In 2022, the world saw a myriad of protests erupt, social issues and conflicts arise, and the saliency of the COVID-19 pandemic dissipate. While sitting in lecture halls, playing in the Palestra, and eating in Houston Hall, the Penn community amounted to similar challenges.
The midterm elections drew students out of the classroom and into polling stations, with two of the most contested elections taking place in Pennsylvania. Amy Gutmann, Penn’s president of 18 years, departed and the University welcomed its ninth leader, Liz Magill. Fossil Free Penn — through an encampment on College Green, protest on Homecoming weekend, and other forms of activism — provoked conversations around campus and beyond.
The Daily Pennsylvanian’s photographers documented the stories of 2022 as the Penn community felt the ripple of events around the world. These images postmark the end of another tumultuous year as another looms on the horizon.
Jan. 13 — Penn announced that then-University of Virginia Provost Magill would be nominated to succeed Gutmann, who served as Penn’s president for 18 years. This is the first time in history that an Ivy League university has had three consecutive female presidents.
Jan. 27 — A grease fire erupted at the McDonald’s located at 40th and Walnut streets, causing police officers and firefighters to rush to the scene. The DP reported in September 2022 that Penn will begin a $35 million redevelopment of the McDonald’s property and turn it into a shared-use office building.
Feb. 1 — Penn Athletics changed its policy and began allowing in-person attendance in the Palestra, provided that the spectators show proof of vaccination. Previously, Penn Athletics announced on Dec. 30, 2021 that fans would not be allowed to watch in person due to the rise of COVID-19 cases as a result of the Omicron variant.
Feb. 8 — The United States Senate confirmed Gutmann’s nomination as U.S. ambassador to Germany, ending her tenure. Gutmann hosted a farewell event with the Penn community on Feb. 10 and assumed her duties as ambassador seven days later.
Feb. 28 — Hundreds of students from Penn and Drexel, as well as members of the Philadelphia community, gathered in front of College Hall to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people. They called on Penn to become more transparent with donations coming from Russia.
March 12 — After a hard-fought game in the Ivy Tournament semifinal, men’s basketball fell to Yale in a 67-61 loss — ending their dreams of reaching the NCAA Tournament. Despite standout performances from now-junior guard Jordan Dingle and now-sophomore forward/center Nick Spinoso, the Quakers struggled to keep up with Yale’s offense, allowing the Bulldogs to pull ahead in the final minutes.
March 17 — Lia Thomas made history by becoming the first transgender woman to win an NCAA Division I Championship title. The NCAA women’s swimming and diving championships, which took place at Georgia Tech, drew international attention as Thomas’ participation was received by both support and scrutiny.
April 13 — Over 100 Penn community members held a rally with Mackenzie Fierceton, former Rhodes Scholarship recipient, in support of first-generation, low-income students and survivors of abuse. Penn announced the day before that it lifted a hold on Fierceton’s master’s degree.
April 28 — The Class of 2023 was formally welcomed as seniors on Hey Day with a procession down Locust Walk and a celebration on College Green. This year, the signature styrofoam hats were replaced with plastic ones due to manufacturing issues, which prevented students from biting off each other’s hats as per tradition.
April 30 — Following a three-year break due to the pandemic, the University hosted the annual Penn Relays at Franklin Field — bringing in athletes from high schools, colleges and track clubs across the country and from abroad. This year’s competition featured two-time Olympic gold medalist Sydney McLaughlin and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Devon Allen, who won the 100-meter hurdles and 110m hurdles, respectively.
May 16 — The Class of 2022 graduated in the first commencement ceremony since 2019 to invite family and guests to attend in person on Franklin Field. The commencement speaker, award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, spoke about the great responsibility that the graduates bear as they embark on their journeys to become leaders of their communities and the world.
May 21 — After a successful season in which Penn men’s baseball won all of its series within the Ivy League, the Quakers suffered a loss against the Columbia Lions in the Ivy League Playoff Series.
May 23 — Penn’s two main COVID-19 testing sites at Houston Hall and Du Bois closed after two years of operation, marking a significant milestone in the University’s effort in moving towards post-pandemic normalcy.
June 2 — Penn contracted security officers, housekeeping staff, and other Philadelphia community members gathered in front of the Benjamin Franklin statue to protest unfair wages, unsafe practices, and workplace harassment. A new five-year contract for the workers, which raised wages and ended the two-tier pay system, was ratified on June 29.
June 24 — Thousands of Philadelphia residents gathered at City Hall to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion. Philadelphians previously protested on May 3 after a leaked draft opinion stated that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn the landmark decision.
July 5 — Magill began her official duties five days prior and introduced herself to the Penn community through an ice cream social on College Green.
July 10 — UC Townhomes residents and activists set up an encampment outside of the property at 40th and Market streets, hoping to illustrate the effect of displacement. The Philadelphia Sheriff’s office enforced a court ruling on Aug. 8 to remove the encampment, clashing with protestors.
Aug. 23 — Over 2,000 members of the Class of 2026 moved on campus for the first time, having uploaded proof of COVID-19 and flu vaccination earlier in the summer. Magill greeted students and parents throughout the day, asking them to provide her with recommendations on what she should do in Philadelphia as she begins her first year of her Penn presidency.
Aug. 29 — The Penn community gathered on College Green for Convocation of the Class of 2026. Minutes into Magill’s first major public speech, Coalition to Save the UC Townhomes protestors stood up and chanted. The event was brought to a halt and ended abruptly as protestors continued their demonstration on College Green.
Sept. 14 — Fossil Free Penn began their encampment on College Green, setting up tents and camping out “indefinitely“ until their demands were met. Some of their demands included that Penn preserve the UC Townhomes and divest from fossil fuels. On Nov. 30, Penn announced that it no longer holds any direct investment in fossil fuel companies.
Sept. 29 — Members of the Penn community gathered in front of the LOVE statue to protest the death of Mahsa Amini, who died in custody of Iran’s morality police. Amini’s death has also sparked protests worldwide, with the Iranian government announcing that they would abolish the morality police on Dec. 4.
Oct. 7 — President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Penn’s campus, attracting hundreds of students and Penn community members. Biden was accompanied by Magill and his granddaughter Natalie Biden, who was reportedly visiting the University. He walked from the University Meeting and Guest House, stopping multiple times to speak with spectators, and eventually visited the Penn Bookstore.
Oct. 21 — Magill was officially inaugurated as Penn’s ninth president. The ceremony was followed by a picnic and concert on Shoemaker Green and an academic symposium which featured U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.
Oct. 22 — At the Homecoming football game against Yale, over 60 students involved with Fossil Free Penn ran onto Franklin Field, delaying the game by around 50 minutes. The protest resulted in 19 student arrests.
Nov. 8 — Over 2,000 students casted their ballot on campus at Houston Hall and ARCH in the midterm elections. By the end of the night, then-Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro and then-Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman were declared winners of their respective races.
Nov. 20 — For the first time since 2013, men’s soccer joined the NCAA tournament bracket after defeating Princeton 3-0 to claim the Ivy League title. With goals from senior forward Ben Stitz and sophomore forward Stas Korzeniowski, the Quakers effectively shut out Rutgers in the first-round matchup, but then fell to No. 3 seed Syracuse in the second round — marking a bittersweet end to their season.
Nov. 30 — Students from Police Free Penn, Save the UC Townhomes, and Fossil Free Penn hosted a rally in front of College Hall condemning the University of its disciplinary actions and alleged mistreatment of student protestors. During the rally, Fossil Free Penn published their new demands after the University announced that it no longer holds any direct investment in fossil fuel companies.
Dec. 2 — Penn Carey Law School announced that they will no longer submit data to the U.S. News & World Report ranking next year, following announcements from Yale, Harvard, and other top law schools. Penn Carey Law became the 10th out of the top 14 law schools in the country to do so.
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