Throwback Thursday: May 1970 – Students go on strike.

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Students gathered on College Green.

In May, 1970 the Gazette reported that about 2,500 students, staff and faculty walked out of their classrooms and offices and gathered at the Palestra for an antiwar rally. The action followed President Richard Nixon’s announcement that he would be sending US troops into Cambodia. The Vietnam War was in full swing and students across the country were protesting. During the rally, one speaker announced that he had just received a telegram: the National Guard had opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University.

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The Strike broke out during finals period, and in a show of solidarity, a majority of professors granted extensions and postponements. Sociology Professor Philip Pachoda explained, “We are not primarily concerned with shutting down the University… In the face of this grave crisis almost all members of the University now  perceive the need to suspend ‘business as usual.”

On the fourth day of the Strike, students gathered on College Green and held a memorial for the students who died at Kent State, and on the seventh day, 2,000 students from Penn and Drexel joined 14,000 others and marched to Independence Hall.

The Strike carried on until the end of finals period.

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On the first day of the Strike, students rallied at the Palestra.

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Throwback Thursday! The College of Liberal Arts for Women opens in 1933

Eighty years ago (and 50 years after the Trustees voted on it) the College of Liberal Arts for Women opened for admission. Although women were already being admitted into the School of Education, this was the first time Penn was offering women the chance to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree. The Gazette covered this groundbreaking development, along with lots of images of women–inexplicably–playing sports. Read on!


Previously, the biology and fine-arts departments had also admitted some women. There was debate about whether to make Penn co-educational, as Temple University and New York University were at the time, or to open a separate college for women, as Harvard, Brown and Columbia had done.

Dr. George McClelland, Vice-President in Charge of the Undergraduate Schools, wrote a long piece in the April 15th, 1933 issue of the Gazette  explaining his decision. It wasn’t a total victory.  “The practical effect of the policy just announced is to make available to women, for the first time, the degree of bachelor of arts,” McClelland wrote. But,  he added: “The creation of a College for Women at the University of Pennsylvania, in a structural sense, is a matter of the indefinite future. There are no funds on hand for such a project, and none are in sight.”

The creation of the new College allowed women in the School of Education, after two years, to choose between professional studies and “purely cultural courses.” In essence, it allowed them to pursue a broader degree in the liberal arts rather than a degree in education.

The school did eventually find the funds to expand the college, and in 1976, Penn became fully coeducational.



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Throwback Thursday: November 1943 Penn joins the war effort

In the November 1943 issue of the Gazette, Penn President Thomas S. Gates published a letter stating that “The University of Pennsylvania has now assumed a definite place in the war effort.

Of course, by then, the Second World War was well underway, and Penn’s involvement in the war effort had begun long before. The University hosted army and navy men in training, even as many left Penn to serve overseas.



Navy V-12 training took place behind the Penn Museum.


Servicemen used Houston Hall Commons as a mess hall.

“While no one expects to return to the world that existed before the war,” Gates wrote, “all of us feel that, chastened by fire and struggle, higher ideals and nobler efforts may dominate our thinking afterward.”

- Maanvi Singh

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Throwback Thursday: March 1946, Penn engineers reveal the world’s first general purpose computer

Sixty-seven years ago,  John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert of Penn’s Engineering School revealed ENIAC, the world’s first general-purpose computer. Construction began in 1943, but was kept a secret. The project was funded by the US military during WWII and was designed to calculate artillery firing tables.

From the archives: “The ENIAC, whose full name is Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, is very large as electronic devices go.”

Well said.


- Maanvi Singh

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Throwback Thursday! November 1964: Locust Walk Opens

In November 1964, the Gazette ran a feature called “CHANGE: The campus transformed.” One of the major transformations was Locust Walk, which officially opened on October 17, 1964. The Gazette reported: “Gone are the days of the noisy trolleys, double parking, and general traffic confusion.”  Hurrah!


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Penn Admissions Dean Eric Furda C’87 appeared on the Today Show this morning.

Penn’s Dean of Admissions Eric Furda C’87 appeared on NBC’s Today Show this morning with advice for high school students and parents about the college admissions and application process. The gist: invest a lot of time visiting schools and figuring out which ones fit your academic and social interests, and be authentic in the admissions essay.

Also check out the Gazette’s interview with Furda here.

- Maanvi Singh

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Bhangra and belly dance and ballet – oh my!

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The entire Penn Dance community came together this weekend for the annual Emily Sachs Dance Benefit. The event – which featured every type of dance, from ballet to belly dance – honored Emily Sachs, a Penn student and an accomplished dancer, who died in 1995 due to asthma complications. Proceeds from the show are going to the American Asthma Foundation and the Newtown Memorial Fund.

– Maanvi Singh

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