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
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.
Whether he is trying to ferret out value in a company that few others find attractive, or combing through financial records to discern terrorist activity, Daniel Schmerin approaches his job the same way: as a detective of sorts. “That’s the skill set. The specific manner in which I employ that skill set depends on the task at hand,” he says.
Featured Student Profiles
Penn allowed me to home in on this interest in a practical way and provided me with a wealth of opportunities, from the insightful speakers that frequently visit campus, including Vice President Biden, to the opportunities at Penn and in DC with the Public Policy Initiative.
“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.”