Famous Penn Battles

by Jonathan Weinblatt

Some of you readers may be freshmen who don’t know Penn’s history very well. The rest of you are upperclassmen who don’t know Penn’s history very well. In any case, this epic chronology is replete with tales of fierce rivalries. Much of the Penn environment today is a testament to these historical truths.

1740: The year 1740 defeats the year 1743 to become the year of Penn’s founding. This was a fairly easy battle, since 1743 did not yet exist.

1743: The year 1743 strikes back, but alas it is too late.

1751: Benjamin Franklin goes into battle against one of his own former buttons, which has mysteriously grown to gigantic proportions. In the end, it is difficult to determine who won. While Ben Franklin cracked the Button in half, the Button made Franklin sit down, and then turned him into a statue.

1872: Penn defeats Drexel in the race to become the first university in University City. Drexel later tries to refute this claim by countering that in fact, Drexel was the first university with a dragon as its mascot to come to University City. Drexelent!

1902: While it denotes more of a geological phenomenon than a true battle, this date marks the clash of Upper Quad and Lower Quad. Once located blocks apart, these veritable palaces of brick decided to engage in a monolithic game of chicken. While it is unclear which side actually won, the aftershocks of the clash formed the abomination of a mountain range known as McClelland.

mid 1940s: President Franklin Roosevelt visits the university to give a speech on deliberative democracy. While on campus, President Roosevelt engages in the very first human-computer board game battle, competing against ENIAC in the mighty game of checkers. ENIAC wins, and Roosevelt mysteriously dies only weeks later.

1954: This year marks the culmination of the battle between campus beauty and architectural disaster. In this fateful year, architectural disaster triumphed, and David Rittenhouse Laboratories was founded.

1974-present: The Covenant. For you ignorant Penn students, the Covenant refers to the epic battle of the Dueling Tampons. While Tampon South got off to a quick start, Tampon North has risen mightily and now appears to be kicking ass.

2003: Penn vs. the haters. After many years of dishonor, Penn wins its first big victory by rising to #4 on the U.S. News college rankings. An incredible 250+ year history was totally meaningless without this distinction. Sadly, Penn has since shamed itself by falling to #5, but hey, at least Penn has a better athletics program than Stanford. Um, I mean, at least Penn has a more attractive student body. Well … let’s just say Penn still has a bigger endowment than Stanford, right? No? You know what – Stanford sucks.

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