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Office of Commonwealth Relations
Records, 1958 - 1983

UPF 500

0.25 Cubic ft.
Prepared by J.M. Duffin
July 2001

Access to collections is granted in accordance with the Protocols for the University Archives and Records Center.


Transferred from the Office of Commonwealth Relations in 1990 (accession number 1990:50).



The records are arranged in on series, General File. The files are ordered alphabetically within the series.



The University of Pennsylvania has a long financial relationship with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in which the Commonwealth played an important role during major periods of expansion in the University's history. Though the state has given money to the University at various times since the eighteenth century, it was not until the end of the nineteenth century that it frequently sought assistance from the state. Provost Charles Custus Harrison's building expansion program at the beginning of the twentieth century began the tradition of regular and substantial aid from the Commonwealth in 1909. Much of the work with the state legislature and governor to obtain these appropriations was handled by special assistants to the Provost and, after 1927, the Executive Vice Provost (later Vice President).

The Office of Commonwealth Relations was formed in 1954 as part of the Department of Development and Public Relations during the reorganization of the University under the leadership of President Gaylord Harnwell. The function of the office is to coordinate and assist with efforts to seek funding from the state government for various programs at the University. Commonwealth Relations remained part of the Development Office until 1994 when President Judith Rodin placed the office under the guidance of the Vice President for Government and Public Affairs.



The records of the Office of Commonwealth Relations documents the review of the staff of the Master Plan for Higher Education prepared Commonwealth's Board of Education in 1966, 1971, and 1978 as well as the relation of the University of Pennsylvania with the state on student scholarship and rental fees from the General State Authority. The collection consists of correspondence and reports.

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