Surprise, surprise: Penn made another list of college rankings — this time finishing fourth among schools that produce successful alumni entrepreneurs.
The rankings were conducted by London-based branding company Graphic Springs, which compared 98 American universities according to the amount of funding the schools’ entrepreneurs received and their respective exit values over the course of 12 months. Stanford University, Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley earned the top three spots in the ranking.
According to the study, Penn had a total of 32 alumni entrepreneurs who received a combined $448 million in funding. This figure, however, pales in comparison to those for some of the other universities listed. Harvard’s 89 entrepreneurs raised a combined total of nearly $8 billion in the past year.
Penn has expanded its efforts in recent years to encourage more students to enter the field of entrepreneurship, most notably with the opening of the Pennovation Center last October. The center’s website describes it as a place for ”researchers, entrepreneurs, and industry partners solving real world problems and translating inventiveness into viable ventures.”
The Wharton School has also increasingly made entrepreneurial resources available to students. Last May, the school held its first Entrepreneurship Startup Showcase, where aspiring startups delivered elevator pitches to professional investors in an actual elevator in hopes of receiving a $30,000 grand prize to jumpstart their company.
“It’s no secret that innovation is a huge part of Penn’s self-definition,” David Fox, the New Student Orientation and Academic Initiatives director, told The Daily Pennsylvanian last January.
Innovation is one of Penn's major institutional priorities, listed along with inclusion and impact in the Penn Compact 2020, which sets a blueprint for President Amy Gutmann and other top administrators.
That focus on innovation has carried over into the University's recent programming. Penn declared the 2017-18 academic year the "Year of Innovation," and the freshman class read Walter Isaacson’s "The Innovators" over the summer for the Penn Reading Project.