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The University Board of Trustees established a Department of Cinema and Media Studies and a Department of Historic Preservation at their meeting on June 16. Credit: Adam Bennett

The University Board of Trustees reviewed admissions statistics for the Class of 2027 and established two new academic departments at its annual stated meeting on June 16. 

Vice Provost and Dean of Admissions Whitney Soule reported that Penn received 59,465 applications to the Class of 2027, a new record, and had an acceptance rate of 5.8%. 3,474 students were offered admission, representing 48 states and 97 countries. Soule stated that first generation college students make up 19% of the admitted class, while 14% are legacy students.

“These students represent the unique expression of their experiences and their points of view,” Soule told the Board. “We look forward to their contributions to the multiple dimensions of diversity.” 

Following the Admissions Report, the Board passed two resolutions to establish new departments — a Department of Cinema and Media Studies in the College and a Department of Historic Preservation in the Stuart Weitzman School of Design. 

The Cinema and Media Studies program currently includes an undergraduate major and minor and a Graduate Certificate. The new department would recognize Cinema and Media Studies as a "distinct academic discipline whose methods and practices differ significantly from those of literature and art history departments," according to a booklet from the meeting.  

In addition to the certificate, the department will offer a Ph.D degree and a free-standing master’s degree.

Established in 1981, the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation offers two degrees: a two-year Master of Science in Historic Preservation and a one-year concentration in Historic Preservation within the Master of Science in Design. The program has long operated as an academic department regarding curriculum, budget, and research, according to the news release by the Weitzman School.

“This is a milestone not just for Penn but for the profession,” Frank Matero, Historic Preservation department chair, said in the news release. “At a time when cultural sites around the world face existential threats from climate change and armed conflict, the role and responsibility of preservationists are unprecedented.”

Other agenda items at the Board meeting included the authorization of the fiscal year 2024 budget for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which recently reported $160 million in operating profits for the first nine months of fiscal year 2023. 

The Facilities and Planning Committee also reviewed the design for a new $75 million Student Performing Arts Center, which is set to open in winter 2027.