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Encyclopedia > Philomathean Society

The Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania is the oldest continuously-existing literary society in the United States and the oldest student group at Penn. Founded in 1813, its goal is "to promote the learning of its members and to increase the academic prestige of the University." Philomathean is derived from the Greek philomath, which means "a lover of learning." The University of Pennsylvania (Penn is the nickname used by the university itself; UPenn is also common) is a private, nonsectarian, research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ... A literary society is a group of people interested in literature. ... 1813 is a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ...

Traditionally, the Society emphasized the arts of rhetoric, oratory, and writing. Its three-step membership process retains vestiges of this emphasis, but its modern members' activities extend to a broad range of academic and artistic pursuits.

"Philo," as members affectionately refer to the Society, is credited with helping to found entire academic departments, including American History, Comparative Literature, and History of Science, and many campus groups, including the Daily Pennsylvanian and the Mask and Wig Club. The Society has also published several books, including, most recently, The Philomathean Society Anthology of Poetry in Honor of Daniel Hoffman — Hoffman being a former professor at the university who had brought many renowned poets and authors, including John Updike, Seamus Heaney, and Joyce Carol Oates, to read in the Philomathean Halls, as well as a distinguished poet in his own right. Perhaps their most influential publication, however, was the 1858 Report of the Rosetta Stone Committee of the Philomathean Society, which contained the first complete English translation of the stone and is still considered an important contribution to Egyptology. Every year, Philo brings a public annual oration to the University, given by a prominent figure in the arts and sciences. Recent orations have been given by Arthur Miller and Salman Rushdie. The Daily Pennsylvanian is the independent daily student newspaper of the University of Pennsylvania. ... The Mask and Wig Club, founded in 1889 by Clayton Fotterall McMichael, is the oldest all-male collegiate musical comedy troupe in the United States. ... Daniel Gerard Hoffman (b. ... John Updike John Hoyer Updike (born March 18, 1932) is an American novelist, poet, and short story writer born in Reading, Pennsylvania. ... Seamus Justin Heaney (b. ... Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938 in Lockport, New York) is an American writer of novels, short stories, plays, poetry, and non-fiction. ... 1858 is a common year starting on Friday. ... The Rosetta Stone in the British Museum The Rosetta Stone is a dark granite stone (often incorrectly identified as basalt) with writing on it in two languages, Egyptian and Greek, using three scripts, Hieroglyphic, Demotic Egyptian and Greek. ... ... Arthur Miller in his later years Arthur Asher Miller (October 17, 1915 – February 10, 2005) was an American playwright, essayist and author. ... Salman Rushdie (born Ahmed Salman Rushdie Arabic: أحمد سلمان رشدی on June 19, 1947, in Bombay, India) is an Indian-born British essayist and author of fiction, most of which is set on the Indian subcontinent. ...

The society is governed by a Cabinet of 8 officers: the Moderator, First Censor, Second Censor, Scriba, Recorder, Treasurer, Librarian and Archivist. The first four are attired in full academic gown at all society meetings.

The motto of the Philomathean Society is sic itur ad astra (thus we proceed to the stars).

Prominent Philomatheans include statesman Robert J. Walker, seminal science fiction author Alfred Bester, Eli K. Price (founder of the Philadelphia Museum of Art), and philosopher Hilary Putnam. Robert John Walker (July 23, 1801–November 11, 1869) was an American economist and statesman. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Alfred Bester Alfred Bester (born December 18, 1913 in New York City, died September 30, 1987) was a science fiction author and the winner of the first Hugo Award in 1953 for his novel The Demolished Man. ... The Philadelphia Museum of Art, located at the west end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphias Fairmount Park, was founded in 1876 in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition of the same year and is now among the largest and most important art museums in the United States. ... Hilary Whitehall Putnam (born July 31, 1926) is a key figure in the philosophy of mind during the 20th century. ...

External links

  • Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania

  Results from FactBites:
Willamette Philomathean Society (363 words)
The Willamette University Philomathean Society, established in 1856, is the oldest debating society in the Western United States.
The Philomathean Society shall not deny consideration for membership because of sex, race, religion, creed, national origin, mental or physical handicap, age, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
The officers of the Philomathean Society shall be President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Advisor.
Philomathean Society, University of Pennsylvania Archives (1744 words)
The Philomathean Society was founded by thirteen members (link) of the class of 1814, on October second, 1813 and "for the purpose founding a society for the advancement of learning." At the time, these thirteen members, many of whom were under the age of eighteen, made up nearly all of the senior class.
At the first meeting of Philo (as the Philomathean Society is commonly called), the members decided to elect a "Moderator" and a "Censor Morum" as their officers.
The society turned to the works of Virgil to select their motto, sic itur ad astra, translated as "such is the way to the stars." In these early years, Philo's role was seen as the encouragement of literature and rhetoric.
  More results at FactBites »



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