My Dear Friends,
I write with some urgency on a matter of great importance. I also do seek your help and support for a venture I believe will forever alter the course of the world of business – an area in which I have been quite successful. With the help of my friends and associates in the Philadelphia business and political community, I hope to establish the Wharton School nestled in the confines of the University of Pennsylvania.
I have pledged $100,000 of my own money, but this is indeed a Herculean task with which I could use your aid. As my friends and business associates, I feel we are one in mind when it comes to the aim of this proposed institution. With your financial support, together we can create a school that will serve the business community of Philadelphia, and serve as a shining example to the rest of the business world, for immeasurable years to come.
With industry now powered by steam and steel, we can no longer rely on apprenticeship alone to create future generations versed in business. There needs to be institutions to instill a sense of the coming strife of the business life and of the immense swings upward or downward that await the incompetent soldier in this modern strife.
With Bethlehem Steel and the American Nickel Company, I have been fortunate enough to be able to lay the foundation for both structures on land and seagoing vessels to facilitate the transfer of goods and services across this great nation, as well as around the world. As I have done for industry, I feel the establishment of this school could have a similar effect on young and impressionable minds.
As a result, I found myself struck by inspiration. It is my intention to establish such a place in our home of Philadelphia. An institution of higher learning to instruct and inspire; and to provide for young men special means of training, and of correct instruction in the knowledge and in the arts of modern finance and economy, both public and private.
The University of Pennsylvania stands as a testimony of Benjamin Franklin’s vision of practical education and service to the public. While the University has made great strides in theology, the classics, and most recently medicine, what it lacks is a foundation of business skills and sensibilities. With the establishment of The Wharton School, I hope to remedy this situation and provide the ground from which the Philadelphia business community can grow and thrive.
The Benjamin Franklin Society at the Wharton School recognizes donors at the following levels:
$100,000 and above
Joseph Wharton Society
Young Franklin Society
One to four years from graduation