Service at Penn: A way of life

Service runs deep in Penn’s blood.

The notion that service is an important part of education was part of founder Ben Franklin’s original vision, which saw “an Inclination joined with an Ability to serve Mankind” as “the great Aim and End of all Learning.”

In the past two decades, Penn has embraced this vision enthusiastically. Community service is now an integral part of life at Penn, and both the institution and the community are better for it.

Faculty and students have gained new insights by helping communities solve their problems. Institutional ventures have planted the seeds of future growth by assisting local entrepreneurs. And community residents now see the University as a valuable partner in achieving their goals.

Penn has given service its official seal of approval through several programs and offices, including Civic House, Penn VIPS and the Center for Community Partnerships.

If new school buildings, new shops and mortgage guarantees are the physical side of Penn’s involvement with its community, the programs we explore in this special report are the human side. The two work together to make Philadelphia a better place.

Originally published on September 4, 2003