Over a thousand students from around the world were packed into Penn’s Irvine Auditorium, giggling over API demos and cheering for their friends, when a more serious figure took the stage.
Eduardo Glandt, the dean of the School of Engineering, was on stage to introduce Philadelphia’s mayor, Michael Nutter. Glandt’s respect—and enthusiasm—for the mayor was clear as he described the way that Mayor Nutter has revitalized Philly, especially with regards to science and technology. “He was reelected by a landslide,” Glandt said.
Mayor Nutter began by reminiscing about his time as an undergraduate at Penn: “I enrolled in the Engineering school, as a biomedical engineering major.
“And then, Chemistry III changed my life,” he chuckled. “And so I transferred to Wharton,” referring to Penn’s business school. There were scattered, friendly boos from the engineer-heavy audience.
Mayor Nutter smiled. “I don’t know how that worked out for me, but I did get to be mayor.”
The audience laughed, and then Mayor Nutter continued by talking about Philadelphia. Philadelphia is a burgeoning tech hub, Mayor Nutter argued, describing a handful of tech companies who’ve set up shop in Philly, including First Round Capital. Among other things, FRC funds student startups—spurring an entrepreneurial spirit which is exemplified at PennApps.
“I want to recognize Pulak Mittal, Executive Member of the PennApps board, and Brynn Claypoole, Director of PennApps, for what they’ve done here,” Mayor Nutter said, noting that PennApps is part of a broader change for Philadelphia.
“We’re being known as a technology city.”