April 14, 2021




PITTSBURGH (April 14, 2021) – The Pennsylvania Society today announced winners of its 15th Annual Benjamin Franklin Scholar Award. The Award, created in honor of one of our nation’s Founding Fathers, comes with $12,000 in total prize money for the three winners. The writing competition is open to Pennsylvania public high school juniors and received more than 110 submissions. Students submit an original essay of not more than 750 words discussing the modern day relevance of a selected Franklin quote. This year’s quote was, “A great Empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.”


The winning entries chosen by the judging panel are:


1st Place – The Flames of Unrest by Sophie Lu, North Allegheny Senior High School in the North Allegheny School District, Allegheny County;


2nd Place – The American ‘Empire’ by Amulya Nasta, Penncrest High School, Rose Tree Media School District, Delaware County; and


3rd Place – The Fight for Suffrage, Continued by Aditi Srivastava, South Fayette High School, South Fayette Township School District, Allegheny County. 


“These three young women inspired our judging panel with their creativity, wisdom and ability to connect our nation’s earliest days to the challenges that continue to confront us nearly 250 years later,” said Julien Scranton, executive director, The Pennsylvania Society. “The Pennsylvania Society brings together Pennsylvanians from all walks of life to honor achievement and recognize greatness. We are delighted to recognize Sophie, Amulya and Aditi, congratulate them and their families on this academic achievement, and wish them well as they head into their senior years.”


Sophie will receive a $6,000 scholarship for 1st place; Amulya will receive $4,000 for 2nd place; and Aditi $2,000 for her 3rdplace finish. All three essays can be found at   


January 18, 2021

Pennsylvania Society President Edward Sheehan Jr. authored an op-ed featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Please click here to read his essay.



December 4, 2020

Pennsylvania Society President Edward Sheehan Jr. authored an op-ed featured in the Harrisburg Patriot-News. Please click here to read his essay.



July 6, 2020



Annual New York City Dinner Canceled in Light of Global Health Pandemic; 

Dinner Will Resume in Manhattan in 2021


PITTSBURGH (July 16, 2020) – The Annual Dinner of The Pennsylvania Society, scheduled for December 5th in midtown New York, has been canceled in light of the global health pandemic. A Gold Medal winner will not be named in 2020. Instead, President Edward Sheehan, Jr. says The Pennsylvania Society will focus its efforts this year on saluting the extraordinary efforts of Pennsylvania’s frontline workers from across the Commonwealth who have worked tirelessly in difficult conditions to keep their fellow Pennsylvanians safe. 


“Canceling the Annual Dinner was not an easy decision, but it was the only decision,” said President Sheehan. “So much remains in doubt regarding the severity of the COVID-19 virus this fall and winter. Our leadership Council simply was not comfortable putting our members and their guests at risk. By announcing now, we provide attendees with time to adjust their holiday plans. 


“More importantly, we can begin to plan activities that properly honor Pennsylvania’s frontline workers who have sacrificed much during an unprecedented health crisis for their fellow Pennsylvanians. The Pennsylvania Society is all about celebrating service to the Commonwealth we all love, and so we can think of no better focus this year than celebrating these selfless men and women. 


“We very much look forward to returning to New York in December 2021 and resuming the presentation of our Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement.”


The much-anticipated annual holiday dinner has recognized a Gold Medal recipient since 1908. Past winners include such luminaries as Andrew Carnegie (1911); General Dwight D. Eisenhower (1947); Arnold Palmer (1972); and Guion Bluford (2011). The Pennsylvania Society contributes to a Pennsylvania charity chosen by the recipient of the Gold Medal.   


Details about activities to salute Pennsylvania’s frontline workers will be shared in the months ahead. 


Contact: Steve Aaron

President, SRA Communications

(717) 554-8614

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