The Office of the Chaplain and Platt Student Performing Arts House collaborate to bring you the Francis Johnson Baton: An Award for Altruism. Named for Francis Johnson (1792-1844), Penn band leader and internationally renowned African American musician and composer, this award celebrates community service provided by University of Pennsylvania student performing arts groups.


Community service includes, but is not limited to, fundraisers and charitable performances benefiting outside causes, workshops for local public school children, and group participation in After School Arts at Penn (ASAP). Throughout the year, it is the responsibility of the student group to record and evaluate community service. At the close of the academic year, participating student groups will submit a summary of their community service including a reflection on the impact their work has made on their communities and the members within the student performing arts group. Student performing arts groups are not required to be members of the Performing Arts Council (PAC) or have an affiliation with Platt House and/or the Office of the Chaplain to be eligible for this award.

Groups that receive the Award are not eligible to receive it again for the following two academic years.


The student performing arts group that demonstrates the most meaningful and consistent community service as determined by a committee of Penn staff will be awarded its name upon a plaque to be displayed in Platt Student Performing Arts House and a dinner party hosted by the Office of the Chaplain.


2013-2014 CityStep
2014-2015 Disney A Cappella
2015-2016 New Spirit of Penn Gospel Choir
2016-2017 The Mask and Wig Club
2017-2018 Front Row Theatre Company
2018-2019 Sparks Dance Company

Questions about The Francis Johnson Baton can be directed to Read more about Francis Johnson here.