Penn named one of the 'Best Neighbors' in the U.S.

Penn students planting a tree


Penn has been placed at the top of a new “Saviors of Our Cities” list, rating higher education institutions on their community engagement and good-neighbor policies.

Penn ranked first, along with the University of Southern California, on the list released earlier this week during the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities conference held in Philadelphia.

The CUMU is a nonprofit coalition of urban university leaders created in 1990 with the stated mission of using “the power of their campuses in education, research, and service to enhance the communities in which they are located.”

Penn led the “honor roll,” of 75 colleges and universities tapped for their community involvement in economic, social and cultural issues. Three other universities in the Philadelphia region—Drexel, Temple and Widener—also made the list.

The list was compiled by Evan S. Dobelle, president of Westfield State College in Massachusetts. Dobelle told the Philadelphia Inquirer he assessed schools using a number of factors, including financial commitment to community engagement, faculty and student involvement, access students from diverse backgrounds have to the university, alumni giving and how well the universities have done in establishing a “collaborative vision” with their communities.

Penn was the only Ivy League university in the top 25, with particular note given to its work with local public schools through the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships.

Originally published on October 14, 2009