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Becoming Penn

Becoming Penn: The Pragmatic American University, 1950-2000

John L. Puckett
Mark Frazier Lloyd
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 528
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  • Book Info
    Becoming Penn
    Book Description:

    The second half of the twentieth century saw the University of Pennsylvania grow in size as well as in stature. On its way to becoming one of the world's most celebrated research universities, Penn exemplified the role of urban renewal in the postwar redevelopment and expansion of urban universities, and the indispensable part these institutions played in the remaking of American cities. Yet urban renewal is only one aspect of this history. Drawing from Philadelphia's extensive archives as well as the University's own historical records and publications, John L. Puckett and Mark Frazier Lloyd examine Penn's rise to eminence amid the social, moral, and economic forces that transformed major public and private institutions across the nation.

    Becoming Pennrecounts the shared history of university politics and urban policy as the campus grappled with twentieth-century racial tensions, gender inequality, labor conflicts, and economic retrenchment. Examining key policies and initiatives of the administrations led by presidents Gaylord Harnwell, Martin Meyerson, Sheldon Hackney, and Judith Rodin, Puckett and Lloyd revisit the actors, organizations, and controversies that shaped campus life in this turbulent era. Illustrated with archival photographs of the campus and West Philadelphia neighborhood throughout the late twentieth century,Becoming Pennprovides a sweeping portrait of one university's growth and impact within the broader social history of American higher education.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-9108-7
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-22)

    In the second half of the twentieth century, the University of Pennsylvania became one of the world’s most celebrated research universities. This book views Penn’s rise to eminence in the multiple historical, social, institutional, moral, and aesthetic contexts that shaped it and, in one form or another, other American research universities in the de cades after World War II. Urban renewal in American higher education is a leitmotif of our study—Penn illustrates the role of urban renewal in the postwar redevelopment and expansion of urban universities and the indispensable role these institutions played in the remaking of postwar American...

  5. Part I The Builder

    • 1 Rise of the Urban Renewal University
      (pp. 25-58)

      In the spring of 1953 the University of Pennsylvania trustees appointed Gaylord P. Harnwell as the University’s fourth president. Since his arrival at Penn in 1936, Harnwell had held appointments as the Mary Amanda Wood Professor of Physics, chair of the Physics Department, and director of the Randal Morgan Laboratories. While on wartime leave from Penn from 1942 to 1946, he directed the University of California Division of War Research at Point Loma, San Diego, where sonar detection devices were developed for the U.S. Navy, with devastating consequences for Japanese submarines. Harnwell was an attractive candidate for the Penn presidency...

    • 2 Campus Expansion and Commercial Renewal in Unit 4
      (pp. 59-87)

      In the early 1960s, the Redevelopment Authority staked out three new urban renewal units in the University Redevelopment Area. Unit 4, at Penn, charted the completion of the West Central Campus, the creation of a West Campus beyond 38th Street, and the redevelopment of the Walnut Street commercial zone. Unit 5 accommodated an expansion of the Drexel Institute. Unit 3, established in the area of Market Street, designated the core of urban renewal blocks that would ultimately compose the University City Science Center, the brainchild of the West Philadelphia Corporation, a consortium of University City higher education and medical institutions...

    • 3 Shadow Expansion in Unit 3
      (pp. 88-117)

      The Redevelopment Authority’s annual report of 1960 announced the creation of Unit 3 in West Philadelphia, which ran “roughly from Powelton and Lancaster Avenues south to Chestnut Street, between 34th and 39th Streets.” Unit 3 properties would be redeveloped in conjunction with the West Philadelphia Corporation (WPC), an institutional coalition that included the University of Pennsylvania, the Drexel Institute of Technology, the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, and the Presbyterian and Osteopathic hospitals in West Philadelphia. The RDA heralded Unit 3 as “a major step toward the concept of a great university city extending from the Schuylkill River to...

    • 4 Student Protest and the End of the Great Expansion
      (pp. 118-140)

      By the standards of a true radical, the University sit-in this week was one of the dullest in history,” declared theEvening Bulletinreporter Rose DeWolf in her account of the peaceful student occupation of College Hall in February 1969.¹ A spontaneous occurrence, with abundant confusion at the outset about its purpose, this relatively quiet yet deeply thoughtful protest action was to gain coherence after a group of pragmatic, moderate leftists wrested control of it from a cadre of utopian radicals—and steered it away from confrontational protest toward deliberation with the trustees. The College Hall sit-in of 1969 remains...

  6. Part II The Visionary

    • 5 Martin Meyerson’s Dream of One University
      (pp. 143-155)

      Martin Meyerson made a number of significant contributions to the University of Pennsylvania as Penn’s president from 1970 to 1981. His contributions included the splendid landscape design of the modern campus; the completion of the expansive building program that had begun in the 1950s; the development of a transformative budgetary system that kept the University on an even keel through the tight economic straits of the 1970s and still governs the institution’s finances; and the creation of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Meyerson’s most enduring and significant contribution, however, was not a completed building program, campus plan, or other...

    • 6 Identity Politics in the Arena
      (pp. 156-174)

      In the 1970s, social forces and interest-group agendas further fragmented the University of Pennsylvania and stymied the One University idea. It was a turbulent decade at Penn—a prelude to even greater campus agitation in the 1980s. Following a national trend, student activism at Penn splintered from a more or less unified focus on participatory democracy and attacks on U.S. foreign policy and the global inequities of corporate capitalism (“imperialism,” with which Penn was associated) into identity politics and the advancement of agendas for progressive programmatic changes on the Penn campus—for example, a women’s center and a women’s studies...

  7. Part III The Conciliator

    • 7 A Decade of Racial Discord
      (pp. 177-199)

      At age forty-seven, Sheldon Hackney, an American historian, a former provost of Princeton University, and the president of Tulane University since 1975, assumed the mantle of Penn’s presidency on 2 February 1981. Hackney’s tenure in College Hall is properly described as tumultuous. Conflicts over race relations and gender issues, many rooted in a campus fraternity culture gone badly awry in the 1980s, vexed Hackney and his staff from the day he took office until the day he left it. Related issues of free speech and academic freedom compounded these problems. Other issues kept Hackney and his staff distracted, notably escalating...

    • 8 Throes of Diversity
      (pp. 200-217)

      Diminished “campus community” in Penn’s undergraduate social life mirrored disturbing central tendencies of American higher education in the Age of Reagan, when economic, demographic, and political changes in the larger society played out in microcosm on the nation’s campuses, provoking a similar pattern of problems across the institutions.¹ The 1980s and early 1990s witnessed a national epidemic of “overt bigotry,” racial assaults, acquaintance rape, alcohol and drug abuse, and other malefactions on college campuses.² Young people enrolled on college campuses where affirmative action for minorities and women was de rigueur and codified. Deconstructionist, poststructuralist, and feminist modes of scholarship, whose...

    • 9 Penn and the City Inextricably Intertwined
      (pp. 218-246)

      In 1992, Sheldon Hackney, then in the midst of the Mayor’s Scholarship controversy, could point with pride to Penn’s financial and service contributions to Philadelphia. The University admitted more than twenty-three hundred Philadelphia students between 1978 and 1991, matriculating about 60 percent of them. By 1992 more than fifty-eight hundred of the University’s roughly 12,360 employees claimed West Philadelphia as their home. Penn’s 1990 employee wage taxes to the city totaled $23.5 million. In 1990, when Philadelphia faced bankruptcy, Penn prepaid $10 million in wage taxes to help keep the city solvent.¹ A Coopers & Lybrand study for FY 1990 reported...

  8. Part IV The Implementer

    • 10 Triumph in University City
      (pp. 249-268)

      On 7 December 1993, the Penn trustees announced their selection of Judith Seitz Rodin as the University’s seventh president. At age forty-nine, Rodin would be the first woman inaugurated as president of an Ivy League university, a role for which she was highly qualified. A PhD graduate of Columbia University in psychology, Rodin taught at Yale University from 1972 to 1994, holding joint professorships in psychology, medicine, and psychiatry. A widely published authority on obesity, aging, and the relationship of psychological and biological processes, she also held three major administrative posts at Yale: chair of the Department of Psychology, dean...

    • 11 Agenda for Excellence
      (pp. 269-296)

      Rodin’s presidency marked a throttle-to-the-floor acceleration of Penn’s evolution as a top-tier American university. Her charisma, fierce intelligence, and assertive and occasionally combative “corporate” leadership style were well suited for the extraordinarily competitive zeitgeist of American higher education in the 1990s and early 2000s. Indeed, she often portrayed herself as a CEO. “Judy solidified the corporatization of the University,” says Phoebe LeBoy, a former chair and thirty-five-year member of the Faculty Senate. “I’m not sure where she got it from. I don’t think it was a legacy from her time at Yale. I think it was mostly because of lengthy...

    • 12 Harnwell Redux
      (pp. 297-330)

      In Rodin’s feverish decade in College Hall, Penn’s campus development program figured prominently in enhancing the undergraduate experience, as well as advancing Penn’s research mission and strengthening the intellectual, aesthetic, and cultural tenor of the campus. Rodin-era campus developments included gleaming new classroom and research buildings, expensive renovations and extensions, building conversions for social and cultural activities, splendid new or relandscaped campus venues, and major property acquisitions for Penn’s eastward expansion toward the Schuylkill River. In lieu of a multiyear capital campaign such as Campaign for the Eighties (Meyerson) or Keeping Franklin’s Promise (Hackney), funds for capital projects under Rodin...

  9. Conclusion In Franklin’s Name
    (pp. 331-340)

    In his 1749Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania, Benjamin Franklin, a public servant par excellence, advocated a decidedly public purpose for the “Publick Academy in the City of Philadelphia,” the precursor institution of the University of Pennsylvania. “The great Aim and End of all Learning,” Franklin wrote, is to cultivate in youth “anInclinationjoin’d with anAbilityto serve Mankind, one’s Country, Friends and Family” (original emphasis).¹ In a letter he wrote shortly thereafter to Samuel Johnson, Franklin restated this point: “I think with you, that nothing is of more importance for the public weal,...

  10. Appendix The Urban Renewal University: A Typology
    (pp. 341-350)
  11. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. 351-352)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 353-426)
  13. Index
    (pp. 427-444)
  14. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 445-447)