In 1970, an endowment was established at the University of Pennsylvania in honor of Dr. William Fontaine, professor of philosophy for twenty-one years and the first African-American to become a fully affiliated professor at the University. From its inception, the endowment, known as the “Fontaine Fellowship” has been used to advance the University’s goals related to diversity. Originally restricted to U.S. students from groups “traditionally and historically underrepresented” in higher education — specifically African American, Native American, and Hispanic students – diversity is now more broadly defined to include economically disadvantaged and first-generation college students, and others from backgrounds underrepresented in a specific discipline or field.

Today the Fontaine Society is comprised of more than 200 PhD students in programs across Penn.


The purpose of BGAPSA (Black Graduate and Professional Students Assembly) shall be to enhance the quality of life for graduate and professional students of the African Diaspora at the University of Pennsylvania through a centralized, campus-wide organizational structure that addresses their academic, social, political and cultural needs and concerns.

BGAPSA seeks to act as a support mechanism that will assist students in becoming acclimated to the university. Further, BGAPSA shall act as their advocate, lobby and political voice campus-wide.

LAGAPSA, the Latin American Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, works to enhance the quality of life for graduate and professional students of Latin American, Latino and/or Hispanic descent at the University of Pennsylvania. Through programming, services, and advocacy, we aim to act as both lobbyists and the campus-wide political voice of our communities.

The Pan-Asian American Graduate Student Association (PAAGSA) seeks to improve the academic and social lives of Asian and Asian American graduate and professional students at the University of Pennsylvania, and increase their awareness about Asian and Asian American issues. Through our various social, academic, health and wellness, and service-related activities, we seek to establish connections between both international Asian and Asian American students across the graduate and professional schools, thereby fostering a sense of community among the Pan-Asian population at Penn.

Rangoli, the Indian Association at Penn is a University of Pennsylvania organization, that was formed to prolong our culture, and rekindle the spirit of various Indian traditions and festivals with verve and vigor. We are open to every member of Penn's community as we try to reach out to the various other cultural groups.

Lambda Grads is the university-wide LGBTQ group for graduate and professional students at the University of Pennsylvania. We organize social and academic events to promote an active and welcoming presence and community for LGBT individuals and their allies. We also work with other organizations on and off campus, so we welcome the input and suggestions of all members of the Penn community!