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People Who Went To Penn: Elisha Kane


Graduation is a time that reminds us all to think about what we want to accomplish in our lives. Too bad we’ll never out do Elisha Kane, who accomplished a shit ton of stuff despite having a name that probably got him beat up in the playground as a child. 

During his time here, he contracted rheumatic fever, which inspired him to graduate Penn's med school in 1842---and also made him an immunological badass for surviving the sickness.

Post-graduation, he joined the Navy (read: have a totally amazing study abroad). If Kane were alive today, he’d start his study abroad stories with “Remember that time I negotiated a peace treaty with China” or “OMG do you remember when we were scaling that volcano in the Philippines but I so had to pee and…”

But after becoming ill again (and surviving again), he was sent by the US government for a dangerous Mexican-American War mission. As if he wasn't already badass enough, he was able to survive a lance wound, and complete the task. Such a modern day Tom Cruise.

During an 1855 Arctic expedition on the USS Advance, EK wrote what would become his famous novel, Arctic Explorations. The book was used as both an informational guide and as a really good title for a porno that takes place in an igloo.

He fit all his heroics into a mere 37 years, and his funeral was the largest ever in America---until Lincoln’s a couple of years later. We thank Kane for his bravery, insight into the Arctic, and the ability to make anyone feel bad for not accomplishing anything in their lives. Hats off to you, you overachieving Penn alum.