University of Pennsylvania Is No. 2 Among Urban Colleges and Universities Ranked "Best Neighbors"

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Media Contact:Julie McWilliams | or juliemcw@pobox.upenn.edu | at 215-898-1422September 12, 2006

PHILADELPHIA -- The University of Pennsylvania has been ranked second among the top 25 "Best Neighbor" urban colleges and universities in the nation, recognized for a strong, positive contribution to their communities.

These institutions, dubbed "Saviors of Our Cities," use strategic planning and their resources to dramatically strengthen the economy and quality of life of their neighboring communities, according to a press release from Evan Dobelle, president of the New England Board of Higher Education, who compiled the list.

"We are honored and pleased to be recognized for our contributions to improving the quality of life in Philadelphia and West Philadelphia," said Ira Harkavy, associate vice president and director of Penn's Center for Community Partnerships.  "The recognition is testimony to the significant, sustainable partnerships that Penn has developed with its neighbors and to the hard work and dedication of our faculty, students and staff."

In establishing his list, Dobelle looked at these 10 criteria:

  • Length of involvement with the community.
  • Real dollars invested.  
  • Catalyst effect on others.  
  • Presence felt through payroll, research and purchasing power.
  • Faculty and student involvement in community service.
  • Continued sustainability of neighborhood initiatives.  
  • Effect on local student access and affordability to attend college through K-12 partnerships.
  • Qualitative esprit of the institution in its engagement.
  • Quantifiable increase in positive recognition of the institution.  
  • Increase in students applications and resources raised through renewed alumni giving.  
  • Recognition of the impact of these institutions within their community.

Penn was the only Ivy League university recognized.  The University of Southern California topped the list.