Throughout history, people affiliated with Penn have played a leadership role in U.S. public policy. These notable people include historical figures such as President William Henry Harrison, Secretary of Defense, Thomas Gates, Jr., the first Governor of Pennsylvania, Thomas Mifflin, and the current mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter.
Since 1749, when Benjamin Franklin founded the University, Penn has been committed to the education of students interested in advancing the public interest. This commitment is reflected in the accomplishments of Penn alumni who have pursued careers in the public sector. Such careers include the Special U.S. Envoy committed to confronting global AIDS, North Carolina State Treasurer, and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Legacy Securities Public-Private Investment Program. Penn’s commitment to training the next generation of policy makers is mirrored through the academic and career interests of current students.
Featured Alumni Profiles
When Ted Buckley talks to members of Congress or their staff about medications in the pipeline for rare diseases, he goes in hoping that no one in the room has ever heard of any of the serious maladies he is about to discuss. “Because if you have, someone you know or love has one of them,” says Buckley.
There are different approaches to philanthropy. One is personal, motivated by emotional, charitable impulses and individual passions. There also is a more strategic approach, relying more heavily on research, analytics and, after the money is given and spent, the measurement of impact. Both philosophies dovetail in many philanthropists, but in none more naturally than Wharton alumna Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) for the past decade.
Featured Student Profiles
“Taking philosophy and political economy classes in a communist country, I gained a whole new understanding of political and economic theory, as well as economic relations from the perspective of the developing world.”
W’19, GEng’19, EAS’19
The nature of work is going to change dramatically with automation, and the challenges that this will pose for policymakers seem to be tremendous. One of the best ways to have a voice in how society manages those changes is to work on the teams inventing these tools, so as to help make sure they’re implemented in a way that benefits all of society.