Renovated Music Building at the University of Pennsylvania.
Photo courtesy of University of Pennsylvania,
Development and Alumni Relations Marketing and Communications.

University of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia

Benjamin Franklin was the founder of the University of Pennsylvania in circa 1740.  Penn is a private research university, the fourth oldest institution of higher education in the United States, and a member of the Ivy League.  Franklin’s educational agenda included entrepreneurship, innovation, invention, outreach, and a pragmatic love of knowledge. Franklin’s practical outlook has remained a driving force in the university’s development.

The University of Pennsylvania is housed amid green lawns and historically important architecture, with all 12 schools in walking distance of each other.  There are currently about 10,000 enrolled students in graduate and undergraduate education at Penn.  An institution of world-class research and teaching, the physical connectedness of the campus encourages and supports interdisciplinary work, which is one of components of Penn’s core mission outlined in President Amy Gutmann’s Penn Compact.  In many ways, the four principles of the Penn Compact—integrating knowledge across fields, engaging globally, engaging locally, and increasing access to the University—are part of the wider thinking and practice of ethnomusicologists.  Ethnomusicologists have a long history of working in communities around the world, and increasingly in our immediate neighborhoods, and our research has documented the music of communities historically excluded from the academy.  In this context the University of Pennsylvania is a fitting site for hosting the pre-conference symposium, “Music, Dance, and Civic Engagement,” which will highlight the research and teaching partnership initiated between ethnomusicology, Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships, and the West Philadelphia community.

Penn founded the first medical school in the USA in 1765; the first university teaching hospital in 1874; the Wharton School, the world’s first collegiate school of business, in 1881; the first American student union building, Houston Hall, in 1896; the country’s second school of veterinary medicine; and the home of ENIAC, the world’s first electronic, large-scale, general-purpose digital computer in 1946.  Penn is also home to the oldest continuously functioning psychology department in North America and is where the American Medical Association was founded.  Penn was one of the four founding members of the Association of American Universities.  Penn hosted the 1st Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology in 1956.

The University of Pennsylvania is mindful of, and deeply engaged with, the City of Philadelphia.  As it largest employer, there is a continual dialog between those leading and living in the City and those at the University.  While earlier expansion of the campus controversially moved into parts of West Philadelphia, recent development has focused on creating stronger physical ties between the West Philadelphia campus and Philadelphia’s Center City.  Penn recently purchased 35 acres of land that will be developed to increase connections between the University and the City.  These connections will be symbolically embodied with a Pedestrian Bridge across the Schuylkill River.


For information on the history of West Philadelphia, see:


For information on Penn Ethnomusicology Research in West Philadelphia, see:


Guide to Local Music and Restaurants

Click on the below link for information and a map of local music venues/events and restaurants.

Prepared by the Graduate Students of the University of Pennsylvania Music Department.

SEM/CORD 2011 Restaurant Guide: PDF


Philadelphia List of Childcare Providers: