Python is the most popular introductory language at top U.S. universities
Yours truly, 2007 [PDF]:
Python is well designed for beginners being easy to use and easy to learn. It was, in fact, designed to be easier to learn, read and use yet powerful enough to illustrate essential aspects of programming languages and software engineering. These advantages not only make Python well suited for teaching programming to Computer Science students but also for students in other areas.