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Although a lot across Sixth Street from the old Pennsylvania State House (later renamed and famously known since 1776 as "Independence Hall"), was offered without cost by James Logan, its owner, the Trustees realized that the building erected in 1740, which was still vacant, would be an even better site.
The original sponsors of the dormant building still owed considerable construction debts and asked Franklin's group to assume their debts and, accordingly, their inactive trusts.
It was initially planned to serve as a charity school as well, but a lack of funds forced plans for the chapel and school to be suspended.
According to Franklin's autobiography, it was in 1743 when he first had the idea to establish an academy, "thinking the Rev.
made Penn the first institution to offer both "undergraduate" and professional education; the 1779 charter made it the first American institution of higher learning to take the name of "University"; and existing colleges were established as seminaries (although, as detailed earlier, Penn adopted a traditional seminary curriculum as well).
In 1779, not trusting then-provost the Reverend William Smith's "Loyalist" tendencies, the revolutionary State Legislature created a University of the State of Pennsylvania.
He advocated an innovative concept of higher education, one which would teach both the ornamental knowledge of the arts and the practical skills necessary for making a living and doing public service.
The proposed program of study could have become the nation's first modern liberal arts curriculum, although it was never implemented because William Smith, an Anglican priest who became the first provost and other trustees strongly preferred the traditional curriculum.
Benjamin Franklin, Penn's founder, advocated an educational program that focused as much on practical education for commerce and public service as on the classics and theology, though his proposed curriculum was never adopted.
The university coat of arms features a dolphin on the red chief, adopted directly from the Franklin family's own coat of arms.