Penn and Asia

Benjamin Franklin—Penn’s celebrated founder—was a pioneer of global engagement. Whether in Philadelphia or abroad, he was committed to exchanging ideas with leading intellectuals from around the world.

The University continues Franklin’s legacy of global engagement as integral to intellectual engagement, and extends academic partnerships across geographic borders.

International applications are up 143 percent since 2004, with the largest increases coming from China and India. Penn faculty have participated in global research and teaching projects in 180 countries, with high concentrations of activity in China and East Asia, as well as India and South Asia.

In this edition of By The Numbers, we highlight the history of engagement between Penn and Asia.


Year in which the first Japanese student, Tosni Imadate, graduated from the College.


Number of days members of the Penn community—alumni, Trustees, faculty, and administrators—spent touring China in 1977.


Approximate number of partnerships between Penn and Chinese universities.


Year in which the mayor of Seoul, South Korea, Huh Chung, was a guest of the Trustees.


Number of weeks seven Indian educators spent on Penn’s campus “studying American methods of vocational education” during the summer of 1955.


Percent of international students in the Class of 2016 who are from Asia.


Year in which President Amy Gutmann made her first official visits to alumni and families in India, China, and Singapore to enlist their support for the University’s global agenda.

Originally published on May 9, 2013