OUR COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY
The Pennsylvania Society has for more than a century brought its members and friends together each year to celebrate Pennsylvania’s leadership in the economic and industrial life of our nation. The recent national civil unrest reminds us that longstanding inequalities have often excluded people of color from achieving those economic opportunities. We all have a role to play in this and we will do more.
In order to be truly dedicated to maintaining a leadership role, it requires our organization to continue to look at our membership and our honorees, to be certain more Pennsylvanians of color feel welcome to participate in The Pennsylvania Society experience. This is something we have been improving in recent years and our members tell us they see a positive difference. We will work harder to be a Pennsylvania Society that feels welcoming to all Pennsylvanians.
Our State is home to the Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and to the soil where the Battle of Gettysburg was fought. We understand and embrace the responsibility that comes with a name like ours: The Pennsylvania Society. This matters to us and we are committed to getting it right.
ABOUT THE SOCIETY
For more than 120 years The Pennsylvania Society has brought together Pennsylvanians from all walks of life to honor achievement, recognize greatness, and contribute to charitable causes benefitting the Commonwealth. With no affiliation to any particular political party, business or profession, The Pennsylvania Society maintains its centuries-long commitment to civility, where members celebrate service to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with an abiding respect for one another.
A non-profit, charitable organization with members around the world, The Pennsylvania Society is in its third century of existence and is the oldest organization of its kind in the country. New members are always welcome.
HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY
In 1899 James Barr Ferree, an historian and native Pennsylvanian living in New York City, invited 55 fellow Pennsylvanians also living in New York to join him for dinner at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel. While enjoying a meal together, they decided to form a group known initially as “The Pennsylvania Society of New York.” Their goal was to establish a society “uniting all Pennsylvanians at home and away from home in bonds of friendship and devotion to their native or adopted state” and would meet for dinner every year, same time, same place.
In the years that followed, the Society has honored those who have given back to the Commonwealth including Andrew Mellon, Henry Ford, Mamie and Dwight D. Eisenhower, Louise and Andrew Carnegie, Guion Bluford, Elsie Hillman, Andrew Wyeth, Arnold Palmer, M. Night Shyamalan, and the beloved Fred Rogers to name only a few.
In 1903, when the organization was incorporated, the name was shortened to “The Pennsylvania Society.” As the years passed, that dinner at The Waldorf Astoria became the hallmark event of The Pennsylvania Society.
Each year, the Gold Medal recipient selects a Pennsylvania charity of his or her choice, which receives a donation from the Society. All told, millions of dollars have benefitted these worthy organizations. And to honor scholarship, students compete annually for the Society's Benjamin Franklin Scholar Award, a writing competition open to Pennsylvania high school juniors.
In the more than 120 years that have passed since its first gathering, the Society has sponsored scores of historical and social functions, bringing together its members and friends to remind them of Pennsylvania’s vital and long-standing leadership in the economic and industrial life of the nation. And today, as members of The Pennsylvania Society, we are dedicated to continuing and renewing that leadership, with friendship and with civility toward our fellow Pennsylvanians.