Giving Societies

William Pepper Society

If you give more than $1,000, you have the opportunity to join the William Pepper Society.

Dr. William Pepper, Jr., founded the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 1874. HUP was the first teaching hospital in the United States. He later went on to become the Provost of the University of Pennsylvania and remained a prominent figure in the hospital, in the Perelman School of Medicine and in Philadelphia for years to come.

His vision, leadership, and dedication are reflected today by donors to Penn Medicine. The William Pepper Society was established to thank and honor those who give at the following levels:

  • Members: $1,000 to $2,499
  • Associates: $2,500 to $4,999
  • Fellows: $5,000 to $9,999
  • Founders: $10,000 or above

William Pepper Society members who participate at the Associate level or higher are also recognized as members of the Benjamin Franklin Society—the University of Pennsylvania’s recognition society for leadership donors.

Contact us at or by phone at (215) 898-0578 with questions or for further information.

About Dr. William Pepper, Jr.

William Pepper, Jr., was born in Philadelphia on August 21, 1843, to William Sr. and Sarah (Platt) Pepper. William Sr. was a prominent physician at the Pennsylvania Hospital and professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

William Pepper, Jr., attended the University of Pennsylvania where he earned his bachelor degree in 1862 graduating Valedictorian of his class and splitting the Senior English Prize. He went on to the Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania and received his Medical Degree in 1864.

Pepper began his medical career as a resident physician at the Pennsylvania Hospital. He was a lecturer at the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania where he taught Morbid Anatomy from 1868-1870. He continued this with other subjects such as Clinical Medicine from 1870-1874 and Physical Diagnosis from 1871-1873. In 1874, Pepper became professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

While traveling in Europe in 1871, Pepper studied the methods of medical education and institutional administration that would form his ideas on the subjects. When he returned, Pepper used his new found beliefs to open the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The Hospital expanded the curriculum of the Medical School by supplementing the classroom teaching with clinical training.

In 1881, Dr. Pepper was unanimously elected the 11th Provost for the University of Pennsylvania. At the time, the University had a standing faculty of 42 who taught in the five schools – Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, Law, and Dentistry, and a total student population of 1,044 students. Under Pepper's leadership, the University of Pennsylvania was transformed into a modern university.

Pepper established two key programs for the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School of Business and the Graduate School of Arts and Science. By the time of his departure from the University in 1895, the faculty had grown to 245 and the number of schools to nine – Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Arts and Science, General Studies, Engineering, Wharton School of Business, Medicine, Law, Dentistry, and Veterinarian Medicine, with a total student enrollment of 2,680 students.

In addition to his work at the University of Pennsylvania, William Pepper Jr. was active in several cultural and educational institutions in Philadelphia. Pepper was the Medical Director of the Centennial Exposition of 1876. He was instrumental in founding the Free Library of Philadelphia in 1891-1892 and also founded the University of Pennsylvania Archaeological Museum in 1887, the Wistar Institute in 1894, and the Philadelphia Commercial Museum in 1898. William Pepper belonged to the American Philosophical Society and the College of Physicians.

William Pepper Jr. married Frances Sergeant Perry in 1873. They had three children, William Pepper [III], who went on to become one of the University of Pennsylvania's dean of the Medical School, B. Franklin Pepper, and Oliver Hazard Perry Pepper. William Pepper Jr. died July 25, 1898.