This article was originally published in Penn News, 07/14/2015. It can be viewed here in its original form

Christina Cook 

Penn’s 2014-15 school year opened with its 105th Convocation and closed with its 259th Commencement: two long-held traditions that bookended a year full of extraordinary firsts.

The launch of the new Penn Center for Innovation inspired President Amy Gutmann to recall the words of the University’s founder: “Ben Franklin said ‘make new knowledge practical,’ and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Penn Libraries’ launch of OPenn Digital Resources Online Platform made new knowledge exponentially more accessible, as well, and the University’s Climate Action Plan 2.0 converted knowledge into action by advancing environmental sustainability across numerous fronts.

Through sustained engagement, Penn-generated ideas and discoveries impacted communities as near as its own neighborhood, through initiatives such as the Penn Museum’s new partnership with Philadelphia schools, and as far as the other side of the world, with the launch of the Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing.

Penn’s culture of engagement also gave rise to this year’s inaugural President’s Engagement Prizes. Anticipating Ambassador Samantha Power’s Commencement address, in which she encouraged graduates to embark on a path to solving big problems, these prizes will fund the work of five members of the Class of 2015 in their targeted efforts to make the world a healthier, more equitable place—one person, community, and country at a time.