps? it is older than all the others, of course, but it wasn't a university til later. Harvard dates their own university status to 1780, placing them after both Penn and William and Mary: "The first medical instruction given to Harvard students in 1781 and the founding of the Medical School in 1782 made it a university in fact as well as name." [6]) William and Mary also claims to be the first university, but uses a different definition than Penn. I've corresponded with their university archivist who told me that "a course of graduate studies was the requisite for the status of university." (William and Mary traces back their university status to 1779, "the first year of our law school and simultaneously our medicine and chemistry chair was still filled."

For the record, i rather like the paragraph in the Penn article as it currently stands ("Penn has two claims...") -Bindingtheory 21:23, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

I want to clarify what I would and would not like to see in the lead paragraph. I think that Penn's status here is worth putting in the lead. In fact, I would encourage putting a proper wording of the claim in the lead, as it is a defining characteristic for Penn and an important milestone in American higher education. However it should be succinct and clear. I like that statement: "Penn calls itself 'America's first university.'" What I would really like to keep out is a carefully (weaselly) worded sentence that finds a way to make the claim seem both definitive and indisputable. btm talk 21:52, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
I agree. Dpbsmith (talk) 00:17, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

I have a reply from Mark Frazier Lloyd, in which he says:

Penn's rivals for "first American university" are chiefly Harvard and William and Mary. Harvard claims to be America's oldest university, when, in fact, it is America's oldest college. Harvard did not become a university until 1780, a year later than Penn. William and Mary also claims to be America's oldest university, but, in fact, the state legislature of Pennsylvania named Penn a university one week earlier than the state legislature of Virginia conferred the same title upon William and Mary.
The first institution in the U.S. to award an M.D. was Penn, in 1768.
I do not know the first institution in the U.S. to award the modern research degree, Ph.D., but it was a late development, at or after the American Civil War.

Unfortunately he doesn't give exact dates or sources, but if it's true that Penn received that name one week earlier than William and Mary, well, gosh... that's like one twin insisting that he's the "older brother" of the other because his head appeared first. We should try to pin the exact dates down, and that should be added to the history section... possibly as a footnote. Dpbsmith (talk) 00:17, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

I sent him a follow-up email and obviously went back to the well once too often, as his reply was curt. He said that he does not want to be quoted, so do not cite any of the above in the article, please. Dpbsmith (talk) 16:00, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

Note that the date he's comparing to William and Mary's is the date it was named a university, not the earlier, "de facto" date. I'm not sure why he did that. Penn still claims to have become a University in 1765, 4 years before Wm and Mary does. Even using William and Mary's definition of "graduate studies," Penn's granting an M.D. in 1768 qualifies. From a historian's point of view, all these universities pretty much appeared at the same time, but claims of "first" this and "first" that are all about nitpicking over dates, whether a week or four years. -Bindingtheory 02:06, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

There is a book called Harvard, the First American University. As is usually the case with these types of claims, in particular when it comes to the de facto claim, this is all really a matter of semantics. What defines what a university is? When an institutions begins to call itself a university does it become one? Does the faculty need to be differentiated into different schools or colleges? Does the institution need to grant graduate degrees in order to be a university? Need they be doctorate degrees or even Ph.D.s? I find this all very interesting (and fun), but it is an academic exercise at best. One that is probably of more interest to the universities themselves and their alumni, students, etc., than to U.S. historians. I don't think that one would argue the modern American university was born when Penn established its medical school, but, again, it was an important milestone along the way. However, usually if a questioner were to pose the question "What is the first American university?" the answer to their intended question is probably Harvard. With a semantically correct interpretation of that question, the answer is (a possibly qualified) Penn; exactly whether and how it should be qualified is not yet clear to me.
Lloyd's response was very interesting. Thanks for taking the time to ask, Dpbsmith. Unfortunately, it doesn't illuminate us with much more than we already knew. But, I believe I answered who awarded the first Ph.D. above (Yale). Yet, one thing that strikes me is that well-established institutions of higher education in the U.S. (conservative as they are) generally make changes rather incrementally, and this has been the case since 1636. Penn's transition here may or may not have been incremental (and this may also just be an academic exercise), but it will take a number of independent (from each other and from the major players in this drama — i.e., the universities in question) sources to convince me that Penn should indisputably be given rights to its claim needing no further explanation of semantic interpretation. btm talk 06:06, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
A way to handle this would be assemble a list of (hopefully) objective facts, without trying to settle the semantic issue of what counts as "being a university"; e.g. William and Mary was chartered under this name on thus-and-such a date, Penn established a medical school on thus-and-such a date, Yale awarded a Ph. D. on thus-and-such a date. In each case the items would be what is thought to be "the first" such item but would not actually claim even that much. This would be a "list of facts that have been used to support claims of being 'the first university.'" Then, for each university for which a "first university" claim is made, the lead section would say "X claims to be the first university" and a footnote would include the list of facts. I believe there would be less than a dozen such facts and that it would be more appropriate to simply put the list in an article footnote than to make it a standalone article which would attract overcasual editing.
I think the most interesting fact is not whether Penn, William and Mary, and Harvard won the race to be officially named a university, but the fact that it was so nearly a dead heat. Given the slowness of communications, I don't think William and Mary would have been a direct reaction to Penn. I wonder exactly what was "in the air" at the time? Dpbsmith (talk) 11:41, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
The fact that it was a "dead heat" is certainly interesting. However, I sort of suspect that this is, in some sense, all a red herring. Harvard was originally called a college because it reminded its founders more of an individual college at Oxford or Cambridge than a full-fledged university. However, even during the time of this "race," the American universities probably didn't yet much resemble the large European universities, so I think that it was a concurrent expansion of the universities' scope as well as a significant shift toward favoring the term "university" for the major insitutions of higher education within the United States. And the latter must have played a significant role in the more widespread use of the term, giving a likely explanation as to why it was a dead heat. btm talk 21:12, 19 January 2006 (UTC)
Duh. (Slapping self on forehead). I think I know what was in the air and why it was close to a dead heat. I just needed to read [7] and think a bit. What was in the air was some little thing that happened in 1776. Obviously... the state legislatures wanted to sweep away all those royal charters and replace them with freshly-minted U. S. charters. And (in the case of Penn) with new, non-loyalist governance. I don't know why the word "university" would have been the preferred choice of language, though. Dpbsmith (talk) 13:46, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Given the intricacies of this topic, I don't think we're qualified (even if we could actually come to a consensus) to decide which was the first university. Plus I can't believe that a two word phrase is taking up this much discussion (although I've been greatly enjoying it) Anyway, I just created a new page, First university in the United States, specifically to lay out the facts and let people make up their own minds, and I thought we could link to it. I'll do that now from the History section of the Penn article. See what you think, change as you see fit, etc. -Bindingtheory 00:11, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Moved rest of this discussion and the factoids to the Talk:First university in the United States page so that discussion can continue there. -Bindingtheory 17:16, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Although Penn may claim to be the "First University in the United States", there was no "United States" when either it or Harvard, Yale & William and Mary Colleges were founded. It is certainly not the "First University in America." The first in North America was the Royal University of Mexico, now the National Autonomous University of Mexico, chartered by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1551 and opened in 1553. The first university on the American continent was the University of San Marcos in Lima, chartered by Charles V a few months earlier in 1551 and opened a few days earlier in 1553. If having a medical school is critical, its Faculty of Medicine opened in 1573. But the first university in the Americas was the University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, now the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, which was originally a Dominican seminary but received a charter from Pope Paul III to become a university in 1538. NRPanikker (talk) 02:57, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

If the US did not exist as a nation when Penn became a university, it would still be a university when the US was founded, and if the first in the colonies, then still the first in the new nation. While "America" is typically seen as synonymous with "The United States", as opposed to "The Americas" which typically refers to the two continents of North and South, I can see how there could be confusion. Without touching on the issue of whether the claim of "First University" is legitimate, I find "First University in the United States" to be an acceptable phrasing. Ar-wiki (talk) 04:40, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
First of all, the meaning of the word "America" is irrelevant. Penn calls itself "America's First University," and that's easily verified. Second, the meaning of the word "America" is ambiguous, and its use to refer to the United States is not incorrect. In the American(!) Heritage Dictionary, the definition of "America" is:

Yes, the word is ambiguous. Yes, everyone else in the hemisphere may find the first usage parochial... annoying... or downright offense. But it is a thoroughly established usage, and it's just as correct as referring to España as "Spain." Dpbsmith (talk) 16:37, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Clean up Alumni, etc?

Wonder if it might be a good idea to move the alumni, etc. listings to their own pages (ala Harvard). Keeping them as they are _might_ (and I'm only making a suggestion/observation here) be discouraging people from adding more about the university, as a whole, in fear of making the page too ponderous.

Also, maybe the majors should be placed somewhere else, done in a different manner, or removed all together? I know the majors are _about_ the university, and have a right to be here, but I'm just wondering if this page is better geared for narrative descriptions. Personally, I think narratives are more interesting than just lists of stuff.

Just food for thought..

  • There are quite a few editors that abhor that type of expansion and wish colleges would keep their alumni (or notable people) lists on their own page, like Penn, Princeton and Rutgers so adequately do. —ExplorerCDT 18:05, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • O.K.. but.. maybe there are a few/just as many that don't?
      • I hope not. Expansion for the sake of expansion ruined the article on Columbia, and eventually that has to be brought to bear. Let me take a look at the article over the week, and see what can be reconfigured (esp. with the Majors). The 32KB limit is only a guideline. Many of the more comprehensive University pages near 40-50KB...especially those with one or two notable peoples (alumni/faculty) list. Most colleges/universities have their notable peoples list within the article. But most colleges and universities never get bigger than one article. Columbia and MIT, in an reduction to the absurd, have about 20 each. There's nothing more special about Columbia than there is about any of the others and any college guide would only give them the same space as say St. Leo's College in Florida. Not everyone has to be like that community college in Cambridge, Mass. In the long run, sensible people try to keep it all on one page. —ExplorerCDT 13:28, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)
      • P.S. Sign your comments. Otherwise, many editors around here get ticked off. Just follow your contributions on talk pages with four tildas ~~~~ and WP will automatically sign your comments. —ExplorerCDT 13:31, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)
        • It might be worth a look. I wasn't trying to imply that Havard's page was the gold standard, just an idea. Dartmouth's page seems to be a better example of what I'm talkig about--good narrative with few lists. For example, does there even have to be a list of majors, at all? I don't have any connection to Penn, so I just made my comments as a detached observer. I think, at a minimum, the narratives here could be cleaned up somewhat. Madmaxmarchhare 04:39, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
          • I think the list of majors can be i did with Drew University. I didn't put a list of majors when I redid the Rutgers University article. I have no connection to Penn either, so I have no problem with doing away with the list of majors (it's not that important after all...most universities have a typical smattering of majors anyway). I agree with you though....the narratives need to be cleaned up here and at other colleges. There should be a project on cleaning up college pages. Most are filled with boosterism. Harvard, while you mentioned it as an idea, is a page that is wrought with debate over content (i.e. recent Harvard College vs. Harvard University discussion). In the end, better formatting and good writing means we can fit a lot onto the page without it coming across as too long. —ExplorerCDT 04:57, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
        • Sorry re: not signing. Madmaxmarchhare 04:39, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
        • I think the alumni and faculty list should be moved to a new page or condensed down to just people who are really notable. I confess that when I first stumbled on this page, having found the lost list of people and major very unasthetic, I created the page List of University of Pennsylvania people. I copied the list to the page, but didn't move it. Again, I think it should be moved.

          I, like you, think that university articles should be confined to one comprehensive pages with additional pages for in-depth sub-topics. However, that's in Perfect Wikipedia. In the real Wikipedia, loads of hardly-meaningful facts are added to articles. As the alumni/faculty lists on many article are chocked full of marginally-notable people and, in the case of this article, take up up to half of the length of the article, it's just asthetically favorable to either pare down the lists or move the list to another page and keep truly notable people on the main article. To see what I mean, see another article I've done some work on, Duke University.
          --Ttownfeen 22:31, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

Regarding the comment about MIT's page(s), I think the writers / editors have cleaned up much of the POV etc. IF you read their discussions page you can see they have toned down much of the way they have cited their statistics (even though they could have just flat out claimed #1 for a lot of areas including nerdiness). Since this discussion is about ("cleaning up") I thought I'd mention that such could be an example to follow. --anizzon

"prestige" comment

Watchers of this page should see this poll about whether this page should contain a phrase like "widely considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world". Nohat 15:47, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I am eliminating some of the flowery language about Penn's prestige. For example, it's false to say that it "consistently ranks in the top 5"-- it has only ranked in the top 5 for the latter half of Judith Rodin's tenure. Emiao

"Midwestern Ivy League" ?

Contributors to this page may be interested in this article, which has been proposed for deletion:

Midwestern Ivy League

Please review the article and provide your input on that article's Votes for Deletion page. - 04:00, 23 August 2005 (UTC)


Does anyone else think this section should be deleted? Flying fish 00:11, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

yeah i was thinking the same thing myself.,not really sure though. Was thinking it might be a good idea to spin off the tradations section into a seperate article though? --Boothy443 | comhrá 00:46, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
I don't know about the lingo section, but the list of majors has got to go. Traditions should stay.
Maybe the lingo and/or majors could be each spun off into new pages - AKeen 00:29, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

I think it should just go. TriDi doesn't exist, JRo isn't the president anymore, and JewPenn is fairly offensive. The whole section is probably only of interest to Penn undergrads, who must already know the lingo (otherwise it wouldn't be lingo...). Shouldn't this page be aimed at people who aren't currently students here, or aim to provide historical information that current students might not already know such as the razing of Black Bottom or 60's protests against secret chemical weapon research ("Spice Rack" and "Summit)" Flying fish 20:26, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

I am deleting the lingo section. If there are objections please raise them here - we can bring it back if people feel it's important. almost all of the additions were been made by anons, though, so I doubt anyone will care. Flying fish 16:54, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

gramatically incorrect

"The University of Pennsylvania is one of the nation's only private universities"

Pardon me for being the grammar police. But "only" cannot be used with "one of." Only implies one entity, as in "the only one." Read this.

Yeah, grammar of this kind makes me cringe. --Florida Is Hell (talk) 02:32, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

So fix it. Esrever (klaT) 18:31, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Major cleanup

I am gonna try to clean up the article a bit, several anons have have changed the text to make it read more like a promo then an Encyclopedia article. I am taking out redundant text, tigiting up others, and redoing someof the flow. I am also droping the list of majors, Any problems or sujestions feel frre to drop a not to discuss, or make the changes. --Boothy443 | trácht ar 07:09, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

Crime on Campus

Perhaps someone should write about the abundant amount of crime that has taken place on the Penn campus (which is much higher than other Philly campus' such as Temple and Drexel) and the city's attempt to remedy the situation.

  • UPenn - Getting Safer - In the past decade at Penn, overall crime has decreased by 31%. Robberies have decreased by 62%, thefts by 31%, Burglaries by 24%, and Assault by 23%. In addition, 2,500 outdoor light fixtures have been installed, and 8 public gardens and 450 trees have been planted. Penn, being one of only two Universities to receive the Clery Award for improvements in safety in 2003, has proven that it is committed to improving the streets of West Philadelphia and making the area safer for students and local residents alike. Here's a quote from a current student... “It’s very secure! There have been only two ‘violent’ crimes on campus that I know of all year. 10 years ago, that was unheard of. However, Penn has recently beefed up security to the point where I know my female friends have no problem walking home late at night from the library or anywhere else. You can always see a SpectaGuard after dark, and that’s comforting.” (from College Prowler's campus guides, University of Pennsylvania - Off the Record) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hla5 (talkcontribs)
  • I tend to agree with whoever wrote the above (please remember to sign your comments with four ~ marks.) Crime is not the problem at Penn that it once was, and i can't imagine the crime rates are any more significant than they are at any urban campus. If crime is a serious issue that significantly affects the campus more than would normally be expected, then add a section on crime, with current, accurate statistics, and add a citation. --Bindingtheory 22:20, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Water Buffalo Incident

I reduced the size of the section on the Water Buffalo Incident, keeping the essentials. It took up over 10% of the entire article on Penn (approx. 512 words out of 4337), which I don't think is fair or accurate. I gave it its own article (which it deserves, given the international attention it received at the time) using the original text of the section and linked to it from the section in the Penn article. Bindingtheory 16:54, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Good idea. --C S (Talk) 19:02, 4 January 2006 (UTC)

Removed CantStandYa's new paragraph in the interest of keeping the Water Buffalo section as short as possible (see above). Additional info should go in the Water buffalo incident article itself. -Bindingtheory 04:36, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure how relevant this incident is to today's world. It was a silly episode, and it happened over thirteen years and three administrations ago. Given the intro to this section (re Penn receiving commendations re it's free speech policies), I'm not sure why this issue continues to keep being pushed by a group of contributors to this article.
It would have been better to discuss this here and gotten consensus before removing well-sourced material from the article. What's your objection to it, other than that it's unflattering to Penn? The fact that it is still remembered thirteen years later seems to me to speak to its importance, not to its unimportance. Dpbsmith (talk) 15:22, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

External Links

I arranged the external link section. I think it makes sense to separate the student/campus groups from other links ABOUT Penn. Obviously we can't list every group, but I added a link to Penn's own list of its student groups. I also made the name of that subsection of links "SELECTED student groups." I think it's a nice idea to link to a few repreentative or particularly important student groups (like the ones currently listed), but I'm not sure what criteria we should use to include or exclude groups from that list. Bindingtheory 15:50, 5 January 2006 (UTC)


Renamed "Criticism" section to "Controversy," which better refects its nature and sounds less negative. Someone (me if nobody else does it soon) should write a VERY SHORT explanation of the effort of graduate students to organize and the university's reaction. Short is important because we don't want the controversy section--although certainly important--to dominate the article. Bindingtheory 15:50, 5 January 2006 (UTC)


Um, it's still capitalized... - CobaltBlueTony 17:50, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

It wasn't the fact that it was capitalized. It was that the capital "C" wasn't a normal "C". It was the same height but squished narrower. Strangely, when I just went back to the page history so I could paste it here to show you, the weird "C" is gone in all previous versions of the page, too. Oh well. It's fixed now at any rate. Bindingtheory 17:58, 5 January 2006 (UTC)
Sounds like a gritch in your fontmapping. Or something else that sounds technical and nerdy. ;-) - CobaltBlueTony 18:06, 5 January 2006 (UTC)


Please stop changing the "Established" date from 1740 to 1755, especially if you are going to do so without explanation. Penn is an interesting institution in that you could reasonably argue several dates for its beginning, but the institution itself uses 1740. If you want, put a footnote by the 1740 and explain what happened in 1755 that justifies the use of that date instead. -Bindingtheory 16:15, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

According to this Penn site, the doors first opened in 1751. Would that not be a more appropriate date? - CobaltBlueTony 17:29, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
If there's more than one relevant date, mention both/all of them and explain them in a footnote. IMHO that would be the neutral thing to do.
BTW I found the reference itself... which says "doors opened 1751" and says "In 1749 in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin presented his vision..." So where the heck does 1740 come from? Oh, wait... click, click... summarizes it:
“In 1899, Penn’s Trustees adopted a resolution that established 1740 as the founding date, but good cases may be made for 1749, when Franklin first convened the Trustees, or 1751, when the first classes were taught, or 1755, when Penn obtained its collegiate charter."
Now, have a look at this:
In the same decade, under a provost trained in the retail world, Penn repositioned itself from an important local university to one with national pretensions. This was symbolized by the simple act of re-dating its founding from 1749 to 1740....
With the 1740 date, instead of being number five or even six in the line of American higher education, Penn was fourth, following only Harvard (1636), William and Mary (1693 first fundraising, 1700 first classes), and Yale (1701), and ahead of Princeton (neÈ the College of New Jersey, 1744), and Columbia (originally New York’s King’s College, whose first college classes were held in 1754, antedating Penn’s by a year). In 1899, to settle the issue once and for all, Penn’s board of trustees passed a resolution declaring that henceforth, 1740 would be the official date of the founding of the University “because that was the date of the earliest of the many trusts the University has taken upon itself. Dpbsmith (talk) 18:15, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
That Pennsylvania Gazette article is great, by the way... and for my money, it all but calls the 1740 date phony. It also... and this is interesting... explains why Penn was so concerned about this:
[it] had the desired effect of placing Penn ahead of Princeton in academic processions that in turn represented, in highly schematized form, the pecking order of American higher education. (The year before, in 1895, elite universities banded together to establish a national system of academic regalia that asserted an age- and class-based hierarchy and was most obviously expressed by placement in academic processions.) Dpbsmith (talk) 18:40, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
OK, it's in the article now. I've globbed the details together into a footnote where they won't intrude into the main article.
With regard to the taxobox or whatever we call them now... given the circumstances, in which Penn's own publication refers to the 1740 date as based on a "story" about the "ostensible" founding date of an institution whose connection to Penn is arguable but dubious... well, I think it would be obviously non-neutral to present 1740 without any qualification or explanation, and I think it would be obviously non-neutral not to mention it since it is the date Penn uses itself. So, I think the four candidate years mentioned by Penn's archivist should all appear in the taxobox. Dpbsmith (talk) 18:50, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
P. S. Much the same sorts of issues arise with regard to other universities' "founding" dates. Harvard's 1636 seems to be pretty dicey, given that the "President and Fellows of Harvard College" was formed in 1650, but in Harvard's case it hardly matters. Why did they even bother to exaggerate, one wonders? You could handicap them by a couple of decades and they would still lead those academic processions the Penn Gazette talks about. There's at least one inscription in Memorial Hall that dates something as Annum Collegium Harvardensis or something like that, and I suppose once you do something like that you can't change your mind about when you were founded. Dpbsmith (talk) 18:59, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
  • I changed the "established" date back to 1740 and left the footnote, as is done on the colonial colleges page. I also condensed the footnote but left the essential facts and arguments regarding the various possible years of "founding". (A disproportionate amount of this article is spent on the founding of the institution as it is, and all of the info in the footnote is already included in the main text of the article) And added the "Building Penn's Brand" Gazette article as an external link.-Bindingtheory 21:48, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
    • You're right about most of those facts being in the article already. If I'd been more careful I'd have noticed that before adding the long footnote. I'm not too happy about the current balance. I didn't know the details until I read the "Building Penn's Brand" article, and now that I do, I think the 1740 date is pretty dodgy and represents too great a concession to Penn's point of view. I won't revert. I believe I'm going to add a description of the "Building Penn's Brand" article, though. Dpbsmith (talk) 23:54, 25 January 2006 (UTC)
    • Yeah, it's me again. So... fourth-oldest. On the one hand, I think it's neutral to use each institution's own officially-claimed date of founding in stating its age rank ("fourth-oldest"). On the other hand, given that Penn, Princeton, and Columbia are so close, that Penn changed its official founding date from 1749 to 1740 in 1899, and that that change affected the rank order, I think a footnote is advisable. Dpbsmith (talk) 13:53, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

School Motto

There are 3 different translations for vanae that I know of in Penn's motto "Leges sine moribus vanae": "in vain," "useless," and "empty. "in vain" wins the Google test. It's also how Penn used to translate it in the print publications I've read. They appear to have changed their official translation to "useless" now (although I need to look into that further) so maybe that's the better choice now that I look at it. [8] We should probably use the translation the school uses for its OWN MOTTO. I don't see any reasonable case to be made for using "empty". -Bindingtheory 17:15, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm sorry those are the only three translations that you know for the word vanus (which is the masculine singular nominative for the word, which appears in the feminine nominative plural because it is a predicate adjective). The word, in fact, means, empty, as in not containing anything, as in void, as in full of nothingness. You will not find "in vain" as a direct translation of this word, but only as a idiomatic equivalent. "Useless" is similarly an idiomatic equivalent.
In other words, while I agree that the official translation, as it seems to exist in this case, should be used, and I accept that argument, I think a "reasonable case" could be made for a different translation -- I have some "reasonable" experience translating Latin "reasonably," so I'm wondering what expertise in Classics you bring to bear to cite this as unreasonable and caseless. Amherst5282 21:21, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Please don't take it so personally. I wasn't trying to offend you. We all just want Wikipedia to be the best it can. I am just saying (and you've stated that you agree) is that this is a school motto, and as such we should translate it in the way that the school does and in a way that has significance to its readers, not in a literal fashion. We rarely read word-for-word literal translations of any work in a foreign language. Word order and meaning are adjusted so that the work actually means something to the people who read it in translation. Idiomatic equivalents are necessary to understand any foreign language. If a German is "blau," it means he's drunk, whereas if an American is "blue" it means he's sad. And in that example, a literal translation not only loses meaning, but changes it entirely. Who cares what anything means on word-by-word basis? It's the meaning of a phrase as a whole that matters. A law that is "empty" means nothing to us, even if it did to the Romans. So although you could make a reasonable (and in fact very strong) case for translating "vanae" as empty in a vaccuum (no pun intended), you really can't do it in the context it's in here. -Bindingtheory 22:35, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Wouldn't the most straightforward wording be "laws without morals are vanity?" as in the Book of Ecclesiastes, "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity." AHD4's definition of vanity is "3. Lack of usefulness, worth, or effect; worthlessness," which is what is meant here. Dpbsmith (talk) 00:12, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Bindingtheory: Thank you for the lesson on dynamic equivalence versus direct correspondence approaches to translation. How did I manage to make it through graduate school without mentors as knowledgeable as you?Amherst5282 00:35, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Again, I don't know where this hostility is coming from, but you're welcome. I was just responding to your comments. -Bindingtheory 00:45, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
Amherst5282, personal knowledge is only relevant to the degree that it enables you to muster good, verifiable, WP:CITE sources in support of your views. Wikipedia does not and cannot depend on the authority of its contributors. Your user page could give your name, address, CV, and images of your diplomas, but it still would not give you the right to dictate content simply by asserting your superior personal knowledge. Dpbsmith (talk) 00:43, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
My mistake. I will alter my user page to remove the offending items, Dpbsmith, as you have pointed out they are out of place. I'm not clear on how I "dictated content," as I stated that I accepted the reversion as reasonable deference to a university's own press releases, but I will cease doing so. The "hostility" is actually just surprise: I altered one word of one sentence, and as a result was then told I don't know how to translate Latin and received a lecture in the subject (not a "well my opninion is," discussion -- a lecture in Classical languages); when I explained my reasoning but accepted the reversion and left it at that, I was then told I don't understand the process of translation in general, and was schooled in that (not, "my persepctive is" but a kindly explanation as of an expert to an eighth grader); and then I was told I should keep my mouth shut unless I'm prepared to footnote and source dictionary definitions and was sliced for "dictating content" for -- not challenging the elimination of my edit??. OK. I've learned my Wikipedia lesson.Amherst5282 01:37, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

I reverted the motto again. I actually rather liked the translation "Learning without character is in vain," (although I can't speak for the accuracy of the translation. Amherst5282: if you're still reading this page, is it a fair translation?) and although it certainly seems more relevant to a University, it's not the way that Penn translates it, and i think we need to use their official translation, which is currently "Laws without morals are useless." -Bindingtheory 22:48, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

I take it that this latest reference to me was meant to be ironic and sarcastic. As I said, I've learned my Wikipedia lesson. I'll restrict myself to correcting/commenting on the Latin translations of graduate students on real paper, rather than offering poor thoughts online to those already fluent in Latin. Believe me, you've convinced me...the needles are not necessary.Amherst5282 23:04, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I don't think anyone is needling you. I did not intend to give offense and apologize for doing so. Dpbsmith (talk) 00:36, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Amherst5282, I was not being ironic or sarcastic. You are the only person I know of with a good knowledge of Latin, so I was just asking if you thought the above was a fair and accurate translation of the phrase. I'd still like to know your opinion. -Bindingtheory 04:27, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

The University perhaps has more than one "official" translation? This A Guide to the Usage of the Seal and Arms of the University of Pennsylvania suggests "Laws (or learning) without character are in vain." It also has some interesting background:

The original seal adopted in 1755 bore the abbreviated inscription Sine Moribus Vanae, and succeeding seals bore either this version or no motto at all. In less official usage the motto was evidently rendered as Leges sine Moribus vanae, as in a bookplate of the library employed before 1829. Near the end of the nineteenth century, a wag translated the motto on the seal as "loose women without morals," which so distressed the Trustees that when the seal was rather radically redesigned in 1899 the word Literae was inserted so that the motto read Literae sine Moribus vanae.

OTOH the web style guide and the [ About Penn... Frequently asked questions] has it as "Laws without morals are useless." Dpbsmith (talk) 00:36, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Drexel and Penn snowball fight

I've been a Drexel student for 6 years (currently a grad student) and I've never heard of this tradition. If there is no source for this, it should be removed. The closest source I've been able to find on Google is a site here that says in 1956:

March 19 - snowball fight After about 25 complaints from people pelted by snowballs at 36th and Locust Streets, twelve policemen raided the intersection. When some of the students ran into the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, police followed and rounded up 24 students, including the photographic editor of the Daily Pennsylvanian student newspaper. They were released with a warning from the judge.

I'd hardly say that having a fight with innocent bystanders once in 1956 constitutes a "tradition." So if there are no objections I'll remove this as hearsay. mbecker 22:13, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

I've tracked this change to an anon IP who also added this "fact" to the Drexel article. I'll remove it from there too unless I can find a source. mbecker 22:34, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Academic processions and Penn-Princeton rivalry

I'm sure others have noticed that someone keeps changing "1740"/"fourth oldest" to "1749"/"fifth oldest." I've tried to deal with this in footnotes, and I recently added a similar footnote to the Princeton article, for symmetry's sake. I've also found a nicely-nuanced Princeton statement [9]:

Colonial colleges uses 1749 and places Penn fifth. It was footnoted before and I've expanded the footnote.

I don't think it makes sense to talk about coming to any particular conclusion. I strongly feel that if only one year is to be cited in the lead paragraph and infobox, there is no neutral way to choose any date other than the year claimed by each university. If the year needs to be qualified beyond a footnote, OK, but Wikipedia cannot sit in judgement. Dpbsmith (talk) 15:35, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Admissions Selectivity and Rankings

I disagree with with the decision to remove this section because "this kind of neurotic comparisons would not appear in any real encyclopedia," and I replaced the section at least until we can discuss it here first. (someone should prolly do the same with Yale and Princeton because I'm off to bed soon)

You've got to ask yourself what someone who looks up Penn (or any other university) in wikipedia might be looking for, and I think that includes selectivity and rankings. Granted, the text could be edited some, but ask any college applicant: selectivity and rankings matter to them. I agree with the argument that the rankings suffer from a degree of subjectivity, but at the same time there's no denying that some universities are "better" than others. As long as the information is factual and verifiable, why not include it? -Bindingtheory 05:41, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Why would anyone would go to Wikipedia to get a biassed, selective, cherry-picked assortment of dubious factoids, when they could buy a copy of U. S. News and get complete, neutral presentation of the same dubious factoids neatly arrayed in tables for easy comparison? Dpbsmith (talk) 15:36, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Is this supposed to be an encyclopedia or some promotion stunt? I agree: go prune yale and princeton. I started already. We all need to do more to make wikipedia more objective and less subject to boosterism. This page read like Penn's admissions office should have paid a fee :) -
I think editing the information would have been a better choice than deleting the section entirely. (for example, the explicit comparison by name to several other universities should probably be removed, and the overall section is simply too long). How does stating college ranking and selectivity statistics qualify as "boosterism" or not obective? Also, I was suggesting people UNdo the deletions you made to Princeton and Yale. Someone has already done so for Yale. -Bindingtheory 06:07, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
The whole ranking section reeked of neurotic insecurity. In any case, the information would not be found in an bound encyclopedia. As far as what the readers like to read, I am sure most guys would also like nude photos of women. But we would not put them into the encyclopedia. If the readers want rankings, go to the source site (usnews, whatever).
As far as other schools, that's a tougher one. Especially with the speed at which yale puts back its propaganda. I sympathize, as I went to Penn. Maybe I can get my sons and their friends to keep watch, and just outlast the boosters. I will give it more thought. -
Having been to Penn, then, you'll know that the whole institution occasionally reeks of neurotic insecurity. Penn has long had an inferiority complex.  :) I still think the rankings and selectivity information belong in the article, although i'm too tired to put them back now, so maybe someone will do it for me. Wikipedia contains tons of things that would never appear in a print encyclopedia (i mean, have you SEEN some of the articles in this thing????); that's part of what makes it so great. -Bindingtheory 06:29, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
First off this is not a bound encylopedia, and even if it were i seriously doubt that your objections would be given much creedience, as i can see a bound encylopedia adding in the information about the schools ranking in the idea of establishing it's acidemic reputation and considering that coming from sources are independent of the university. This is also no more bosterism then what is seen on the articles of other universites of similar reputation, including one that you have allreday defaced today, University of Chicago. Personaly i wouldnt take any of these objections from this usere seriously anyway, as this seems to be a usere who has, based on the mo, removed this infromation from theis article as well as several other articles under several ip socks and user accounts. As for the section, a change in tone might be warented, as well as droping the section of the leading schools in arts and sciences. But the wholesale removal on the current basis, is unacceptable. --Boothy443 | trácht ar 06:35, 29 January 2006 (UTC), academic boosterism is a perennial problem with Wikipedia. I'm not sure I know why.
Meanwhile, I try to prune and shape rather than excise wholesale. I try to keep the worst of it out of the lead section. I particularly like the section in Wikipedia:Avoid academic boosterism that says "do not bury the reader in facts." Penn is a really, really, really good school and a few facts will make that point adequately. (Conversely, there is no presentation of facts, no matter how strained, that will make Penn appear to be older than Yale, or more famous than Harvard).
(By the way, I continue to be completely baffled as to why "selectivity" is considered to be important. It seems like a vicious circle. A school can only admit so many students, so the more that apply, the more "selective" it appears to be, which for some reason attracts students, leading to a lower rate of acceptance, and...) Dpbsmith (talk) 15:36, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

gotta agree about selectivity, particularly if it's defined as the percentage of applicants that a college admits as students. That doesn't measure quality; it measures popularity. The more popular a school is, the more people who apply, and the more people who apply, the lower the percentage of applicants you need to accept to fill the incoming class. The other problem with this statistic is that its largely dependent on class size at a given institution. If there are two universities who have exactly the same number of applicants, but one has a class size of 1000 and the other has a class size of 5000, then the larger school is necessarily less selective since it will have to accept far more applicants to fill the incoming class. A more interesting (if not more useful) statistic might be to compare the number of students accepted to the number of students who actually attend. In other words, it measures how many EXTRA students a university has to accept in order to actually get the right number of students to attend, knowing that many accepted students will ultimately choose a different college. It still only measures popularity, but at least it's more accurate. -Bindingtheory 16:47, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure if this was simply caught in a big revert, but the statement below was changed to a unreferenced state with a different year and ranking. If this section belongs at all, it should be properly referenced.

In 2001, The Atlantic Monthly ranked it as the eleventh most selective college in the United States (factoring in average grades, SAT scores, students' high school rankings, and offer yields).[1] Ar-wiki 01:50, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

"Some outside the University use 1749" Who, exactly?

Maybe, but I'd like to see a source for this.

Britannica says flatly that Penn is "was founded in 1740 as a charity school. Largely through the efforts of Benjamin Franklin and other leading Philadelphians, it became an academy in 1751..." In other words, they implicitly accept the institutional continuity of the Whitefield school and the university.

The Columbia Encyclopedia takes a "just the facts" approach, saying "Planned in 1740 as a charity school, it opened in 1751 as an academy, largely through the efforts of Benjamin Franklin. In 1755 it received a college charter," without using the word "founded" or committing to a founding date..

Encarta says "Founded as the Charity School in 1740, the institution was reestablished as the Academy of Philadelphia in 1751 under the leadership of Benjamin Franklin. The academy’s name was changed in 1755 to the College of Pennsylvania, and the current name was adopted in 1779."

Here are some points.

  • these sources do not attempt to look behind Penn's official account of its own history.
  • Two of them use the word "founded in 1740" and qualify it with "as a charity school." All of them say "as a charity school" and using phrasing that raises at least a bit of doubt as to the nature of what happened in 1751 ("became an academy,") ("opened as an academy,") ("reestablished as the Academy).
  • None of them venture to say Penn was "founded" in any year other than 1740.
  • None of them even mentions 1749.
  • All of them simply stay away from Penn/Princeton question, saying nothing about whether Penn is fourth, fifth, or sixth-oldest.

I think there is plenty of reason to qualify Penn's founding date and explain it, in a footnote or otherwise.

I don't think there is any justification at all for substituting a different "founding" date than the one Penn chooses to use.

The anons who keep changing it are not giving any rationale for how Wikipedia should decide what date to use as the founding date in articles on universities. And I am skeptical whether there are any reliable sources that would state that Penn was "founded" in 1749 (which is very different from saying Penn was founded-asterisk, founded-footnote, found-with-qualifications in 1740). Dpbsmith (talk) 22:14, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

P. S. Well, the Britannica 11th edition does say 1749 in its article on Pennsylvania: "Other institutions for higher education are the University of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia (1749)..." Its article on the University of Pennsylvania, however, is nuanced:
Benjamin Franklin in 1749 published a pamphlet, entitled Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania, which led to the formation of a board of twenty-four trustees, nineteen of whom, on the 13th of November 1749, met for organization and to promote the Publick Academy in the City of Philadelphia, and elected Benjamin Franklin president of the board, an office which he held until 1756. So closely was Franklin identified with the plan that Matthew Arnold called the institution the University of Franklin. On the 1st of February 1750 there was conveyed to this board of trustees the New Building on Fourth Street, near Arch, which had been erected in 1740 for a charity school, a use to which it had not been put and as a house of Publick Worship, in which George Whitefield had preached in November 1740; the original trustees (including Franklin) of the New Building and of its projected charity school date from 1740, and therefore the university attaches to its seal the words founded 1740.
Notice again that we have the words "founded 1740," though with the encyclopedia distancing itself from these statement, and a "just-the-facts" approach which lays out the narrative without contradicting the University's own account. Dpbsmith (talk) 22:24, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm sure that Dpbsmith has pretty much exhausted the information that's available online (and the page currently reflects much of that information), so there's not much left to uncover, but I'll note here what I found. Princeton has a humorous take by John Weeren on this matter here [10]. Some of Penn's early documents are avaiable here [11] (nothing earlier than 1749). There is also a book called University of Pennsylvania: The Campus Guide and of course there is the "Building Penn's Brand article. My reading of these and other online sources [12] [13] [14] [15] indicates that the year 1740 is rather dubious, and is basically an attempt to make Penn appear older than Princeton. While an institution's founding year shouldn't much affect its standing or contributions to the world in present time (as long as the institution is more than a few decades old), there certainly seems to be a loose heirarchy (that goes beyond just who is oldest) associated with founding dates — especially among colleges from the colonial era. Regardless, Penn claims 1740 as its founding date and that is the date that should be used (at least in this article) with a qualifying footnote. However, I'm not sure if calling Penn the "fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the U.S." or something to that effect is supported by the facts.
Actually, I think Penn's decision to change its founding date to 1740 was an unfortunate one, as it obscures the link between the university and Benjamin Franklin's 1749 ideas on education. Penn would have probably been given more credit historically than it has otherwise gotten. That's history, I suppose. btm talk 07:20, 2 February 2006 (UTC)
You're right, and I see a problem for Penn here. Penn says Penn's heritage
In 1749 in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin presented his vision of a school in a pamphlet titled Proposals for the Education of Youth in Pensilvania. Unlike other American Colonial colleges, the new school would not focus on education for the clergy.
From 1740 to 1749, there was a church, built for George Whitefield, an evangelist preacher associated with The Great Awakening, who had unrealized intentions for running a school in the building. From 1749 on, there was Benjamin Franklin and a vision for a secular university.
Either Whitefield's church-and-planned-school and Franklin's secular university are the same institution or they aren't. If Penn wants to have been founded in 1740, then it was founded as a church by firebrand evangelist George Whitefield. If it wants to have been founded by Benjamin Franklin as a secular institution, then it better have been founded in 1749.
Personally, if it were up to me, I'd rather be founded by Franklin and let the Princeton people march ahead of me in academic processions. It's not as if Princeton didn't have to eat Yale's dust anyway. Or Oxford weren't six centuries older than Harvard. And Bologna, let's not even mention the University of Bologna. But then, if I cared about such things I probably wouldn't have chosen to go to a school founded in 1861. (If you believe my school's claims, of course). Dpbsmith (talk) 17:41, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. I'm sure that Penn realizes/admits that its claim as having been founded in 1740 and it's claim as having been founded by Ben Franklin are contradictory. When Penn talks about the ideals it introduced in line with Franklin's vision, it omits the founding year and carefully refers to 1749 as the year in which the university was conceived. But in 1899, the Trustees found a way to leapfrog Princeton in the academic processions, and now there is a delicate balancing act going on. Penn's contributions to higher education in the United States are more important than its founding year, anyway.
I would try to contradict MIT's claims to 1861, but it seems like a waste of time[16]. btm talk 05:11, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
In actuality, MIT was founded in 1853 when Emma Savage Rogers briefly included sewing classes for girls along with the Bible studies she used to teach with Mary Baker Eddy in the basement of the Christian Science mother church. You see, William gave Emma six bucks for pin money, so they listed him as treasurer, making it really the same institution as MIT, and MIT really has every right to march seventy-third in academic processions. But the problem is, nobody could possibly care and therefore people have just been lazily using the charter date instead of really researching the issue. And Whirlwind was far more important than ENIAC. Dpbsmith (talk) 12:44, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Straw poll on how Penn's founding date should be presented

Vote for as many as you think fit.

The body of the article should say Penn was founded in 1740, no qualification. People can read the history section for themselves.

  1. 1740. User:Etumretinw
  2. I have never seen this 1749 date before Wikipedia. Com'n guys, just use the 1740. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

The body of the article should say Penn was founded in 1740, with an explanatory footnote.

  1. Dpbsmith (talk) 22:14, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
  2. Bindingtheory 22:24, 29 January 2006 (UTC) i think the footnote is a good compromise to ease tensions and stop the current edit/reversion war.
  3. btm talk 06:09, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

The body of the article should say Penn was founded in 1749

The body of the article should give both dates, "Penn was founded in 1740 or 1749"

Penn's founding date should be discussed in detail within the body of the article (not relegated to a footnote)

  1. mbecker 18:12, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
  2. Septentrionalis 19:45, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
  3. maxsht9 23:59, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
  4. 1740 is a date invented 159 years after the fact. The correct date is 1749, which Penn has considered correct for most of its history. dcandeto 00:08, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
I think Dpbsmith and the anonymous IP user should each spend the rest of their lives reverting each others one number edits, five times a day, over a matter that is entirely one of interpretation and therefore which can never be definitively solved by anybody.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Amherst5282 (talkcontribs)

"member of the "Big Four" of the Ivy League."

"Big three" is a common phrase referring to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

I seriously question the reality of any common usage of "Big Four" to mean Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Penn.

It is not listed under any of the many meanings in our dab page on Big Four.

Google Books search on "Ivy League" "Big Four" brings up five hits, none relevant:

  • ...A reference to "Ultimate Bet," an online poker site, having "the best interface of the Big Four" (such sites)
  • ...Alumni nostalgia for Cleveland's "big four" (football players... a reference to Cleveland Indians pitchers?)
  • ...A 1933 prediction that Dartmouth would be added to Harvard, Yale and Princeton...
  • ...A reference to a "big four" group of southern schools...
  • ...A reference to Leland Stanford as being one of the "big four" who built the Central Pacific

If anyone wants to reinsert this, I'd like to see good evidence that the phrase "Big Four" is in genuine, widespread use to mean "Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Penn."

Significantly, "HYPP" is not even one of the very dubious initialisms claimed to be in use in College admissions and ranking shorthands in the United States. Dpbsmith (talk) 19:23, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

What exactly is the Big Four supposed to refer to? I've been at Penn for 15 years and never heard the term before in relation to a group of schools. I've been reading through my copies of "Fight On, Pennsylvania: A Century of Red and Blue Football," and "Pride of the Palestra: 90 years of Pennsylvania Basketball," and although I learned quite a bit in the process, I can't find a reference to a "big four" in either of them. (although Penn is certainly a member of the Big Five ) A quick google search brings back groups of schools known as the Big Four, but the list isn't consistent:

  • Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn [17]
  • Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Trinity [18]
  • Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Union College [19]
  • Penn, Yale, Princeon, Brown [20]

and all of them really seem to be trying to associate themselves with the Big Three (not unlike referring to various people as the "Fifth Beatle")

At the very least, a reference to the "big four" certainly doesn't belong in the intro to the article. If you can find some more authoritative references, list them here and maybe it can be added to the history section, or to the Ivy League article. But please don't add it back to the Penn article without more discussion in Talk first. -Bindingtheory 01:46, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Concurring with Bindingtheory, when I look at the references cited:
[21] refers to basketball, and does mention "games at the Ivy league's big four: Penn, Brown, Princeton, and Yale." I can't tell whether this is supposed to apply to athletics in general, or whether it is a comment on the current competitive position in basketball.
[22] is a forum and as such not considered a reliable source. The words "big four" don't appear on the page. I don't intend to read several hundred messages in search of them.
[23] is interesting and refers to an apocryphal story that attributes the origin of the phrase Ivy League to a supposed "1890s alliance among Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Penn known as the 'IV league,' after the Roman numeral four."
[24] is just a reference to U. S. News rankings, with no indication that the schools that currently happen to occupy the top four positions are known as the "big four" or form any kind of group.
None of these justifies a statement in the lead paragraph that Penn is a member of something called the "Big Four." I can't find any other reference besides the basketball story about a "Big Four" consisting of Penn, Brown, Princeton, and Yale.
The "IV League" story says nothing about any group of schools being called the "Big Four." It refers to a group of schools being called, not the "Big Four," but the "IV League," and not as being called that now, but in the 1890s. And, of course, apocryphal means nobody's been able to find any evidence of its being true. I think this story might be appropriate to mention in the Ivy League article as a trivia point.
Never mind, it already is, and "the supposed 'IV League' was formed over a century ago and consisted of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and a 4th school that varies depending on who is telling the story," with references that variously identify the fourth as Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Penn! Dpbsmith (talk) 01:10, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
Ha, poor Brown. JDoorjam Talk 19:28, 7 February 2006 (UTC)
You know it's funny that you mention it like that. I started a topic over on Talk:Ivy League about how the league started and about the curious fact that Brown did not take part in the original proposal for the Ivy League. I'll bet that these two things are somehow related. btm talk 05:54, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Never heard of this supposed Big Four, for what it's worth. And I would expect to have heard something like this at some point as an Ivy alum. In any case, it certainly can't be that widespread. That IV League story is pretty infamous too; I expect many Ivy leaguers learn of it and its subsequent debunking by a number of sources, including Cecil in the Straight Dope. At Cornell, the version is of course, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Cornell (although not with the IV League name necessarily). Uncle Ezra got it wrong for quite a while. --C S (Talk) 05:35, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

It's silly on the face of it, as "IV League" would be pronounced "Four League," not "Ivy League." The true story, of course, is that the nursing schools had an unofficial softball league, and, well, the rest is history...
I was thinking that it might be amusing to try to write a paragraph with the opening sentence "By numerous criteria, Penn ranks fourth," and I think such a statement could be supported with only a wee bit of arbitrary selection and creative jiggering—but I suspect such an effort would not be well received. Dpbsmith (talk) 13:39, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Notable Alumni-Why Choose Short Term Dropouts?

It would seem to me that with so many accomplished Penn graduates, that the lead paragraph should not concentrate on dropouts such as President Harrison, Warren Buffet or Candace Bergen(a flunk out). It would be the same as Princeton empahsizing John F. Kennedy or Stanford highlighting John McEnroe. While the defintion of alumnus of a university in Webster's dictionary clearly includes former students as well as graduates, it seems to me that the former student should have attended the place for some significant time. Harrison's official White House biography does not even mention Penn nor does Candace Bergens' Internet Movie Directory biography. I made the edit and then reversed it, and leave it ot others to decide what is informative and meaningful.

There are a couple of neutral ways to do this. Picking and choosing notable alums according to personal judgement isn't one of them. Here are two ways that are:
a) say that the criteria for being on the list is to be a) notable, and b) an alumnus.
b) Another way—one which I'd be very happy with if there were consensus—would be this: restrict the list to include only alumni for whom there was a verifiable source citation saying that the person had credited Penn with helping them to achieve the accomplishment for which they were notable. Dpbsmith (talk) 03:19, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Big Four, again

I just removed:

It is a "Big Four" member of the Ivy League[25].

inserted by with the edit comment

(I just mean they are one of the top four ivies as ssen by the us news)

First, even if it were true--I honestly don't know whether it is--that U. S. News consistently ranks Penn fourth among the members of the Ivy League, that would not justify coining the neologism "big four." To use the phrase "big four" I'd like to see some solid evidence that this phrase is used idiomatically in this way.

Second, if this were going to be mentioned at all it should be in "Rankings," not in the lead paragraph. To say it's in the Ivy League means something. Having said that Penn is in the Ivy League, to say that among the Ivies, U. S. News ranks it not near the top and not near the bottom but somewhere in the middle is... hardly worth mentioning at all.

Third, the Big Three have—or at the very least had in the recent past—a social class dimension that is not shared by their close rivals. IMHO ugly, but true. This was expressed very plainly in a 1963 book

It is, above all, the national social prestige of the Big Three which is competition with the purely local social prestige of the University [of Pennsylvania]. Upper-class boys from all over the country, including Philadelphia, go to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Only from Philadelphia do upper-class boys go in any significant numbers to Penn. This is of course a universal national phenomenon. The pattern of upper-class male college preference, as deduced from a counting of noses in the various Social Registers, can be summed up as "The Big Three and a Local Favorite." That is, every city sends or has sent its Socially Registered sons to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, in some preferred order, and to one local institution. This order varies. New York sets the pattern with Yale first, Harvard second, Princeton third, then Columbia. St. Louis and Baltimore are Princeton towns. Most other cities (Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinatti) are Yale towns. Only Boston, and occasionally Washington, are Harvard towns.[2]


What year were women first admitted as students? (Alphaboi867 21:44, 11 March 2006 (UTC))

"Big Four" note

Regardless of magazine rankings (1) Harvard, 1) Princeton, 2)Yale and 3) Penn), it has always been Harvard vs. Yale and Princeton vs. Penn. When was the last time you heard otherwise. Everyone knows these universities are older, more prestigious and have better architecture. Name a famous person from Penn, Harvard, Yale or Princeton. Now try to name a famous person from Brown, Dartmouth, Columbia, or Cornell.

Oh, please. Compare the list of Columbia University people to the list of University of Pennsylvania people. Penn hardly dominates the comparison; in fact, Columbia's list is substantially stronger. (Note, for example, Columbia's eighty-one Nobel laureates vs. Penn's twenty-two [Both figures as of late 2006].) Columbia's campus is also more architecturally significant than Penn's. I'm not trying to say that Penn's alumni and architecture are insignificant; on the contrary, Penn is a great university with much to be proud of. Its claim to greatness is significantly stronger when supported by accurate accounts of its own accomplishments than by groundless swipes at those of its rivals.
  • If "everyone knows" this, it should be easy to find some reputable book or magazine article which says this, in so many words. Find it and cite it. I see good evidence for separating Harvard, Yale and Princeton out, but no evidence that Penn is commonly bracketed with them. Dpbsmith (talk) 22:13, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Noted Philadelphia planner, Ed Bacon, graduate of Cornell University. --Boothy443 | trácht ar 22:14, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
There are scores of familiar names affiliated with any Ivy League university... that wasn't what I meant. The problem with the challenge of "naming them" is that institutional affiliations are not particularly memorable. Offhand, I can think of Harold Urey from Columbia, Carl Sagan from Cornell, and let me, see, didn't Barbara McClintock, whose picture is on a postage stamp I like to use, work there... Dartmouth... mostly literary types I think, and I mostly know scientists, so can't think of one...

Here are just two not including anything from Penn, Harvard, Yale or Princeton's archives. [26] [27] Oh, Yes I am aware that Ed Bacon went to Cornell but we must also note that he was rejected from Penn and Yale (he did not apply to Harvard) and he is not famous by a long shot.

The question is: is there evidence that, in the popular mind, there is a well-known stratification of colleges in which Harvard is grouped with Yale and Princeton is grouped, not with Harvard and Yale, but with Penn? That's what's being suggested. I've never heard of this and my casual efforts of checking have turned up nothing of the sort.
Sure, there are sporadic Google hits on occasional use of the term "big four," in which three of the named schools are Harvard, Yale, and Princeton and the fourth school varies. For example, this references [28] says the Big Four were Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Union College (in Schenectady). In the Daily Princetonian we learn that the "big four"—in squash—are Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Trinity. Our article gives citations for a mythical origin of the phrase as a supposed "IV League," consisting of "Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and a 4th school that varies depending on who is telling the story," cited examples including Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Penn.
A telling comment is this one by Sports Illustrated's Frank Deford: Wait, a Big Four in golf? when, recent references to Woods, Singh, Els and Mickelson as a "big four" writes:
I don't think there's ever before been a Big Four, anywhere. Big Threes. Yes. Big Threes are traditional -- going all the way back to the 19th century when Yale, Princeton and Harvard were certified the Big Three of college football. Golf itself had a genuine titled Big Three: Palmer, Nicklaus and Player.
The bottom line is, I've found a source citation—Frank Deford, above—saying in so many words not only that Yale, Princeton and Harvard were the Big Three, but that as far as he knows there's never been a Big Four, anywhere. That I've never heard of Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Penn being the "Big Four" means nothing. That Frank Deford has never heard of such a thing says a lot. Dpbsmith (talk) 13:13, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Here it is:

--- Never had Lafayette defeated one of college football's Big Four -- Penn, Harvard, Yale and Princeton -- by such a margin.

"The contest is the greatest achievement of Lafayette in gridiron annals," the Easton newspaper gushed. [29]

Penn v. UPenn

While many may refer to the University of Pennsylvania as "UPenn," this is incorrect. There is one, and only one, moniker and that is "Penn." And yes, I understand that the website is, but that says nothing about what the correct nickname for the University is. It is Penn, and nothing else User:stanley011

  • OK, but could we have a source citation for that? Where, exactly, did you get your information? I remember Googling around on the Penn website trying to find any kind of branding guide or logo directives and came up dry. Dpbsmith (talk) 21:13, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
  • P. S. Given that both "" and "" are registered to the University of Pennsylvania--same identical "registrant" and "administrative contact"--if Penn cares strongly about it, what is your theory as to why they used the "incorrect" nickname for their website and all upenn email addresses, when they could just as easily have used the "correct" one? Why advertise a misnomer every time anyone at Penn sends an email? Dpbsmith (talk) 21:30, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
It think it's the LACK of official usage, other than internet URLs (which cannot be considered to be an accurate representation of the official marketing practice. Examining the official style guide reflects all "Penn" references, and only references "upenn" in the URL. If you look at other universities (most of which are actually state schools) e.g., the "U" simply signifies "University of". Certainly the University of Michigan is not colloquially called U-Mich, is it? (Wikipedia says it's U.M. or U. of M.) Therefore, due to the abundance of usage of the term "Penn," and a total lack of independent documentation for "UPenn," it is logical and reasonable to conclude that the correct term is "Penn." Documentation of "UPenn" even in unoffical circles, would be sufficient to suggest it as an alternative. - CobaltBlueTony 21:38, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I've heard U-Mich before. I suspect most people not in Michigan would say that instead of "U.M." or "U. of M." (maybe even those in Michigan?). I'm certain I've heard some of their alumni say U-Mich, but that might be some kind of neologism, I suppose. However, it was interesting making Google searches such as [30], which suggest to me that "umich", "u-mich", etc. is used in several different contexts in a pervasive manner. I don't believe that "umich" is being used there as just an abbreviation, although that is a possibility. Lastly, there are blog entries such as [31] from someone in Michigan. Presumably U-M, etc. would be a shorter abbreviation. --C S (Talk) 13:38, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Here's my documentation: user:Stanley011 Actually, I was wrong in my original post. "U of P" is also a correct nickname. But UPenn isn't.

Interesting, relevant... but still regrettably vague as to the "directives set forth in countless University manuals and procedures." It would be nice to have a specific example.
Nor does it answer the very interesting questions raised by the sentence "At the time, the University had not developed Penn as its official name. Variants like the U of P and Pennsylvania floated around. Today, it's Penn without question." Just when, how, and why did the University "develop Penn as its official name?" And how was it known for the couple-of-centuries-plus before then?
I think a flat "UPenn is incorrect" is too strong, if said without qualificatioin. Once we've put the story together, the sentence should say (or reference a footnote that says) something like "UPenn, perpetuated by the Universities choice of domain name, but deprecated by official directive thus-and-such since thus-and-such date...." Dpbsmith (talk) 03:09, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Here is the the University of Pennsylvania's official name stated by the university itself [32]. It includes only "Penn" and "University of Pennsylvania." The whole "UPenn" thing is quite ridiculous. In fact, we do not refer to the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge as "UOxford" or "UCambridge." How can John not find the term Penn. It is practically on every University of Pennsylvania webpage.

Also, I provided numerous sources depicting the "Big Four" (Penn, Harvard, Yale and Princeton). I am not puting Penn before Harvard because I attend Penn. That is just the way the "Big Four" is written. If you do not feel comfortable with the "Big Four" I am fine with that. We do not have to include it. One more thing. I don't mean to be rude but how can you not know that Penn and Princeton have always been rivals?

Stop the presses: here's an explanation of the entire thing, and it looks like it's got something for everybody. The story mentions that, yes, Penn would like to go to only using "Penn", but that they started with "UPenn" way back in the day and now can't shake it. But they also mention that it's increasingly becoming the norm among students at the University of Pennsylvania to refer to the place as UPenn, and that various departments now have "UPenn" across the top of their web pages, implying at least some level of buy-in among the University administration. So I'd say, if it wasn't a nickname before, it's a nickname now. And million google hits seem to agree. Granted, a lot of them are hitting, but, in general, it seems safe to say that the abhored moniker seems to have stuck, regardless of the will of the institution, and should therefore most definitely be included here. JDoorjam Talk 05:44, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

No, that is not what the article states. It used upenn for its internet adress and email system to prevent confusion. It never adopted the acronym. Those who used the acronym on a webpage were new to the university and as of two months ago no longer work for the institution.

It's obviously a complicated story and we should try to piece it together and get it right. I just don't think it's good enough to pontificate that "UPenn is incorrect." Obviously Penn is used by the University itself, as the article has long said. That doesn't mean UPenn is incorrect. As I said before, the Daily Pennsylvanian has got a lot of the story. What's missing is:
  • anything specific about when and how Penn acquired some kind of official status; obviously it did not have that status at the time the domain was named (as the story in fact states). So "Penn" is a relatively young official nickname for a relatively old institution;
  • just what is meant by saying that Penn is "correct" or "official." Did the branding strategy come from the athletic department? From the President's office? where?
  • Anything that says in so many words that UPenn is deprecated. Maybe 90% of the spelling and usage arguments I've had in my life have concluded by consulting a dictionary and finding to everyone's dissatisfaction that both of the disputed alternatives are there, with nothing so clear as a "one is right, the other is wrong" distinction. The Daily Pennsylvanian story seems to fudge this point. It says "All of this is contrary to the directives set forth in countless University manuals and procedures. There are very well-defined conventions for how to refer to the school, none of which permit the use of the ill-begotten 'UPenn.'" There's a big difference between a document that says "Use Penn," one that says "Only Penn should be used," and one that says "'Do not use UPenn.
It's clear that Jeff Shafer (in an opinion piece, not a news article), says "do not use UPenn." But does Amy Gutmann say that? Dpbsmith (talk) 10:52, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
P. S. OK, I've sent emails to Jeff Shafer, writer of the Daily Pennsylvania article, asking for further information. Taking him at his word, "From now on, I'll type And you should too," I tried just to see what would happen, and of course it bounced with the error message "Sorry, I couldn't find any host named" One sent to did not bounce. I'm also trying Nicholas Constan, a faculty source he mentions in his article, and the Office of the President. Even if I get replies, they could not, of course, be used as sources for the article but maybe one of them will know more details. Dpbsmith (talk) 13:19, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

"Penn" "U of P" and "Pennsylvania" are deeply rooted in the history and tradition of the University--"Pennsylvania" is stated in the official song of the University and "U of P" is ubiquitous. "UPenn" was only used after the computing glitch--it has no foundation in the history and tradition of the University. People, please don't be afraid to use plain, simple language--this fear is one of the major problems in our society. "UPenn is incorrect" is the simplest construction and is entirely accurate. The real debate we should be having is whether or not to include "UPenn" in the article at all. I say we should because even though it is incorrect, it is a fairly common misnomer, worthy of being noted as such user: Stanley011

I'm still not clear where "incorrect" comes from, or even matters. It's a very widely accepted nickname for the university; its inclusion here pursues the purpose of the project, which is to catalog such information. If someone was trying to insert a totally neologistic name into the article, such as Penn U or something in a similar vein, I would totally understand the argument regarding its exclusion. However, whether Penn alumni, faculty, and students like it or not, UPenn is a widespread name for the University and should be included here. If an official quotation can be found from the administration saying "UPenn is incorrect," by all means, such a reference should be included—though even then "UPenn should be mentioned. Barring that, however, there really isn't any reason to support an assertion in the article that it's somehow wrong to use "UPenn". I was hoping that the University's web style guide, mentioned earlier in this thread, would make a declaration about the matter one way or another, but there's no instruction within the document to not use "UPenn", yet another glaring omission of instruction on the matter.
I would imagine, on a side note, that use of UPenn has become as widespread as it has because it's a convenient way of quickly differentiating between the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State... but that's neither here nor there. JDoorjam Talk 16:24, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
The comments at the end of Shafer's article make interesting reading, for what they're worth. Dpbsmith (talk) 16:56, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm not very good at using the USPTO TESS trademark search facility, I'd like someone else to check this... it appears to me that doing a "structured form search" and using Penn, field ALL, AND, University, field OWNER NAME AND ADDRESS, that a number of variations on "Penn" and "Penn University of Pennsylvania" have been trademarked. The interesting one to me is this one because I think that might be the earliest, and it says "first use in commerce: 1986." "University of Pennsylvania" was trademarked in 1992, with a claim of "first use in commerce 1894" [33]. UPenn does not appear to have been trademarked. It sort of sounds as if Penn decided to make "Penn" official in 1986. Dpbsmith (talk) 16:56, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Ahh, finally, we're getting somewhere... maybe. Can you file a trademark for a mark you have no intention of using? Nevertheless, if they haven't trademarked the name, then the article probably can say, what, "UPenn is not an official nickname" or something along those lines. "Untrademarked" strikes me as an odd way of putting it, but I could certainly see that being referenced.
I'm finding it really, really, really difficult to find a way to do any kind of online search for "UPenn, but not in a URL." Here's one book reference that shows up in a Google Books search: The Staff of the Yale Daily News (2004), The Insider's Guide to the Colleges, 2005, St. Martin's Press, ISBN 0312323840, p. 819. How to interpret this? Take your choice: the Yale folks are too ignorant to know what nickname to use, or, this is (weak) evidence that students actually use UPenn a lot, regardless of what the college's branding standards may or may not say. Dpbsmith (talk) 17:01, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
This search eliminates most of the hits, and it appears there are a number of publications that use UPenn. It's also clear the University wants to use Penn, not UPenn. So, some language suggestions: "...; UPenn is a widely used but unofficial nickname"? or perhaps "... (also known as Penn and UPenn, though Penn is generally preferred by the University and people associated with it)"? I think we have enough here to craft language that makes it clear the University intentionally and systematically uses "Penn" for all of its official documents and media, but that UPenn is also in wide use (assuming people agree that's an accurate assessment of the facts?).
Ah. Thanks for the search tip. You get even more (and different) hits if you use "U. Penn." At this point I'm convinced that "U. Penn" and "U Penn" have been in widespread and common use for many decades. I think "UPenn" is really the same thing, with the spelling/punctuation/whatever influenced by the domain name and perhaps by logos such as UMass. Dpbsmith (talk) 19:19, 14 March 2006 (UTC) P. S. I've seen a fair number of random sightings of "U. of Penn" as well. Dpbsmith (talk) 19:20, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Ah. Searching on "U Penn" exact phrase is interesting. A Google book search on "U Penn" comes up with IMHO reasonably strong evidence that "U. Penn" / "U Penn" and variations thereof have been in reasonably widespread use for a reasonably long time, and in some fairly formal contexts. It looks as if it might be the _standard_ way to abbreviate "University of Pennsylvania" when citing journal names, for example.
(Apropos of nothing, "Penn" seems to me like an odd choice anyway, because when I think of "Penn" the university is hardly the first thing that comes to mind; I have a lot of other associations, starting with William, of course. (With whom the University of Pennsylvania has no particular connection. Unlike William Penn University). Penn Station, Penn and Teller, Pennzoil... the first Google hit on "Penn" as I write this is Penn National Gaming Inc., ticker symbol PENN.) Dpbsmith (talk) 17:27, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

I am asking nicely please stop with the whole Penn/UPenn thing. You are confusing people. Since when did student columinsts become good sources of information. Personal attack removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Etumretinw (talkcontribs)

I for one think that the Jeff Shafer article is a mixture of good information and personal opinion. I don't think it's an adequate source for UPenn being "incorrect." I think it's a reasonable source for the story on how the domain name was chosen. Dpbsmith (talk) 18:35, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Thank you. I will continue to work on this matter.

dpbsmith said: "when I think of "Penn" the university is hardly the first thing that comes to mind; I have a lot of other associations, starting with William, of course." As fascinating as reading about your mental free association exercises is, they are irrelevant to the matter at hand. Even though you write, "apropos of nothing" it is clear that you don't really feel this way, otherwise you wouldn't have bothered writing it in this section! I have yet to encounter anyone challenge my claim that "UPenn" is as deeply rooted in the history and tradition of the University as "Pennsylvania" "U of P" and "Penn." Just because UPenn is in common usage, does not make it "correct." What makes an organizational moniker 'correct' or 'incorrect', in the absence of an official dictum, is how deeply rooted it is in the history and tradition of the organization. I would like to find a single reference to UPenn before computers came into being--then we can talk. User:Stanley011

Stanley011, please be civil. You are framing the debate such that a shorthand reference to the school can be a correct or incorrect, which is not so. There is at least some acceptance of UPenn as an accepted moniker for the university, both within the ranks of students and alumni (the a cappella group Off the Beat, for instance, refers to themselves as "UPenn's perpetually BOCA-featured a cappella group) and outside of it. It is simply not an incorrect statement to say "The University of Pennsylvania is often referred to as UPenn." Language can be added explaining that Penn is preferred, but "UPenn" definitely belongs in the article, and "incorrect" remains unwarranted.
I agree with you but Smith and Lowe (JDoorjam) believe otherwise. Like I said before, we do not refer to the University of Oxford as "UOxford" or the University of Cambridge as "UCambridge." With regard to the statement wanting to ask Amy Guttman, well she is not a Trustee or an alumus. She was hired to do a job and only a job (run the university). Only alumni can make decisions on such matters. If a group of people in Maine pronounce the name Socrates wrong should we include it in Socrates history? I do not beleive it is correct to include "UPenn" at the top of the article. It is too confusing. I am willing to accept a reference at the bottom of the page stating that "Pennsylvania, " "Penn," "UPenn," and "University of Pennsylvania" have all been used at some point by certain people despite their lack of knowledge. I hope we can come to some kind of agreement. -- Etumretinw
I don't see why not. I agree that the details, which are at the moment quite interesting to you, me, JDoor, and Stanley101, are probably not that interesting to the average reader and probably should go in a footnote and not upfront. BTW I'd definitely add "U. Penn" to that list if you think it's different from "UPenn." The key here is to try to get everything in the form "A says B about C." It's not our job to decide what's correct or incorrect. It's not our job to decide who gets to decide what's correct or incorrect. Who said what about which nickname, and when did they say it? That's what we can say. Dpbsmith (talk) 21:48, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Alumni get to decide what terminology is in common use? UPenn's widely accepted. That's not a decision alumni, or really, any distinct group gets to make. Your analogy is loaded, of course, as you're pre-supposing a small, obscure group of people are pronouncing a name wrong, whereas the "UPenn" issue has to do with a large group of widespread people using a nickname which cannot be said to be right or wrong. If "UPenn" is widely accepted, it belongs in the article; the only thing left to determine is what language to use to describe it. If UPenn is incorrect, what is the error being made, exactly? JDoorjam Talk 21:01, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

My appologies to Smith for the rude tone of my previous post. My passion for nicknames sometimes gets the better of me! I've added the following to the first paragraph: In addition to "Penn," "U of P" and "Pennsylvania" are nicknames with deeply established roots in the history and tradition of the University; In recent years, "UPenn" has come into fairly common usage due to university officials establishing the domain name of the University as "" From what I've gleaned from this post, this should suit everyone's needs, since it avoids the "incorrect" construction. Someone more poetic than I am might want to clean it up gramatically, but the formula that I have used should remain. user: Stanley011

No offense taken.
I don't have a big problem with that language, but don't get upset if people continue to tinker with it. I think it's too long and I think the way to handle this, as with the 1740/1749 stuff, is a short statement in the opening and the details in a footnote.
User:Stanley011, I was missing a nuance. I've been regarding "U. Penn" and "UPenn" as essentially the same.
In any case, we're not going to get anywhere on the "correct" versus "incorrect" business. What we can do is assemble verifiable, sourced facts about nicknames, when they were used, by whom, and what officials said what about them. For example, I doubt that there's going to be an objective measure of what names are "deeply rooted in the history and tradition" of Penn. On the other hand, it would be interesting to find and cite early examples of the use of the nicknames. I agree that when researched it will probably turn out that the spelling "UPenn" without internal spacing or punctuation is probably related to the domain name and probably goes back only to the eighties. I wonder about "U. Penn." Just when did people start using "U." as familiar or affectionate usage? I have an idea it probably goes back no earlier than the 1920s but that's guessing. Dpbsmith (talk) 21:41, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
That sentence seems fair to the nickname issue; for NPOV and brevity reasons I'd suggest paring the first half of the sentence a bit to something like "... and Pennsylvania are long-standing nicknames of the University; in recent years...", but I'll let others take a first crack at that. Good work. JDoorjam Talk 21:44, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

The sentence seems to be too elaborate to be a parenthetical remark. I think the way to handle this is to start a section on nicknames, and leave out any mention of a nickname in the opening paragraph. What do others think of this idea? User:Stanley011

I juggled the parenthetical a little bit and put it in the next sentence, but even there, and smaller, it seems a bit out of place—it slows down the punch of the first paragraph, which is about to dive into Penn's accolades, by giving four other names for the place. OTOH, I'm not sure where else to put it.... Further thoughts? JDoorjam Talk 22:14, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
I've dithered between making it a section, which seems to be giving it more importance than it deserves, and a longish footnote. Either way, If we can resist the temptation to instant gratification, maybe we could try to compose it here before we put it in the article space.
There is still a fact or two I'd like to have, which is one reason I haven't been doing any wordsmithing myself.
  • I think that it is very likely that at some point in time within the last couple of decades, there was some more or less formal decision made to treat Penn as a brand and define formal branding policies. It was probably at that time that it was decided that "Penn" should have some status as the official nickname; probably about the time the first of those trademarks on logos reading "Penn/University of Pennsylvania" was trademarked. (Darn, all those links I pasted in above are apparently just temporary session links). I'd really like to pin this down: when did "Penn" become "official," and who and how?
  • I'm inclined to take the sentence from Jeff Shafer's article—"Ira Winston, the head of computing for the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, was at Penn back then. In the early days of e-mail, he said the University chose upenn.csnet, which mimicked the University of Delaware's udel.csnet address"—as factual, and Shafer's article as a reasonable-enough source, because he ties it to a specific person and while the article is highly tendentious I think a direct quote is likely to be accurate.
  • A new point that has occurred to me: if one consults a standard style guide—I knew I would be sorry I threw away my Chicago Manual of Style—and applies its advice on abbreviations, what is the standard way to abbreviate "University of Pennsylvania," according to the style guide? I betcha a nickel it turns out that it's "U. Penn" and that the frequent appearance of this abbreviation probably influenced the choice of domain name. By the way, how do you get from "" to "UPenn?" "UPenn" looks to me like a combination of the capitalization of "U. Penn" and the spacing (or lack thereof) of "upenn."
  • What are some (sourced, verifiable) early examples of the use of each of the abbreviations? Dpbsmith (talk) 23:53, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
  • A reference to "Penn" in 1905[3]
  • A reference to "U-Penn" in 1990:[4]
  • A reference to "U Penn" in 1991:[5]
  1. ^ noted in The Atlantic Monthly [1]
  2. ^ Burt, Nathaniel (1999) [1963]. The Perennial Philadelphians: The Anatomy of an American Aristocracy. University of Pennsylvania Press. 0812216938.  (p. 86, "...the Big Three and a Local Favorite...")
  3. ^ Crowther, Samuel (1905). Rowing and Track Athletics. The Macmillan company.  [2]: p. 85, "Penn's time was about 9.35 but could not be taken exactly because a boat came between the timer and the finish judge."
  4. ^ Brown, Gary (1990), "Becket's Goldklang discovers baseball more complicated", Sunday Republican (Springfield, MA), Auguest 19, 1990, p. C11: "However, Marvin Goldklang is finding these days that, if there is one way to take the fun out of baseball, it is in being a limited partner with the New York Yankees. Yes, Marvelous Marvin of U-Penn fame is one of the people involved with the fast-moving, ever-changing world of George Steinbrenner, Fay Vincent & Co."
  5. ^ Hartigan, Patti (1991), "They're Black, Gay, and Speaking Up." Boston Globe, December 5, 1991, p. 85. "He spent a year here in the late '70s, fresh out of U Penn, looking for work in local theater."

I noted the difference between "nickname" and "abbreviation" in the opening paragraph. What do others think of my change? user:Stanley011 I have an idea. Let's include the nickname information in the "History" section. It's the appropriate place to add it user: Stanley011

I like the way the current footnote discusses the issue. It provides a bunch of resources for a reader who is interested in this subject to learn more about it, while avoiding obfuscattion of the main points of the lead paragraph. Yet, it introduces the nicknames and official abbreviations in the proper context.
This whole issue reminds me of similar issues at Carnegie Mellon, which has officially discourages the use of CMU [34], but also uses as its domain name. However, I believe that they decided not to use that nickname because other universities who felt they also had a claim to CMU protested. Unfortunately, it looks like the CMU page no longer makes mention of this. btm talk 04:55, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Some links provided by Jeff Shafer

Jeff Shafer has given consent to quote him, so I'm now including the previous contents of this section with his full reply. Of course, per the verifiability policy and the sources guidelines, personal emails cannot be used directly as sources within an article. Dpbsmith (talk) 11:35, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Jeff Shafer replied to my email. I forgot to ask him if it was OK to quote it directly, so I won't, but he provides quite a few data points and links, for which I thank him. Haven't had a chance to digest their contents yet. Dpbsmith (talk) 11:06, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

He says the push for Penn did not begin until the mid-1990s, "Pennsylvania" was used on athletic jerseys and changed to Penn in 2003 at Rodin's request. He says that in athletics "University of ... " anything is never used and this led to "Pennsylvania nationwide as the common syntax and Penn locally in Philadelphia." Dpbsmith (talk) 11:06, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

His email in full:

Subject: RE: UPenn/Penn
Date: March 15, 2006 1:18:20 AM EST

Hello, First, most of the information I compiled when writing this column came from face-to-face conversations and interviews with University officials over the course of several weeks. There are, however, a few links I can provide:

University secretary Leslie Kruhly is in charge of the official documentation for Penn. The secretary's Web site here explains proper name usage:

There are also several other style guides for various schools such as Wharton for using the University's name and identifying marks online and in print.

And yleguide.pdf

As for your second question about branding, Penn undertook a major initiative in 2002 to bring all of its schools and centers together with one identity, which precipitated the adoption of the logo the University uses currently. This was an offshoot of the "One University" initiative pushed by president Rodin. In the Fall of 2002, Penn's Web site was redesigned as were the identities of the various schools. Here's a story from the DP archives for reference: rchive=1 As I mentioned in the column, the administration did not fully start pushing the Penn moniker until the mid 1990s. The athletic department used "Pennsylvania" on jerseys for most sports until, at Rodin's request, "Penn" was adopted in 2003. This was not an athletics-based thing, though. It started with the whole of the administration, and athletics has fallen in line behind it. Earlier most references were for "University of Pennsylvania" in the more academic sense, but in sports context "University of..." anything is never used. That led to Pennsylvania nationwide as the common syntax and Penn locally in Philadelphia, especially a in relation to the Big 5. Hopefully this helps, Jeff Shafer

Original Message-----

From: [37] Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2006 8:11 AM To: Shafer, Jeff Subject: UPenn/Penn

In your article, 839822 , "Get rid of the damn 'U'", you say that UPenn is incorrect, plain and simple. You say: "All of this is contrary to the directives set forth in countless University manuals and procedures. There are very well-defined conventions for how to refer to the school, none of which permit the use of the ill-begotten 'UPenn.'"

I'm working on the Wikipedia article about Penn, and this issue has come up in discussion. Can you provide some references, preferably web links, to University sources that address this issue? In particular, I at least see a meaningful differencs between saying a) "The University itself uses Penn," b) "Penn is preferred,"c) "Use Penn," d) "Use _only_ Penn," and e) "Do _not_ use UPenn." The most interesting citation would be one that says specifically, e, not to use UPenn.

The second point I'd like to pin down is that your article implies that the specific "Penn" branding is, in fact, fairly recent and was not in effect in the 1980s. When exactly did it occur and in what circumstances?

Finally, at least some universities are very concerned with branding issues in connection with the athletic program, which is almost a business, and exert corporate-like control over team logos and so forth without necessarily extending that concern outside the athletic program. Was the "Penn" branding an initiative of the university as a whole, or of the athletic department?

Wordsmithing the opening sentence?

Is there a reason why people keep switching the subtitle to include UPenn? No one at the University refers to it as such.

I'm thinking the sentence in the opening

Penn is the moniker used by the university itself[footnote]

might be expanded to

Penn is the moniker used by the university itself and specified in its branding guidelines. Other nicknames, notably UPenn, are used in unofficial circles.[footnote]

I've changed my mind, it works pretty well as it stands. See below for vacillating thoughts... Dpbsmith (talk) 15:19, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

The subtlety I'm trying to convey is this: what I've seen so far supports

"the university says to use Penn in any context establishing Penn's brand,"

but not

"the university says don't you ever ever dare use UPenn"


"Penn is right, UPenn is wrong and every time you say UPenn, Franklin weeps.

Problem is, as written this sentence could be interpreted to mean that Penn is sort of like the Susan B. Anthony dollar, foisted by officialdom against popular sentiment. I've been trying to figure out a way to say succinctly Penn is very popular independent of its official endorsement, and also that Penn is historical.

Penn is the historical moniker used by the university itself and specified in its branding guidelines. Other nicknames, notably UPenn, are used in unofficial circles.[footnote]

has the problem that I'm not sure how to support the phrase the historical moniker, while an historical moniker again sounds as if maybe the University is sticking to an outdated archaism.

Penn, the most common moniker, is used by the university itself and specified in its branding guidelines. Other nicknames, notably UPenn, are used in unofficial circles.

is getting to be too long and I'm not sure how to support the phrase "the most common." Dpbsmith (talk) 13:22, 16 March 2006 (UTC) I also think you have to specifiy what you mean by "official" v. "unofficial" circles, because we saw that there's an official, student group at Penn that uses "UPenn." user:stanley011

How about:

Penn is a common and long-used moniker which the university uses itself and specifies in its branding guidelines. Other nicknames, notably "UPenn," are also used.[footnote]

Dpbsmith (talk) 15:11, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

On second thought... "Penn is the moniker used by the university itself[footnote] works. Not many people will care, and they can read the footnote. Dpbsmith (talk) 15:16, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

My opinion does not count for more than anyone else's, but as the person who sparked this debate, and as the leading (former) proponent of the "UPenn is incorrect" camp, I thought I'd let you all know that I am very pleased with the result we have now. Good work! User:Stanley011 18:27, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, I joined this discussion rather late, but anyway, here are my personal observations. When I matriculated at Cornell in 1997, a lot of people there used "UPenn". This included people who had friends and relatives at ahem, Penn, and also people who had relatives and friends at the various Ivy League schools. So I started using "UPenn" also. Toward the end of my stay at Cornell, I had noticed by that point, that some people used "Penn", but still many used "UPenn" (I guess old habits are hard to break). So it certainly matches the info from the above investigations into the matter. As an interesting observation, let me point out the inconsistent usage of "Penn" and "UPenn" in the Cornell Daily Sun: [38] [39] both use Penn but also UPenn somewhere in the article, [40], only uses the full name and once mentions "UPenn". These articles are from a few years ago. --C S (Talk) 13:24, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

William Henry Harrison was a) notable, and b) an alumnus.

CaveatLector removed William Henry Harrison from the section on "notable alumni" with the edit comment "William Henry Harrison attended the medical school for 4 months before dropping out, which i don't think i enough for alumni status)." But, as I've noted before, our article on alumnus and the dictionary definition of "alumnus" is (e.g.) "a male graduate or former student of a school, college, or university."[41] Alumnus does not imply graduation, it merely implies attendance.

Harrison was a) notable, and b) an alumnus. The right thing to do is to annotate the entry explaining the situation, which I've done. It's possible that the main text, and not just the footnote, should note that his attendance was brief. The detail that he was forced to do so by his father and left as soon as his father died is relevant, amusing, and might be thought to be very slightly embarrassing to Penn, but "notable alumni" ought not to mean "notable alumni who reflect well on the school." Dpbsmith (talk) 19:38, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

My intentions were based off of the (what I felt common) conception that, in order to have alumni status, one must attend the school for at least 2 years (or 4 terms). However, in light of alumnus I see that this was probably mistaken. CaveatLectorTalk 20:22, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Removal of Ed Paris from Notable Alumni section

Does being "Doctor of Medicine and first cousin of singer and actress Dinah Shore" warrant including Ed Paris among the notable alumni in this article? I don't think so, so I've removed his name.

Should he be included in List of University of Pennsylvania people? Dpbsmith (talk) 20:04, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

P. S. Presumably he is an OD, since the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine does not award the MD degree. is it correct to describe an OD as a "Doctor of Medicine" or should the term "Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine" be used? Dpbsmith (talk) 20:08, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Actually, when Paris graduated, which was in the early 1940's the PCOM did award MD's, which he indeed receieved Stanley011 20:11, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

I stand corrected and am striking my comment above. Dpbsmith (talk) 20:20, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Actually, do not strike your comments for it is I that stand corrected. Eddie Paris receieved a DO, not an MD from the PCOM. I believe he might have receieved his MD in California when he practiced hand surgery there, but I'm not 100% sure he ever receieved his MD. He receieved his DO from the PCOM Stanley011 20:28, 28 March 2006 (UTC).

I say he should definitely be included somewhere in the article. He was a very well-known hand surgeon in California and was the first cousin of Dinah Shore, as the entry mentioned. He died a few years ago. Stanley011 20:35, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

IMHO your best chance of getting this accepted is to find and cite a good, verifiable, third-party source (book, journal, etc.) that says he was a very well-known hand surgeon. I don't think being Dinah Shore's cousin is even worth mentioning unless he had some well-defined impact on her career and work, or vice versa. And I happen to be old enough to remember the Dinah Shore Chevy Show... and "Buttons and Bows" and "Love and Marriage." Dpbsmith (talk) 21:27, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
In the Ed Paris article it might not be a bad idea to give his full name—unless "Ed Paris" is his full name, which if so should be mentioned—and his birth and death dates. Dpbsmith (talk) 21:30, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

I re-inserted the entry back into "notable alumni" because I feel strongly that he belongs there. However, if someone were to make the case that he should be listed instead under University of Pennsylvania people I would certainly be very open to putting him there Stanley011 20:49, 28 March 2006 (UTC).

His article is up for deletion, and his only notability is being a relative of someone famous, without any involvement or noteriety on his own. Why is this person "notable"? JUST for being related to someone famous??? - CobaltBlueTony 21:33, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Nope. He is also a noted hand surgeon, as his page indicates. I figured I'd include him under notable alumni, but maybe the list of Penn people is betterStanley011 23:03, 28 March 2006 (UTC).

Unless there are objections, I decided to strike the Ed Paris inclusion until I am able to acquire some good sources. If there are any serious objections to me striking him out, let me know, because I've been persuaded by dpbsmith that we need some sources before we can include him here Stanley011 23:16, 28 March 2006 (UTC).


I've noticed that the first superscript denoting a footnote is "3." Wouldn't the more logical place to start be "1?" Is there anything we can do to fix this?

The Washington Monthly

A user, Etumretinw (talkcontribs) keeps on removing a part of the Rankings section pertaining to The Washington Monthly, on the basis of that "out dated information" and "2005 data; need 2006 data". While the article in question, and the information, were published in 2005, they can not be considered out of date. First of the article was only published in September 2005, the publication has yet to publish new rankings for 2006, so how can the information be considered to be out of date. The argument that the we are now in 2006 is moot, it would be placing an expectation that all ranking publications publish their rankings on New Years, which is ludacrist, and is for the most part not the case. I would considered it outdated when either the publication has updated the rankings or a year has passed since the initial publication of the rankings. If anything the addition of rankings besides that of U.S. News gives the article and the section more balance by expressing differing opinions in the the "rank" of universities . --Boothy443 | trácht ar 06:16, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Has anybody got anything to indicate, one way or another, how seriously Washington Monthly rankings are taken? I understand what they are—a guerrilla attempt, and one I applaud, to direct attention to less-self-serving characteristics of universities—but do high school seniors use them in selecting universities? Do high-school guidance counselors mention them? Obviously I'm skeptical, but these are not rhetorical questions and I'm willing to be convinced.
I first became aware of the Washington Monthly rankings because one year, MIT ranked number one, the MIT news office promptly put out a press release, and someone promptly put it into the Wikipedia article on MIT. Since then, I've seen a certain amount of activity which appears to me to consist of supporters selectively including the Washington Monthly numbers when they are higher than the U. S. News numbers and selectively removing them when they are lower.
MIT's ranking in Washington Monthly seemed to fluctuate wildly from year to year; in fact the article[42] noted that "MIT leaped from near the bottom of the pack three years ago to near the top today." The curious thing was that the article didn't point to anything in particular that would explain this "leap," neither did the MIT press release trumpeting their position, and none of the discussants on the MIT talk page were aware of anything in particular that had changed to give MIT more of a national service orientation.
I had, and continue to have the impression that Washington Monthly's methodology is even more questionable than that of U. S. News, if that is possible. There seemed to be a consensus, which seems to have held, that the MIT article did not need to mention the Washington Monthly rankings.
But, valid or not, there would be a point in including them if the Washington Monthly rankings are widely known and influential among graduating high-school students and their parents and advisors. But are they?
Those who wish to include the rankings: I challenge you, without peeking at the Washington Monthly website or at our article about it, what do you know about Washington Monthly apart from the fact that it publishes university rankings?
What sorts of articles does it run?
Can you buy it on your local newsstand?
How many digits are there in its circulation figure; is it in the ABC top 100? (Hint: U. S. News' is about 2,000,000).
Would it be most accurately describe as a news magazine, a literary magazine, a political magazine, or an opinion magazine?
"Washington" suggests "politics," so it is fair to ask: does it have a particular political point of view, and, if so, what? :
If it does, then is there a counterpart on the other end of the political spectrum that also ranks colleges—or would you say that U. S. News and Washington Monthly represent symmetrical, balanced points on the political scale?
Obviously, my current opinion is that Washington Monthly rankings are not "for real" and don't belong in any college articles, but I'm willing to be convinced otherwise. If someone assures me that the major college guides (other than U. S. News, of course) take the Washington Monthly rankings seriously and include them, that would be pretty convincing. Dpbsmith (talk) 18:01, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
My only concer was it was being removed on a un-fair basis, that being that the information is out of date, as for the content of the report or the repution of it's publisher thats another issue alltogether. --Boothy443 | trácht ar 05:12, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Econ scream

I don't seriously doubt the accuracy of this, but per the verifiability policy, like everything else it needs to have a source citation to a published source, and it should stay out of the article until someone can take the trouble to provide one. (The same applies to most of the other material in "Traditions.") Dpbsmith (talk) 12:40, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Material removed: Econ scream

At midnight on the eve of the first Microeconomics 001 midterm exam, hundreds of students ease their frustrations by participating in a shout in the Quadrangle. Some bold students have even been known to streak through the Quad, one student even dared to hobble naked on crutches.[citation needed]

This is most definitely a tradition that has been going on for over a decade...I've participated in it. Below are some penn citations, eat it.

In addition if you go to Penn's website ( and search "Econ Scream" you will find multiple links and accounts of the event.

  • As I said: 1) I don't seriously doubt it's accuracy, and 2) it does needs a source, like everything else that goes into a Wikipedia article. (Your own participation is irrelevant; Wikipedia articles are based on material already published in reliable sources, not on the personal authority of its editors). Now that you've provided sources, you can put it back in the article. Dpbsmith (talk) 09:57, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
  • 1) I don't know why you didn't put in the references when you put in the item. 2) Neither of your references mentions nudity; you need a source for that. It is your job, not mine, to "go to Penn's website ( and search 'Econ Scream'" before inserting the item. As the Verifiability policy, linked under every edit box, notes: "The obligation to provide a reputable source lies with the editors wishing to include the material, not on those seeking to remove it." Find an account that describes the streaking, and put the URL between square brackets in the Wiki text like this: []. The sources go in the article, not here. Dpbsmith (talk) 10:06, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Leader in sports? in arts, humanities, kitchens, sinks, ...

The sentence

Penn has been recognized as a leader in the arts and humanities, the social sciences, architecture, engineering and education[43]

was recently edited to read

Penn has been recognized as a leader in the arts and humanities, the social sciences, architecture, engineering, sports, and education.[44]

On checking the reference to see whether it supported Penn's being a leader in "sports," I found that it is merely a link to the U. S. News list of "National Universities: Top Schools." So, not only does it not "recognize" Penn as a leader in sports, it does not call out Penn as a leader in the other fields listed.

In this context does it mean for Penn to be a "a leader in sports?" Presumably it means, not that Penn's athletic teams are superior, but that Penn's sports management program is superior. Is this correct? Does Penn even offer degrees in sports management? I couldn't seem to find anything like that on Penn's website. This article Wharton takes on sports suggests that if there is such a thing it is very new.

What does it mean for Penn to be "a leader in education?" Again, in this context, it presumably means, not that Penn educates well, but that it has a leading school of education. This does seem to be supportable[45].

I still don't feel very good about this sentence. It seems to me to be a pretty generic list of the bigger schools you'd find at any university. Are these really the things for which Penn is particularly noted?

It seems to me that if Penn ranks #4 overall, the fields that are worthy of mention as being famous Penn strengths would be fields in which Penn rates #4 or higher, i.e. the fields that tend to pull its overall rank up (as opposed to those that tend to pull its overall rank down). If Penn is #4, then it's not surprising to find that Penn is #4 in something.

When I read that University of Cincinnatti was ranked #3 in architecture on two lists [46], I say "Gosh! That certainly makes architecture a notable strength of the University of Cincinnatti. When I read that Penn ranks #4 on one of those lists, I say, "Not surprising for the #4 university in the country"; when I see that it is #8 on the other list, I say "Obviously Penn has an excellent architecture school, as you'd expect, but is this something worth calling out in the lead paragraph?"

Which fields are obvious, well-known, particular Penn strengths? Dpbsmith (talk) 13:28, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

As for the user who pointed out UPENN being ranked 8th overall in Architecture, and that being a reason for the effacement of architecture being mentioned as one of the University's strong suits, the editor's and heads of Design Firms in the very same article you've been kind enough to provide the link for, ranks UPENN's School of Design (the actual name of the school) as being 4th overall. Beside the rankings being from 2003, and therefore void in 2008, the Editor's re-reanking and the Design Firm poll is a far more telling sign as to where the School actually ranks and to how the school is actually viewed in the architectual world. Beyond that, the School of Design boasts household names in architecture, and we currently have some rather notable faculty who teach not only in the School of Design, but at Wharton (Real Estate) and the College of Arts and Science (Deconstruction, Critical Theory). UPENN's endowment is growing daily, as we recently have moved into the top ten for that honor, as well. PENN was ranked as the number one overall college a few years ago by US News, then fell to 4th after Harvard and Princeton (tied for 1st), and Yale (3rd); recently we were ranked 4th, then fell to 7th, and are currently ranked 5th. Are Literary Theory Program is not ranked at all, but this is because it's a Program, and not a Department, such as they have at UC-Irvine, Duke, UC-Berkeley, and Yale. Are Medical School is ranked 3rd, Wharton is 1st for undergrads, 3rd for grads, and 1st for Real Estate, and our School of Law is ranked 6th. I attended Columbia before transferring to UPENN and have found it rather ironic that Columbia is considered "better" by the layman - the big names at Columbia are never there and at UPENN they are - UPENN's reputation among faculty and students of top-tier schools is almost universally high. To call Yale a better school simply because of its name is rather silly, but that doesn't stop people from engaging in such things. Overall, no one would knowingly lay claim to UPENN's being anything but an excellent College, and the matters being brought up on this discussion page seem wrong from the start. In the end, it's what each person gets from their respective College that matters most, not that College's ranking. The opening comment on this discussion page, the one asking whoever started this entry to "slow down" when they wrote about UPENN being one of the foremost Colleges in the World, is one of the oddest things I've ever read on Wikipedia. The University of Pennsylvania is a wonderful school, and its name will bring about oppurtunities for its alumni that would not otherwise be available had they attended a College without a reputation such as UPENN has - when you get into the top 15, do these arguments really matter? They seem to serve little purpose, unless the purpose to begin with was to attempt to belittle those who attend whatever College is being insulted. The person who wrote that they'll "most likely" be attending Yale come next fall, and that Yale is "better anyway," needs to understand that they have an undergraduate degree from Rutgers, a fine school no doubt, but surely not as fine as the University of Pennsylvania (unless you're a Philosophy major, then Rutgers is the place to be-for grad students, that is).

Notable alumni list growth

As in a number of other articles, the list of notable alumni grew, became too large, was split off into a separate article... and is now growing, growing, growing without bounds again. The list of notable alumni on the main page should be very selective and should consist only of true household names requiring almost no explanation... or better yet, if there is no way to agree on a selective, short list, let's avoid having any kind of list in the main article. People keep dropping in and adding their faves, and there seems to be no obvious way to set a limit.

If the list is too long as a sentence or a paragraph, then it is certainly way too long in bullet-item format. Dpbsmith (talk) 22:00, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Episcopalian Chapel on the third floor of College Hall?

A slow-motion revert war has been taking place at Ivy League between a non-logged-in user,, and others. This user does not engage in dialog other than in edit comments, and I find this user's conduct very annoying, but the points are interesting.

This user keeps changing the description of Penn's founding affiliation from "nonsectarian" to "Episcopalian and Quaker." In one edit comment, 19:18, 12 May 2006, he explains that he is countering a "jew conspiracy to make a Christian university nonsectarian." In a recent edit comment, he says:

Third floor of College Hall at Penn has an Episcopalian Chapel. On the wall states that Penn was founded and founded by the Anglican Church of England. Go there and read it.

Now, some of the reference he has supplied in the past have actually been quite interesting, although in several cases they have not, in my opinion, turned out to say what he said they said. For example, he cited an article [47] in support of his thesis; when examined the article turned out to say a number of things, including: "From the circumstances of its origin it is non-sectarian: the first American university founded without administrative relations with any religious sect.... It has never had a chair or faculty of theology.... Had Franklin been an active churchman, had Pennsylvania been identified a hundred years ago with a powerful ecclesiastical polity, without doubt the influence of the University would have been as great in the West as that of Harvard or Yale. At last the academic world has caught up with Franklin's ideas. Harvard and Yale have long been non-sectarian. Ecclesiasticism, sectarianism are vanishing from American university life."

Anyway. What does it say, exactly, in the Episcopalian Chapel on the third floor of College Hall? (I have a notion that it will turn out to say something vague about some of Penn's founders being Anglicans, which of course is quite a different thing from saying that Penn was sponsored by or affiliated with the Church of England). And, does anyone have a reference meeting the WP:V standards for what it says (i.e. one that can be checked without travelling to Penn?) Dpbsmith (talk) 18:36, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I just emailed University Archives. Will report back... DMacks 04:39, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
...and Mark Lloyd, Director of UPenn's University Archives and Records Center promptly responded (and I hope he'll forgive this public posting a large chunk of his email!):
When Penn moved to West Philadelphia in 1872, it constructed a new College Hall which included a large chapel on its second floor. Though services were conducted there by ministers of several different Protestant denominations, the Episcopal liturgy was predominant. Regular chapel services at Penn ended in 1911.
I am not aware of any inscription or plaque at Penn that claims the University was founded by members of the Church of England. Penn's colonial charter was expressly non-sectarian (so too, is its current charter). It should be noted, however, that members of the Church of England formed the voting majority of the Board of Trustees throughout the Colonial and early National periods. Whenever any religious ceremony was conducted, it was conducted according to the Church of England / Episcopalian order of worship. In many ways Penn was de facto Episcopalian, but never officially.
So what semi-official religious activities existed were Episcopalian. However, the university itself wasn't. I think I'll take this official word over that of an anon poster, who actually can't even get his facts right about the chapel's location. second floor, and was there...the space has since been recycled for various other uses over the years (including being the home of the geology department for a time[48]). DMacks 19:14, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
Thanks! I think I can no longer assume even a modicum of good faith (pun intentional) on the part of this particular anon, since this is the second or third time he's cited references that didn't say what he said they said. There is quite a difference between being de facto Episcopalian and being officially Episcopalian. The College of William and Mary is an example of a college which was officially Episcopalian (Anglican) and, for example, required all of its professors to subscribe to the XXXIX Articles. Franklin, of course, self-identified as a deist. Dpbsmith (talk) 20:36, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

The best source to counter the above assertions is by citing Edward Potts Cheney's famous History of the University of Pennsylvania: 1740-1940 (every Penn student should be required to read this as it is a veritable encyclopedia) which validates the non-sectarian founding, but with a multi-sectarian Board of Trustees. However, the chaplaincy at Penn has traditionally been connected with the Protestant Episcopal Church simply due to he fact that until recently (and by this I mean in the last 50 years) a slim majority of students were Episcopalians. Also, there has been much Episcopalian influence on the university e.g. Bishop White House in the Quad, the statue of The Rev. George Whitfield in the upper Quad, the former Philadelphia (Episcopal) Divinity School being just off campus (42nd & Spruce), the theology library in Van Pelt being under the care of St. Clement's Episcopal Church, and the fact that many provosts and notable figures in the university's history have been Episcopal clergymen. But again this is more due to the formerly large numbers of adherents to this church. Miguel 16:42, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

IS&B page

hey guys i'm an incoming freshman for the class of 2011 (currently on deferred status due to my country's military service requirement) i know the jerome fisher page is languishing and up for deletion but i really thought that much more could be said about huntsman as it is a relatively younger program and thus offers a much better opportunity for a comprehensive coverage including history and alumni listing now rather than later. I am also organising available information from both the huntsman program and wharton website as it is very disorganised and unhelpful for prospective applicants and incoming freshmen alike - in terms of the gritty details like actual minimum per-semester courseload. So yes there is going to be alot of repeat stuff but hopefully reorganised in such a way as to serve as a better and directly useful supplement for those who would want to know a whole lot more about the program minus the obfusticating sales pitch. its also my hope in publicising the creation of this page that current and ex huntsman students can post up their own facts of each class. i couldn't get any hard stats on admissions stats so i had to post up speculative estimates that should give the reader a rough idea of what he is in for. (their website does not offer this). Hopefully the page can develop into a very detailed resource for 1) prospective students to find out its plus (and minus) points, admission selectivity, and courseload requirements, 2) incoming and present students to plan ahead and learn from the achievements and activities of predecessors, and 3) alumni to establish a "where are you now" level of networking (also serves as a good base for future wikipedia links as these alumni go on to make a name for themselves). I myself am a new wikipedian and quite inexperienced with all this metawiki stuff so the image and organisation of the page could use alot of help too. hahaha k better not say too much. the value's in the doing. ahwang 17:24, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Gibraltar Airport

Is it just me, or does the main page for University of Pennsylvania have the entry for Gibraltar Airport? Can someone please fix this.

It's not limited to this page. There appears to be some serious database problem here. Looking at the latest version from the page-history page gives the correct contents. And even editing the current page (with the "wrong" contents) gives the correct contents in the edit box. DMacks 19:23, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Seems fixed now? DMacks 20:29, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Removing the gallery section

Objections to removing the gallery section per this discussion on Penn State's talk page? Thanks, GChriss <always listening><c> 14:13, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

I added the gallery section back. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 04:47, 24 July 2006 (UTC).

Yes, but I am curious: why? GChriss <always listening><c> 05:11, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
[Edit summary for "GChris, please do not remove the image gallery. It allows the reader an inside look at the university."]
I think all of the pictures are gorgeous, but more than enough to illustrate the article. The ones in the main text give an "inside view" rather well, and I consider Wikipedia to be more of an encyclopedia than an image gallery. (And the Commons, which is linked to the article, to be more of an image gallery than an encyclopedia.) Anyway, I won't remove the gallery again, but please see Spangineer's comments here. Thanks, GChriss <always listening><c> 05:27, 24 July 2006 (UTC)


Consider triming down the large "Traditions" section and creating a Traditions of the University of Pennsylvania article or something like that. --Xtreambar 14:17, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Good idea! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 04:48, 24 July 2006 (UTC).

University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State University Disclaimer

Personally, when I came across the first disclaimer, I wanted to remove it because I beleived it caused confussion. For example, when you first see the University of Pennsylvania wiki page one, right away, encounters Pennsylvania State University. However, I thought a disclaimer could be useful if it was stated in a certain way that would avoid confussion. Thus, I created the following:

"You may be looking for the article on the “state-related” Pennsylvania State University, this is a separate institution from the private University of Pennsylvania, which is a member of the Ivy League."

Please discuss before you change someone's edits. Thank you. -- (talk

Whatever. First, we're not talking about a disclaimer, or we shouldn't be, but about disambiguation.
Second, I believe the reason why we're having a problem with stability is there are two things going on.
There is a legitimate reason for a disambiguation notice. To someone not familiar with the American university system, it is quite possible to think that, say, the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State University are different names for the same thing. After all, it's also called Penn and UPenn. To best serve these people, the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State University articles need to have mutual disambiguation notices.
But mixed into this is the desire to insinuate something about the relative status of the two institutions. For example, I at least suspect that some of the people that keep removing the notice are implicitly saying that Penn is so great that nobody could possible confuse it with Penn State. The current wording puzzles me because I am completely baffled as to why the disambiguation notice should mention that Penn is in the Ivy League.
I think the two dabs should be similarly worded and symmetrical. Just warn the reader that there's another, and link to where it is. They can glance ahead and figure out whether the one they have is the one the want.
I'm not averse to tuning the wording, but I don't believe the present wording is perfect, nor that there is consensus that it should be left exactly as it is.
I do feel strongly that a dab of some kind should be there. And IMHO it should be as short as possible, as unobstrusive as possible, and should completely avoid saying or implying anything about the comparative status or merits of the two institutions. Dpbsmith (talk) 16:37, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
I am not picky about the wording, as long as it is factually correct and not too wordy. And that it exists. Thanks, GChriss <always listening><c> 17:47, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

While I don't have a complaint about the specific disclaimer statement, I think these statements are used very inconsistently throughout wikipedia. How come there's no statement to separate U of Califcornia from CA state U? Pagasaeus 21:55, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Because Penn and Penn state are often confused. If this is the case between U Cal and CA state U, then there should be a disambig there as well. CaveatLectorTalk 23:19, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

"The Compass" and "The Button" have been unsourced for a couple of months... I'm parking them here until someone cares to source them.

The Compass

Showcasing their superstitious side, Penn students avoid stepping over the tiled compass on the scenic Locust Walk. Supposedly, the compass serves to guide freshmen through their first year; stepping on it will put a student in danger of failing midterms or finals. According to popular myth, the only way for a freshman to reverse the "curse" is to have sex under the sculpture of a button in front of the Van Pelt library (a tradition in and of itself).[citation needed]

The Button

It is an oft-proclaimed goal of Penn undergraduates to have sex underneath the Claes Oldenberg sculpture of a large split-button in front of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library sometime before they graduate. The button is said to have popped off the vest which Ben Franklin wears in his statue directly across from the sculpture.

According to the Penn Tradition cards published by Penn, "Oldenberg once told the Philadelphia Inquirer that 'the Split represents the Schuylkill. It divides the button into four parts--for William Penn's original Philadelphia squares.'"

  • See, it's really difficult to source, as "everybody" knows it, but no one's bothered to write it down. It falls under common knowledge for a good number of students, faculty, and employees at Penn and the surrounding neighborhood, though, so shouldn't that be enough? - CobaltBlueTony 15:33, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
If everybody knows about it, then it shouldn't be hard to find someone to write it down ;-)
From the policy: "It often turns out that most people don't actually share this knowledge." Thanks, GChriss <always listening><c> 17:52, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
If the bottom line is that nobody has bothered to write it down, then, according to the verifiability policy, at least as it currently stands, it isn't suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia. Dpbsmith (talk) 18:49, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
FOUND A REFERENCE: Daily Pennsylvanian archived article - CobaltBlueTony 19:11, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
Another: reference that stepping over the Compass could cause one to fail midterms - Daily Pennsylvanian archived article - CobaltBlueTony 19:30, 25 July 2006 (UTC)


Good. I put them back in the article, in shortened form (including only the statements that seemed to be supported by the Daily Pennsylvanian articles). Dpbsmith (talk) 21:10, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

"The Red and the Blue"

The following details have gone unsourced for a long time, so I've removed them:

As an unofficial Penn tradition, the song is sung especially loudly when competing against Ivy school rival, Princeton University,[citation needed] and with different lyrics when competing against Brown University.[citation needed]

Dpbsmith (talk) 21:10, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

As a former member of the Penn Band during the mid-'90s, I have to agree with the removal of this one, unless this was peculiar to some other generation. The only similar tradition I know of regarding this song is that the Harvard Band had written some extremely offensive alternate lyrics of which I only remember the most offensive part. (N.B. that I did NOT write them): "Fair Harvard has her Catholics, Old Yale her coloreds too, but here at Pennsylvania we're 90% Jew. To hell, to hell Pennsylvania! To hell with the Red & the Blue..." This was courtesy of a former friend in that band. Miguel 16:27, 1 June 2007 (UTC)


I use the latest NACUBO endowment stats (4.37 Billion) and Cocuran uses not referenced stats, and *I* will be blocked. I don't see any argument.

  • He's right, you know. A source should be cited for the $5.148 billion if that's the number that's going to be used. Where did that number come from? Dpbsmith (talk) 20:43, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Dablinks for Pennsylvania State University and University of Pennsylvania

Whatever wording is used, I feel strongly that

  • Either both articles should have dablinks, or neither should.
  • I think both should, because to anyone who doesn't live in the U. S. or isn't familiar with the peculiarities of university names, it is really is confusing. It is very, very plausible that a European might believe "University of Pennsylvania" and "Pennsylvania State University" are two different ways of referring to the same institution.
  • The purpose of the dablinks is to resolve a real issue of confusion for readers, and not to make any tendentious points about the relative status of the two institutions.
  • The two dablinks should be worded symmetrically and neutrally.
  • The most obvious distinction between the two institutions is that the University of Pennsylvania is private and Pennsylvania State University is public. Because of legal intricacies, that may not be completely accurate; I'll bet that the University of Pennsylvania has some quasipublic aspects to it, for example, and can't conduct itself exactly the same way a fully private institution would, but that's close enough for a dab and it's the language people commonly use.
  • The dablinks should not say things like "for the Ivy League university, see University of Pennsylvania" because that seems to me to be trying to make a point about status, and it's not the most neutral way to identify the two institutions. Furthermore, readers who know what the Ivy League is are probably familiar enough with U. S. universities as to not need the dablink. Dpbsmith (talk) 14:10, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

I created similar "dablinks" for Penn and PennState. Here they are:

  • This article is about a private university in Philadelphia. For an unaffiliated, "state-related" university, see Pennsylvania State University.
  • This article is about a "state-related" university. For an unaffiliated, private university in Philadelphia, see the University of Pennsylvania.

Etumretinw (talk) 31 July 2006 (UTC)

I find those perfectly acceptable. I have a small problem with the phrase "state-related" university because it's an unusual locution. I realize it's the wording Penn State itself uses: "Today Penn State is one of four 'state-related' universities (along with the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, and Lincoln University), institutions that are not state-owned and -operated but that have the character of public universities and receive substantial state appropriations." But I think "This article is about a state university" is clearer, even if slightly less accurate.
I see that currently, though, as I write this, the two articles do not have corresponding dablinks and once again Penn feels compelled to make sure that the dablink points out that it is an Ivy League school in a big famous city, even though you'd think that a glance at the first sentence of the article might be enough to clue people in. Dpbsmith (talk) 22:55, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Just FYI, the first one is an identical wording to the {{Otheruses4}} template, so I changed the University of Pennsylvania page to use it. There's some political debate about actually using Otheruses4 vs Dablink[49], so not sure I should have done that. But anyway, I concur that there should be dablinks of some sort, and I like the convention of mentioning the local page first ("this is...; also see somewhere else"}. DMacks 21:47, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
I have no opinion at all about dablink versus otheruses. All I care about is that the sentences in the two articles be succinct, neutral, and genuinely helpful to anyone unaware of the subtleties of U. S. school names. It's really not necessary to say anything along the lines of
This article is about UMass/Dartmouth, one of the less-good campuses of the UMass system, a really quite decent state university system that almost made it into the U. S. News top quarter. For the venerable Ivy League school of whom Daniel Webster famously said It is, Sir, as I have said, a small college. And yet there are those who love it, see Dartmouth College.

DMacks 21:47, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

By itself, "Ivy League" doesn't push an opinion of the schools, even if Ivy League schools have an overall solid reputation. I think we have done as much as we can with the following:
"This article is about a private, Ivy League university in Philadelphia. For an unaffiliated, "state-related" university, see Pennsylvania State University."
"This article is about a "state-related" university. For an unaffiliated, private Ivy League university in Philadelphia, see the University of Pennsylvania." Thanks, GChriss <always listening><c> 12:53, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

  • No strong objections if the Penn State editors don't have any... but I don't understand why it's considered helpful for the dablink to say that the University of Pennsylvania is in Philadelphia, but not considered necessary for it to say that Penn State is in University Park. Nor do I understand how it is considered helpful for the dablink to mention Penn as being in the Ivy League. I still read the above wording as saying "for the big-deal university see University of Pennsylvania." Dpbsmith (talk) 16:03, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
I can answer one of your questions: Penn State is described as being "One University, geographically dispersed." We have 24 commonwealth locations ("branches", but don't say that word!). Our most visible campus is in University Park, PA. While I could go either way on "Ivy League", it is one of the most obvious distinctions we have between the two schools. Thanks, GChriss <always listening><c> 18:58, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Got it. Would I be correct in assuming, then, that University Park would be the "'flagship,' but don't say that word?" :-) Dpbsmith (talk) 19:19, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

William Penn University

...refers to itself as "Penn." It was once known as Penn College, then William Penn College, then William Penn University. Thus: Multi-faceted construction project on Penn campus, Penn people, Penn alumni association (not its formal name), Osky’s Snowbarger signs with Penn volleyball team, etc. It's not clear to me why they call themselves a "university," incidentally; it apparently has 750 undergraduates and about 800 adult students. They state that "Founded in 1873, William Penn University is a private, liberal arts college[sic]"[50] and say that it is a "Carnegie Class Baccalaureate II" institution. But "In January 2000, William Penn College officially became William Penn University. The new name reflects the growth of the institution as it expands to meet the educational needs of its constituencies."

I certainly don't think this needs a dablink! But I'm wondering whether anything should be said in the footnote about the "Penn" nickname? Dpbsmith (talk) 19:43, 1 August 2006 (UTC)


I also created a redirect page.

Etumretinw (talk) 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Spring Fling

So, um, why is there no mention of Spring Fling? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 08:05, 1 August 2006.

What exactly is the Spring Fling? Can you provide any references? If it is important, I'm sure it can be worked into the article. Thanks, GChriss <always listening><c> 23:05, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Spring Fling was a major party in the Quad during the Spring where you got seriously f ed up. I graduated in 87' so who knows....--Tom 00:47, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
Spring Fling is still a tradition here at Penn. I don't have time to edit it into the article, but here is a website from SPEC (Penn's Social Planning and Events Committee, which oversees fling) that explains the history and is really a great source for someone who wants to add it into the article. CaveatLectorTalk 05:46, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Penn's Endowment, revisited

Please give a source for this number.

Also, as with the Cornell's number, it's really misleading to compare 2006 numbers with other universities posting 2005 numbers (the latest NACUBO). Somebody actually inserted 5 billion for Cornell into a 2005 listing of endowments here on wikipedia, and placed them a very misleading 10th. If Cornell and Penn jump almost a billion in endowment in one year, everybody else did too! Harvard jumped 5 billion just this past year (to 30 billion).

Anyway, again, please show a source for the endowment number. Otherwise wikipedia is a front for propaganda.

  • I personally agree a source should be cited. "A front for propaganda" seems a little strong to me. Dpbsmith (talk) 19:51, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Re Source for Penn's $5.148 billion endowment?

I agree, this revert war is quite silly. I personally do not know where the $5.148 billion figure comes from. I suspect that it is a non published figure from someone who works for or within the University. Most likely an undergraduate student who has access to Penn's records. I also concur that the number used needs to be cited. The only reason I reverted the figure back was because I believed that it was the agreed upon figure. In hindsight, even though the current figure is almost three years old, we should use that number unless someone can provide a source (on or off line). Either or will do. Best. Etumretinw 19:58, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

  • There are no official releases of the endowment yet because the 2006 fiscal year has not ended. (Yet despite this, the Cornell page shows the current non-2005 endowment, as noted above). --Pagasaeus 03:26, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Unsourced addition to "The Button"

It is said that having sex under the button will negate the bad luck acquired from walking over the compass."

Very likely. Particularly, I'd imagine, said by young men to naïve young women who have just walked over the compass. (Or hey, by persons of either sex to naïve young persons of whatever sex the person of either sex is attracted to. Attacted to whom. By the person. I mean).

But: who, exactly, says this? Please do not reinsert without citing a source. I'm perfectly happy with the Daily Pennsylvanian as a source, but I'm not happy with the personal testimony of Wikipedia editors as a source. Dpbsmith (talk) 20:37, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

This is rather frustrating, since this such a well known legend on campus that many people don't even bother referencing it in newspaper articles or such and of course Penn's official offices won't detail this. I have found several DP articles that DO mention 'sex under the button', though I'm not particularly sure why you're not satisfied with personal testimony for urban legends. Wouldn't the actual Penn students who are editors here remove such a reference if it were false? Does their expertise and experience hold no value? How does one source an urban legend anyway? CaveatLectorTalk 21:49, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
Hi CaveatLector, believe it or not, EVERYTHING on this site is SUPPOSE to be sourced even though 99.99% of it isn't. If it ain't sourced, editors have a right/duty to ask for referrences. If they are not provided, the material should be removed. Urban legends could go under its own section, therefore people know they are legends as opposed to "fact"?? Please read....Wikipedia:No original research and Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not and Wikipedia:Verifiability......what year are you? I am class of '87. --Tom 23:07, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
For the record, the first time this item appeared in the article, around May 2006 or thereabouts, I or someone else just marked it {{citation required}} and let it sit. After two months nobody had provided a source, so I removed it.
Sorry, just read that you graduated, congrats! --Tom 23:09, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Tom, but I have read those Wiki policies, I'm just rather frustrated with the apparent belief on wikipedia that a google link magically makes something a 'fact' of some sort. I'm not quite sure how something like an urban legend CAN be cited. Nobody assumes that it is a 'fact', as in actually describing an event. All this happens while I grab my head in pain at the goings on of Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Closed_loop_relationship where a source has been given but not accepted as an academic source (even though it's an academic journal). I'm confused about the apparent belief that a random somebody on Wikipedia's belief or opinion is equal to a community of Penn alumns or students in statements regrading things such as campus legends. Perhaps this is a more general problem I have with the kinks of these wiki poliicies. CaveatLectorTalk 23:37, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
google links mean sqwat. Reliable sources better. Also, why are urban legends hard to source? I was a Folklore and Folklife major at Penn so maybe they don't phase me as much?? Cheers --Tom 23:47, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
ps, beliefs/opinions/first hand accounts/ect/ect are ALL equal in being worth ZERO...--Tom 23:50, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia's verifiability policy is a logical consequence of trying to build an encyclopedia without restricting contributions to credentialed authorities. In practice, it is amazing how often two editors will flatly disagree about a fact that they both say "everybody" knows. (People claiming to be Philadelphians flatly contradict each other as to whether a "real" Philadelphia cheesesteak is made with provolone or Cheez Wiz, for example). On the other hand, everybody can check as to whether or not the Daily Pennsylvanian printed thus-and-such a thing (independent of whether that thing is true or false). When people try to find sources for "unwritten" lore it is amazing how often they succeed, particularly if they are university-trained people who have access to a good research library and know how to use it. Barring that, of course, Google Books can be very valuable. At Wikipedia, the advantage of possessing expertise is not that people will defer to it, but that expertise makes it easier to find and cite the right sources. Dpbsmith (talk) 00:26, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Well said..also, I thought you were going to say "Genos or Pats" as far as the Cheesesteak goes...and for the record, definately Genos :)..--Tom 00:41, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Does this work as a better source? JDoorjam Talk 23:22, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

No, as there's already a source for "It is an oft-proclaimed goal of Penn undergraduates to have sex underneath" The Button. What you found is a perfectly good additional source for that statement. I'm asking for a source for the specific detail that the bad luck caused by walking across the Compass can be cured by having sex underneath The Button. I'd be happy to see this in the article... if sourced. Dpbsmith (talk) 00:35, 8 August 2006 (UTC)


A great deal of the article's text, the order of the sections, and all of the images seem to be taken verbatim from -- is this a case of plagarism, or permissible use? ellF 13:25, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

You've got that backwards -- the article is mirroring Wikipedia (and apparently also claiming copyright). Look at the bottom of the page, and you'll see "Source: Wikipedia." -- Rbellin|Talk 17:38, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Water Buffalo

The following DP article references that the speech code was changed: For the record, Penn's speech code protects 'hate speech'. CaveatLectorTalk 22:50, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Admissions Selectivity

The last sentence currently reads:

Penn, among other "selective" universities, has been the center of controversy over their admissions, apparently ignoring the standard criteria for admission (SAT scores, transcript data, etc.) for the children of the privileged, rich elite.

I removed this as opinion piece and got replied with "rmeoving cited material is disingenous and antithetical to spirit of WP:RS and WP:V".

This is one source, which can not even be accessed without registration. I have worked in the admissions office at Penn and know this not to be true but you know what, that means sqwat. What matters are reliable sourceS with an S. I still belive that this is an opinion piece. What scientific measure did this arthor use?? Who are these privileged, rich elite? Inclusion of this type of unscientific, conspiracy, POV, original research is why alot of wikipedia is a joke. Just so I understand, Penn lets in dumb rich elite kids and keeps smart poor lower class kids out. Right? And no jokes about my spelling since I am an alumnus. --Tom 20:58, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

  • Who to believe more...a former admissions guy from Penn who probably likes the place since he's an alumnus or journalistically neutral publications like the Economist and the Wall Street bet, would be for the reporters. You can't use scientifically measure when you're looking something that isn't legacy admissions. I know for a fact, knowing many Penn alumni, including many undeserving idiot offspring (people who should have barely ended up at a community college) that got into Penn (or Princeton) while people statistically more qualified (GPA/SAT/etc.) got wait-listed. At least you knew that it was alumnus unlike most of your Ivy League colleagues. Just because they're shooting at your alma mater doesn't mean it's a conspiracy, or POV, or original research. Wikipedia, likewise, isn't an admissions office includes controversy as well as the pretty stuff. —ExplorerCDT 21:41, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
A source is a source. You don't remove a sourced statement just because you don't like the source. The Economist certainly meets our reliable source guidelines. Now, of course The Economist could be wrong. But, if Penn's admissions are in fact purely meritocratic, you should find a source that says so, and add that statement to the article... with its source. Sources should be described well enough that readers can evaluate them for themselves. If Penn's admissions department sent out a press release saying the Economist's article was a bunch of hooey, then I think a summary and citation of that press release would be good addition to the article... particularly if the press release were carried by a respected news source.
That's how the neutrality policy works. Dpbsmith (talk) 22:42, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
I just read the full Economist article (oddly, the title changes when one subscribes?), and two things strike me. First, it's a third-party book review, not an actual scholarly article. And second, nowhere does it mention "Penn" or "Ivy" at all. It may be a WP:RS, but hardly appears to qualify as a WP:V in support of the statement it's being used to support. DMacks 00:04, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
Good, then remove it. As far as the editor above talking about idiot offspring who went to Penn, thats rich coming from somebody who attended...Rutgers???--Tom 01:13, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
There we go again, another guy dissing a school where kids can actually spell. Not only did I get my BA, magna cum laude, but next year I'll likely be at Yale for graduate school (better place than Penn anyway...and a nicer neighborhood). Also, when I wrote the Rutgers article, I did include some discussion of the negatives the school is plagued with, instead of wanting it to be a whitewashed admissions office brochure. —ExplorerCDT 01:42, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't want this article to be a "whitewashed admissions office brochure". As long as its sourced, verifiable, and fair, NPOV, go for it. When somebody adds that there is a fire storm of controversey over letting dumb rich elite kids in, thats needs to be seriously backed up, thats all. I really don't give a rat's ass to be honest. Also, just kidding about Rutgers, I know what a truely great school they are. Anyways, I am done with this, cheers!--Tom 14:36, 22 December 2006 (UTC) ps. my spelling SUCKS but I know it and usually use a dictionary or spell check, can Wiki please get one for us dumb, rich, elite Penn guys :)
If the article doesn't specifically mention Penn, then remove it... and shame on Explorer for misrepresenting the content of his source. Dpbsmith (talk) 01:31, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps, but the WSJ articles the Economist article examines, mention Penn, the Ivies and a few other institutions. The WSJ articles should be added to that reference. Besides, it's not my source anyway. It was someone else's addition to the article and Tom saw fit to remove it just because it ultimately shows Penn in a bad light. Not that there is ever a good light in West Philadelphia. —ExplorerCDT 01:42, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
Guys, please keep your (no doubt warranted) passion for your respective almae matres directed at article improvement rather than cutting remarks. We have enough article-related challenges to deal with and shouldn't need to defend against CV-bludgeoning on the talk pages. (Besides, at a certain point it will inspire Dpbsmith to create witty backronyms for MIT to explain why his is the fairest of them all, and then things will really spiral out of control.) JDoorjam Talk 02:18, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Heh. MIT. People do have to go somewhere. Where the women are so much like the men, the men have to build mates out of transistors, motherboards, and newly-invented varieties of latex. At least they know how to prank people at Harvard, that passable community college in Cambridge. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by ExplorerCDT (talkcontribs) 02:33, 22 December 2006 (UTC).
ExplorerCDT, please re-read JDoorjam's above comment. Your comments are simply not productive here. Thanks, GChriss <always listening><c> 03:45, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
  • And you've got no sense of humour, GChriss. It's obvious the last comment was in jest. I just wonder where you went to read for your bachelors. —ExplorerCDT 03:48, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
  • I took the remarks about MIT as in jest. But on the whole it's best not to make that kind of joke. There's always at least a trace of hostility in any joke, and interactions in online discussion groups, where you can't see body language, tend to make perception of intent less reliable than in face-to-fce discussions. Dpbsmith (talk) 11:21, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Clever anagram...wish I had that much time. Checking through WSJ archives to properly source and expand the line in dispute. —ExplorerCDT 01:38, 24 December 2006 (UTC)
    • I did find this to be interesting, that 66% of legacies are admitted. The statement that they "ignore admissions" criteria for the "privileged, rich elite" still isn't justified, but that is probably a statistic worth mentioning. JDoorjam Talk 01:59, 24 December 2006 (UTC)


I drastically cut down on the boostercruft presviously present in the Rankings section because of numerous uncited statements, the claims were unverifiable ("the departments of...are also extremely well regarded"), likely CoI/POV selection bias in choosing which rankings to admit and which to exclude, reformulation of rankings to boost their numbers within the Ivy League subsection. If you do not like the current edit, then by all means remove the section - no one disputes that Penn is an outstanding school: the obsession with rankings belies one's own insecurity about identity. By and large, the consensus among most editors is that any rankings are POV and should be excluded, but given their prevalence in articles, they should be contained to one section and the claims comprehensively cited. See WP:Prestige and WP:Peacock for more. Madcoverboy 02:01, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

This appears to be turning into a bit of a disagreement. User: has reverted the edits a few times citing vandalism, which does not seem to be the case. The rankings section as edited by Madcoverboy looks valid to me, as there had been a good deal of unreferenced material in that section. Unless there is a legitimate reason to talk further about this, Madcoverboy's edits ought to stand. I would like to avoid the vandalism accusation game if we can. Ar-wiki 18:49, 16 April 2007 (UTC)


A few days ago I added the other nickname to the page and it was deleted. Any reason why? Every university publication from the Practical Penn to the football programs list the other nickname of the Penn teams as The Red & the Blue. Heck, every school song does as well. Cornell (Penn's traditional rival before P'ton came along) chose their nickname, The Big Red, as an affront to ours (unlike the Dartmouth Big Green who used to be the Dartmouth Indians before politcal correctness came along.) Here are some song references:

"Figh on Pennsylvania, put that ball across that line. Fight you Pennsylvanians there it goes across this time. Red & Blue we're with you and we're cheering for your men..."

"Hurrah, hurrah Pennsyl-va-ni-a! Hurrah for the Red & the Blue!"

"Cheer Pennsylvania, cheer evermore. We're here to see the Red & Blue score and score..."

Miguel 16:18, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

This needs to be sourced more thoughly it seems. It seems that we should stick with the one nickname/mascott for now until concensus can be reached. Has then be discussed before?? Seems like it :) Cheers! --Tom 17:55, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

So an official university publication doesn't constitute a reliable source? LOL. I will e-mail the University Archives to get their take. Miguel 17:55, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Does the source say that the red and blue is a nickname of the school? If not, this sort of falls under original research, imo. Anyways, --Tom 14:08, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it is listed as a nickname in The Practical Penn as well as in the programs distributed at football games. I have seen it in several other places. Did you not attend Penn? This is sort of common knowledge there as the announcers at football and basketball games sometimes switch back and forth between referring to Penn as "The Quakers" and "The Red & the Blue". Granted, I probably noticed more than most since I was at almost every football and basketball game with the Penn Band... Miguel 16:16, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

The verdict from the University Archives is that The Red & the Blue is not in any way an official nickname, but it is used as a nickname to refer to the Penn teams:

"Red and blue are the official colors of the University of Pennsylvania. They are occasionally used in vernacular speech (and have been used historically) to refer to members of Penn's sports teams (perhaps even to the whole student body) but they are not to be confused with "the Quakers," the more or less oficial nickname applied to the University's sports teams since the 1890s."

Does anyone think this warrants inclusion in the article? Miguel 01:13, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Hi Miguel, Yes, I was class of 87'. Since you researched this, if you would like to add mention of this, it doesn't bother me. Can you provide links to the material you cited above? If so, that would help alot, imo. Thanks! --Tom 12:46, 6 June 2007 (UTC)


Oddly, I see no mention of Penn's athletic rivalry with (traditionally) Cornell and (recently) Princeton. Am I the only one who read the history section of the football programs? (Granted I did major in history...) Miguel 16:29, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 03:39, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Penn named after place and not person business

I removed this section. The moon is not made out of cheese either. So?--Tom 14:48, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Quakers.jpg

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Quakers.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 09:13, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

An aesthetic question re: the navbox

Hi. I created the {{Penn}} navbox last year, and I recently came by to update the original design with the new navbox standard for its underlying code. Another editor has, in the meantime, put forward an alternative design based on the default, lilac-colored navbox layout, also with the updated coding. He thinks my formatting is out of line with the navbox guidelines; I think his formatting is harder on the reader than necessary in terms of both general aesthetics and readability. I leave it up to the active editors of this page to decide which version works better for the Penn article series. The versions are:

{{[[Template:Navbox |Navbox ]]}}


{{[[Template:Navbox |Navbox ]]}}

Everything of substance is identical; this is only a question of formatting. --Dynaflow babble 05:39, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

I've changed the colors per the older version of the template. I left the image on the right because when it's on the left it throws off my point of view and I think it looks more concise on the right. The header doesn't need to be increased in height and the additional text of 'Philadelphia, Pennsylvania' underneath 'The University of Pennsylvania' is unnecessary. Feel free to revert if the changes are unwanted. --ImmortalGoddezz (t/c) 19:27, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

The Other Logo looks better

I prefer the last logo that was on this article. The one that replaced it looks a bit plain. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:16, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

The dearth of color did make it look a bit stark. I could not find a full-color version of the seal, so I did a crude, two-minute GIMP job on the blue and white version from the infobox to add red in the appropriate places and to make the image use a transparent background. If anyone has access to the officially-colorized version of the seal, please feel free to upload a replacement on top of the current file. --Dynaflow babble 00:13, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

I went to the university's visual graphics website and uploaded the official color version of the University Seal. Meganfoxx (talk) 02:20, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

I believe the current logo is not the correct one. What we want to display is Penn's shield, namely, this one:

This is congruent with the shields that are displayed in other Ivy League university pages. The current logo is the seal of the Board of Trustees, and it's not the most common seal by which someone would identify with Penn.Horowitz00 (talk) 01:34, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't particularly care which logo is used, but I think the shield is beyond the "threshold of originality" and is therefore eligible for copyright. I've tagged the version uploaded to Commons for deletion, and uploaded a "local" version for English Wikipedia use. Esrever (klaT) 04:01, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
I dosen't really matter what looks better or might be beyond the "threshold of originality", or is like other Ivy League schools. According to the U Penn Logo Style Guide the Seal is the official symbol of the university. (talk) 19:03, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, I decided to wade into the Style Guide you mentioned, and found this little gem (which refers to the image you prefer): "The University Seal is the official legal seal of the University. Its only use is for authenticating signatures on documents issued or authorized by the Trustees. It should not be used on any other documents." The shield-and-banner version has this note attached to it: "The purpose of the Shield is primarily decorative, and may be used for those occasions when the logo is deemed inappropriate. It is also a way to identify the University as part of the 'Ivy League.'" Given that the university has expressly forbidden the use of the seal outside of documents issued by the Trustees, I've reverted your change. Esrever (klaT) 19:13, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
I'd just like to comment that the seal is to be used as the main infobox image, and the shield-incorporating logo ought to be used for the logo parameter of the infobox. It doesn't matter what other universities' articles uses and it doesn't matter if "only the trustees" use the seal. It's the seal, it's on the diplomas, and it's to be used in the infobox. --inquietudeofcharacter (talk) 00:16, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, to quote the WP:UNIGUIDE: "All institution articles should utilize {{Infobox University}} to provide the basic details about the institution, preferably with an image of the institution's official seal or coat of arms." The shield is the coat of arms, so it's no more or less appropriate than the seal, at least as far as the guide goes (and it's a guideline anyway, not a policy). I was simply noting that the seal is perhaps not most representative of the university, at least from a visual identity standpoint. Esrever (klaT) 00:25, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I'm familiar, but the coat of arms bit was meant for UK universities, which often utilise coats of arms instead of seals, while some US universities don't have coats of arms. That discussion's enshrined in the UNI talk archives, and the language was incorporated to take that into account without necessarily specifying the UK v. US bit. You're absolutely right, Esrever, that the seal doesn't present the marketing face of the university, which is why there's a separate logo parameter. It's also true that the seal being used before wasn't actually the seal, but the coat of arms. It's a tricky situation, much like my own alma mater. --inquietudeofcharacter (talk) 00:34, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Actually, all of the above may be a moot point. In looking again at the university's style guide, what we're all referring to as the seal may in fact be nothing more than the shield "in circular format". The seal may perhaps be a different item entirely; namely, the stack of 7 books. Now, having said all that, I would object to any combination of the following images being included in the infobox: File:UPenn seal.png, File:UPenn logo.png, and File:University of Pennsylvania shield logo.png. I do so on the grounds that we shouldn't be using two non-free images when any one such image would do (see the non-free content criterion #3a). Esrever (klaT) 00:37, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry about the edit conflict, Esrever. I'm glad you discovered it, too. :-) I'd agree with an objection to the combination of the same coat of arms. I actually uploaded the real seal to the file that says it's the seal. --inquietudeofcharacter (talk) 00:40, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, I would have waited to see if those particular edits had consensus before I either uploaded a new version of the seal or added it to the article, but c'est la vie. This has occupied enough of my time today as it is. Esrever (klaT) 00:41, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Sorry if I upset you, Esrever. I was being extra WP:BOLD because I felt that the UNI discussion established some consensus. I hope you like it anyway. --inquietudeofcharacter (talk) 00:46, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Once again, I strongly disagree with putting the Seal at all. inquietudeofcharacter, I don't think you have provided any strong reasoning at all for the use of the Seal. You have resorted to the absolutist claim that it doesn't matter what other universities' articicles use and to the arugment that "it's the seal, it's on the Diplomas". Of course it matters what other Ivy League universities have, since we should be aiming for congruence accross articles, especially for Ivy League Universities. Further, obviously the Seal is on the diplomas, because the diplomas are certified by the Board of Trustees which uses the Seal for legal authentication, as correctly pointed out by Esrever. Unless you provide other strong reasons for using the Seal, I stronlgy suggest that you switch to the Shield, on the basis that (1) it is congruent with other Ivy League university articles; (2) It is the most representative of the University; (3) the style guide that you cited clearly specifies the uses of the Seal, and this is not one of those uses. Regarding the duplication matter, I don't agree with it either. There is one place in the infobox for the "shield/coat of arms/seal/however you want to call it" and there is another space for the "logo". I think the most adequate choices are File:University of Pennsylvania shield logo.png for the "shield" and File:UPenn logo.png for the logo. If you still want to avoid the duplication, then I suggest this for the bottom part: For what it's worth, I am a recent graduate of Penn and would adventure the claim that what I suggested makes the most sense and would be more supported by the University community. If you still disagree, then please allow me to consult with the media communications office at Penn to have an official response on the use of the Seal as inquietudeofcharacter intends.Horowitz00 (talk) 04:49, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Horowitz, you seem to have mistunderstood me, so I'd be happy to clarify. My argument is based on college and university article guidelines, while yours is based on an argument to avoid. Simply put, we can't base standards on articles that haven't undergone peer review and don't meet standards already in place. In fact, I'm in the process of fixing the articles you're improperly using as examples (if you want examples of peer-reviewed articles, check WP:UNI for some FAs) but I'm not omnipresent and can't accomplish this work instantly. So, to address your numbered points: 1) Irrelevant; 2) Subjective and POV; 3) Irrelevant. I understand that you agree with yourself and consider your opinion to be sensible, but that's just not acceptable reasoning in this case. Re: the third point, I appreciate your willingness to contact your alma mater, but the images are being used under a reasonable claim of fair use and no permission needs to be sought. --inquietudeofcharacter (talk) 05:31, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
inquietudeofcharacter, fine, your argument is based on the guidelines. As you said, the guidelines state "seal or coat of arms". It's not clear at all that "seal" implies that you should use the Seal of the Board of Trustees. Further, there are current FA articles that don't strictly adhere to the guideleines in the way that you interpret them. For example, consider the Duke University article, which is FA. The Duke article uses this: which is in fact Duke's shield. As you can easily verify, the official Duke Seal, as used by the Board of Trustees, is the following: If we take an FA article as a guideline, then this article shows that "seal or coat of arms" does not necessarily have to mean that the Board of Trustees Seal is the most appropriate choice. You can claim that the Duke article is also wrong, but this would be weird since it is FA in according to the guidelines that back up your argument. So I contend that this shows that the guidelines do not support your argument that the Seal of the Board of Trustees is the most appropriate choice. The fact that the Duke article made it to FA with that shield just emphasizes the point that the guidelines are not clear enough to back up your arugment. In this respect, I would even suggest changing the guidelines to clarify this issue.Horowitz00 (talk) 06:56, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) I responded to ElKevbo's argument below, but the point, I think, can be made twice. Yes, we aren't bound by what a particular institution says we can or cannot do with its seal/logo/shield/whatever; we can claim fair use on those things. But if we're looking to include the image that most "increases readers' understanding of the topic" (WP:NFCC), then shouldn't we be looking to use something that is visually representative of the university? While the seal represents the university's imprimatur, if you will, the logo is something that people are going to actually connect to Penn. It's recognizable and in widespread use (even painted on bridges in West Philly). The seal is used on diplomas. Esrever (klaT) 11:42, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

The argument that is commonly made is that we strive to use the seal on all college and university articles so this is really about consistency. It's not a perfect argument (counterexamples have already been presented above) but that's the crux of the argument.
I politely suggest moving this discussion to WP:UNI where it can be more broadly addressed by a larger group of editors. I, too, question our fetishization of seals that are barely recognizable and rarely used as the most prominent visual identifier in our articles. --ElKevbo (talk) 11:48, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a university publication

While it's somewhat interesting and informative in some debates, that an institution's internal guidelines limit the use of a particular graphic has little or no bearing on how we use that graphic in our articles. Wikipedia is not a university publication and we don't have to abide by (and in some cases should explicitly reject) the guidelines laid out by the organizations about which we write.

And for those who may want to make a more legalistic argument ("But the university says we can't use their seal without permission!"): Fair use trumps university guidelines and wishes. In other words, we don't need their permission. --ElKevbo (talk) 10:34, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the above, of course, especially as regards fair use. But there's no reason to think (as in the particular case above) that the "seal" of the University of Pennsylvania is somehow more representative of the institution than the logo the university's approved for that use. That is, after all, what the fair use guidelines are for. We're looking for an image that is visually representative of a particular institution. While we can use whatever image we choose (provided there's a fair use rationale), doesn't it make more sense to choose an image that's plastered all over every document the university produces and is, in fact, painted on the bridge over the road leading to Penn's campus? Isn't that an image people are more likely to recognize than a seal that appears only on diplomas? Esrever (klaT) 11:36, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
That's a different discussion altogether. My intention was only to debunk the common argument that "Their style guide says we can't do this!" --ElKevbo (talk) 11:44, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
In response to Esrever here, I agree that the coat of arms is more prominent, but a) it's not as if the seal never appears anywhere -- it appears on diplomas and is the official seal of the corporation -- and b) it's not as if the shield appears nowhere in the article -- it's in the infobox. In response to ElKevbo above, I think taking the discussion to UNI would be just fine. That's what we ended up doing with the same argument at Tulane University when an alumnus/alumna expressed similar concerns over using the seal because of trademark and use. Since then, however, it looks as though other affiliated persons have had quite a nice time with its use. So, should we revive Wikipedia_ talk:College and university article guidelines#Infobox and logos, as well? You and I were both part of that discussion, Kevbo. It was a very short discussion, sure, but it was based on discussions over at other articles, as well as an archived discussion on US v. UK (seal v. arms) at UNI. Shall I see you all over there, then? --inquietudeofcharacter (talk) 15:40, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Framing the question in terms of "the institution says we can't do this" is a losing proposition and one to which I would probably never accede. But framing the question in terms of "should we be doing this and why" is a valid approach and one I would support as I don't understand our obsession with official logos that few people recognize or use. --ElKevbo (talk) 16:19, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Oh, I agree! Wikipedia certainly isn't a university publication, as you said, Kevbo. I also agree that the "should we" and "why" questions are excellent ones! I only disagree with the characterisation that using seals is an obsession. In fact, if you were to ask me, saying that using an official seal is an obsession is like saying that using proper spelling and grammar is an obsession; I like to spell well and use proper grammar, but it's not an obsession and I don't lose any sleep over that or the matter of university seals. I guess I'm also super confused because you seemed to support that language in the guide before, Kev. Do we still plan on taking the discussion to UNI or UNIGUIDE for a broader conversation? I think it'll be a good one. --inquietudeofcharacter (talk) 17:52, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, UNI or UNIGUIDE would be better places if we're going to broaden this conversation beyond this one article. Would you like to do the honors or shall I? --ElKevbo (talk) 18:05, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
If you don't mind doing so, that would be wonderful. Since I was the one to go through with the UNIGUIDE update last time, I guess I'm just a little bit afraid of biasing the discussion from the start. I'll still contribute, of course, but I highly respect your ability to be fair and even-handed here and would like us to start off on that foot. That, and I'm also in the middle of something here. :-) --inquietudeofcharacter (talk) 18:12, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Done. And thank you for the compliments! --ElKevbo (talk) 18:43, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
WTF Inquietudeofcharacter an IDIOT. TY FOR PWNING his illogical arguments::: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) DMacks (talk) 16:45, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

Penn not given its due

This seemed like the perfect place to ask about why Penn doesn't receive the credit it deserves in terms of academic and international recognition. Even though it consistently ranks high enough to be recognized, it still has a pretty rough image in comparison to the rest of the Ivies. Is it because too many people confuse it with Penn State? Is it because it's in a rough part of town? Or is it because it's named after a place/state rather than a person? Heck, even University of Chicago gets more respect than Penn. I hope that the new campaign the school just launched will spruce up Penn's image and bring the school to the forefront of academic prestige. I think that its about time Penn is known for something more than just Wharton. Anyone else agree that it's time for Penn to shine? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:56, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Welcome to Wikipedia. I am glad to see you are interested in discussing this topic. However, as a general rule, talk pages such as Talk:University of Pennsylvania are for discussion related to improving the article, not general discussion about the topic. If you have specific questions about certain topics, consider visiting our reference desk and asking them there instead of on article talk pages. Thank you. --Dynaflow babble 00:35, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Inadequate history

I don't have the time, knowledge, or desire to fix this myself but the history section of this article is entirely inadequate. What happened during the 19th and 20th centuries??? --ElKevbo (talk) 23:34, 18 January 2009 (UTC)


Should there be a section about campus lore/hijinks/mythology? TGordon (talk) 00:26, 2 March 2009 (UTC)tdarling '73

Penn's Endowment

Did Penn's endowment shrink? I could've sworn the school raised an extra 2 Billion from it's new Campaign. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:10, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Why does someone keep removing Fels??

Under the section that lists which schools at the University offer graduate programs I keep putting the Fels Institute of Government which offers an MGA degree but someone keeps removing it. I was wondering why this person is doing that when Fels is a degree conferring graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:58, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Fels isn't a standalone graduate school; it confers degrees through the School of Arts and Sciences. Esrever (klaT) 19:11, 9 September 2009 (UTC)