The History of Wharton

The World’s First Business School

Joseph Wharton, Founder

In 1881, American entrepreneur and industrialist Joseph Wharton established the world’s first collegiate school of business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Wharton’s pioneering vision was to produce graduates who would become “pillars of the state, whether in private or in public life.” The Wharton School maintains a long tradition of educating visionary business leaders in academia, business, government, and not-for-profit organizations.

Today, Wharton has expanded the scope of this vision to become the most comprehensive source of business knowledge in the world — with over 225 faculty members, 95,000 alumni, 5,000 students across 10 academic departments, 20 research centers, and more than 9,000 executive education participants annually.