Penn Tops List of ‘Best Neighbor’ Universities in U.S.

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Media Contact:Julie McWilliams | | 215-898-1422October 12, 2009


PHILADELPHIA -- The University of Pennsylvania has earned top honors as a “Best Neighbor” university in the national Saviors of Our Cities: Survey of Best College and University Civic Partnerships. Penn and the University of Southern California tied for the No. 1 spot.

Penn’s recognition stemmed largely from the work in the West Philadelphia community of the University’s Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships.

Evan Dobelle, president of Westfield State College in Massachusetts and author of the research, announced the results today at the 15th annual conference of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities here.

The Netter Center, Dobelle said, “conducts a project through which its university-assisted school model has been replicated on a national level. These efforts, combined with an exemplary service learning curriculum and a historic, extensive and neighborhood friendly campus expansion program places Penn at the top of this list.”

“I could not be more pleased with this extraordinary recognition of Penn and our community partners,” Netter Center Director Ira Harkavy said. “This honor is testimony to the deep, sustained and mutually beneficial relationship we have developed and advanced together.”

Dobelle called Harkavy “the nation’s foremost expert in higher education community engagement.”

Additional information about the “Best Neighbor” list is available at