Benjamin Franklin, Penn's founder, advocated an educational program that focused as much on practical education for commerce and public service as on the classics and theology. Penn was one of the first academic institutions to follow a multidisciplinary model pioneered by several European universities, concentrating multiple "faculties" into one institution. It was also home to many other educational innovations. The first school of medicine in North America, the first collegiate business school and the first student union were all born at Penn.
Penn offers a broad range of academic departments, an extensive research enterprise and a number of community outreach and public service programs. It is particularly well known for its medical school, dental school, design school, school of business, law school, communications school, nursing school, veterinary school, its social sciences and humanities programs, as well as its biomedical teaching and research capabilities. Its undergraduate programs are also among the most selective in the country. One of Penn's most well known academic qualities is its emphasis on interdisciplinary education, which it promotes through numerous joint degree programs, research centers and professorships, a unified campus, and the ability for students to take classes from any of Penn's schools.
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