UPenn Motto

December 8, 2022
By AdmissionSight

UPenn Motto

The UPenn motto, “Leges Sine Moribus Vanae,” means “Laws without morals are useless (in vain).” It is derived from a long passage that was written by Horace and titled “Quid leges sine moribus vanae competent.” The literal translation of this phrase is “of what avail are empty laws without (excellent) morals.”

Benjamin Franklin, the man responsible for founding Penn, was a champion of an educational program that placed equal emphasis on the study of the classics and theology in addition to a more practical education that centered on trade and public duty.

Penn was one of the first academic institutions to follow a multidisciplinary model pioneered by several European universities, concentrating several “faculties” (theology, classics, and medicine) into one institution. “Guided by the UPenn motto,” Penn was one of the first academic institutions to follow a multidisciplinary model.

Night view of a building in a school.

In the fields of the arts and humanities, social sciences, architecture, communications, and education, the University of Pennsylvania is widely regarded as a pioneering institution. We will gain a deeper understanding of the principles embodied in the UPenn motto, as well as its impact on the institution as a whole and the students who call it home.

What is the UPenn Motto?

What is the UPenn motto? The Latin phrase “Leges sine Moribus vanae” has been adopted as the motto of the University of Pennsylvania. When translated into English, this phrase means “Laws without morality are useless.” William Smith, who served as the institution’s first Provost, is generally credited with choosing this slogan. Over the course of several centuries, it was subjected to a number of linguistic and conceptual shifts before finally arriving at its current form in 1932.

The Provost of William Smith’s College of Mirania, the ideal institution that inspired the planning of the College, Academy, and Charitable School of Philadelphia – the three departments that, along with the Medical Department, later (1791) came to be known as the University of Pennsylvania, chose a quotation from Horace to serve as the college’s motto. The quote is “quid leges sine moribus vanae proficiunt,” which translates to “what learning without suffering is useless.”

The UPenn motto “Sine Moribus Vanae” was inscribed in abbreviated form on the first seal, which was authorized in 1755. Subsequent seals either continued to bear this version of the motto or did not bear any motto at all. It appears that the motto was transcribed as Leges sine Moribus vanae in less official usage; for example, a bookplate used by the library before 1829 bears this motto.

Aerial view of UPENN building next to a busy street.

Near the end of the nineteenth century, a wag translated the motto on the seal as “loose women without morals,” which so distressed the Trustees that when the seal was rather radically redesigned in 1899, the word Literae was inserted so that the motto read Literae sine Moribus vanae instead of “loose women without morals.” This is how the motto is spelled today.

The Committee on University Seal and a Coat of Arms in 1932 proposed that the Trustees adopt the following resolution, which would officially restore “Leges sine Moribus vanae” as the UPenn motto. The Trustees agreed to implement this recommendation.

What is UPenn’s Mission Statement?

With the knowledge of the UPenn motto, you might also wonder what is UPenn’s mission statement. The University of Pennsylvania’s official mission statement reads as follows: “to increase the quality of education, and to generate innovative research and models of healthcare delivery by promoting a lively inclusive atmosphere and completely embracing diversity.” The expansion of this organization was first motivated by the concept of establishing a school that teaches students the skills necessary to care for others and improve their communities.

Over the course of more than two hundred and fifty years, the University of Pennsylvania has consistently shown that it has what it takes to take the lead in the educational sector by steadily expanding its research capacity and introducing new technologies. This institution’s record of dynamic transformations is proof that it is the finest venue for teaching and inspiring leaders who are open to change.

Guided by the UPenn motto, because of these accomplishments, the University of Pennsylvania has fulfilled its mission to have a good effect on society. It has accomplished this in particular by serving as a model of responsible knowledge passionate for making people’s lives better.

What is UPenn Most Known for?

What is UPenn most known for? It is commonly referred to as the “Social Ivy” since students at this university lead active lives outside of the classroom and the mentality of “work hard, play hard” dominates the campus. However, despite the laid-back atmosphere, the academic standards at this school are quite high.

The University of Pennsylvania, which is now the fifth-oldest university in the United States and the first to offer programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, was originally conceived of as a charity school and a place of worship. It was the first university in the country to do so.

Over the course of its nearly three centuries of existence, the University of Pennsylvania has steadily built a solid reputation for itself as one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the whole country.

Female student using a laptop while studying on her desk.

There are a total of 12 schools within the University of Pennsylvania, four of which provide undergraduate degrees: the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Nursing, the Wharton School, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The Wharton School is widely regarded as one of the finest institutions of its kind anywhere in the world. In point of fact, according to our ranking of the best colleges for business, we come in at number one.

At least one-third of Wharton students’ classes are taught in UPenn’s other undergraduate schools, which contributes to the school’s reputation for providing an education that draws from other fields. Wharton takes great satisfaction in its adaptable academic program, which gives first-year students the opportunity to explore interests unrelated to the business environment, such as a love for the written word or an aptitude for political science. Students who take advantage of this method of instruction are better prepared for careers after college in virtually every sector.

What subject does UPenn excel in the most? The question could be rephrased as “what academic disciplines does the University of Pennsylvania excel in?” — Thirty percent of Wharton students go on to get two undergraduate degrees from two different schools within the University of Pennsylvania, which can take anywhere from four to five years to complete.

Even though it is frequently overshadowed by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the School of Engineering and Applied Science shouldn’t be ignored. In addition to its reputation for interdisciplinary study, the engineering department at Penn University offers a number of specialized programs in collaboration with other Penn schools. These programs cover topics such as management, energy research, digital media and design, and information systems.

In addition, the University of Pennsylvania is a member of the Quaker Consortium, which also includes Haverford College, Bryn Mawr College, and Swarthmore College. Because of this collaboration, students from any of these schools are able to enroll in classes and participate in extracurricular activities at the universities that these schools have partnered with.

In addition to its numerous excellent academic programs, the University of Pennsylvania is widely recognized as one of the most prestigious research institutions in the United States. The annual research budget at the institution is significantly more than one billion dollars.

Penn is well-known for placing a significant focus on undergraduate teaching, as evidenced by the institution’s more than 5,000 currently active faculty members. Many of these faculty members have been honored with prestigious awards in recognition of their immense expertise and innovative contributions to their fields.

What Kind of Student is UPenn Looking for?

What kind of student is UPenn looking for? Because UPenn is ranked so highly among institutions in the United States, there is little question that it draws students who are diligent and committed to their studies. However, this focus encompasses more than just academic pursuits alone. Students at the University of Pennsylvania should have a strong commitment to using their talents to benefit the communities in which they live.

Benjamin Franklin had a plan for the future of the University of Pennsylvania when he established it in 1740. He was adamant that the university would be distinguished from other educational institutions by its emphasis on public service. As a consequence of this, the admissions authorities at UPenn will pay close attention to your standardized test scores, grades, and essays; however, they will also be interested in learning about the ways in which you contribute to your local community.

Female student holding a folder in a room with her classmates.

Although having grades as outstanding as there is a fantastic place to start, the admissions staff are aware that there is more to your narrative than just that. UPenn’s core values make it very obvious that the university is interested in enrolling individuals who use their skills to improve the world around them.

Your application hides a person with aspirations for the future beneath the grades and test scores you’ve submitted. You have the opportunity to demonstrate to them what is important to you and how you contribute to the community in which you live. When reviewing your application, the admissions committee at Penn will be seeking evidence of qualities such as service and loyalty on your part.

Embodying the UPenn motto, the ideal student at the University of Pennsylvania is one who isn’t afraid to strike out on their own and is always looking for ways to make their environment better. Many students at the University of Pennsylvania share the characteristic of having a strong desire to take on challenges that no one else is willing to take on.

The student who places a high emphasis on diversity cannot pass up an opportunity to experience something completely different. They get a kick out of meeting people from all sorts of different walks of life and expanding their skill set. Expanding your horizons is the only way to acquire a varied educational history and a more well-rounded outlook that will enable you to fulfill the needs of other people.

It is well known that the admissions office at the University of Pennsylvania takes a holistic approach to reviewing applications. This means that they feel that all of the components of an application are interrelated and that each component directly influences all of the other components.

As a consequence of this, they are interested in learning how you behave in interpersonal connections, leadership roles, and precarious circumstances. Be truthful in the application you submit; the committee wants to get the full picture.

Last but not least, and most likely of the utmost significance is service. UPenn is interested in learning about the ways in which you have utilized your skills to benefit the community around you. They are looking for a kid who saw a challenge, made use of their skills to address it, or come up with an original solution that resulted in good change.

It is essential to be aware that the University of Pennsylvania adopts a distinctively holistic approach. Everything you provide as part of your application will be evaluated based on its connection to the position and its relevance. They won’t let even the smallest nuances escape their notice without first examining how those details show your one-of-a-kind personality.

The ideal student at Penn is one who is self-motivated and who makes effective use of their individual skills to benefit the local community. They are constantly thinking about how circumstances might be improved and how they can put their skills to use in the real world. The type of student who will do well at Penn is one who has a plan for their future, both for themselves and for their community, and is prepared to use their degree to put that plan into action.

Want to learn more about the ideals of the UPenn motto? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college. Contact us today for more information on our services.


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