The Power Of Penn Arts & Sciences

Enhancing Foundations, Transcending Frontiers

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

When my colleagues and I envisioned the Power of Penn Arts & Sciences Campaign, we could not have imagined the world we’d be living in today. The spring 2020 semester looked very different than any semester in our School’s 280-year history. As we imagine the future and what life on campus will be like in a post-COVID-19 world, it is a time to pause and reflect. 

At its inception, the Power of Penn Arts & Sciences Campaign sought to identify our existing strengths and new avenues for excellence. Our strengths, of course, are our outstanding faculty and students. The campaign represents an opportunity to support them in new ways as they conduct the research and learning that makes the School an incubator for groundbreaking ideas. These new avenues for excellence represent areas where our faculty and students show exceptional promise—areas of study that matter deeply to the world and where we are poised to be leaders. I am certain that these ideas will be of even greater importance as we determine how to live, work, and study in a world that has shown itself to be deeply connected yet fragile, and full of people who have revealed themselves to be resilient, creative, and motivated.

Steven J. Fluharty, Dean and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience

Lisa J. Godfrey

I am especially impressed by the strength our students. As a proud Penn Arts & Sciences graduate, I know how much campus and classroom life means. The pandemic quickly altered their plans: they made difficult decisions, reached compromises, and began their new normal. The transition was undoubtedly complicated and emotionally and mentally taxing. In the face of such circumstances, they’ve demonstrated a remarkable commitment to learning, growth, and each other. 

That is why I want to tell you more about one of our fundamental priorities: Realizing Student Potential. More than ever, it is clear to me that our students have the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that our new world needs.

Penn Arts & Sciences teaches every undergraduate at the University, fostering the traits that distinguish Penn graduates: adults who are driven by curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking, who understand context and know how to communicate. The campaign promotes access, diversity, and opportunity through expanded resources for scholarships and for curricular innovation that will catalyze learning in every field.

Undergraduate Financial Aid 

We’re proud that Penn has the largest grant-based financial aid program in the country; this commitment means that admitted students can graduate without the burden of insurmountable debt. This investment in our students has an incredible impact on their lives and the lives of their entire families. 

The College of Arts & Sciences is home to more than half of all Penn undergraduates. Scholarships designated for College students are a powerful expression of support for the students we know have the potential to be leaders in a world that demands thoughtfulness and drive. 

Penn First Plus

The comprehensive Penn First Plus program has been developed to provide unique, multifaceted support to the students who represent the first generation in their families to attend college and those who have significant financial need. Our commitment to financial aid has resulted in a socially and economically diverse University community where diversity is synonymous with excellence. We want to ensure these talented and determined young people can thrive academically and benefit from all the opportunities Penn has to offer them.

Support for College students who are part of the Penn First Plus community includes scholarships, grants for study-abroad programs and summer courses, research, and internships, and an emergency fund which allows for flexible support in the time of personal, national, or international crises. 

Graduate Fellowships 

The talented students in Penn Arts & Sciences doctoral programs are partners in sustaining the University’s reputation as a world-class place to research and learn. As academic innovators and motivated teachers, they invigorate faculty and undergraduate students alike. 

Full graduate fellowships, along with funds dedicated to supporting dissertation research and conference travel, provide the resources necessary for our students to focus on their work and become the leaders in the next generation of scholars, and demonstrate our commitment to providing an intellectual home for them at Penn Arts & Sciences.

Arts & Sciences Annual Fund 

The Arts & Sciences Annual Fund is the most direct way to support the School and our commitment to the future and the power of the liberal arts. It provides the immediate, unrestricted funds that give the School the flexibility to respond to emerging needs and continue the research and teaching that promotes the critical thinking so essential in times of uncertainty.

To learn more about supporting the Power of Penn Arts & Sciences Campaign, email Deb Rhebergen, Associate Vice Dean for Advancement, at or visit