Monthly Archives: December 2011

Penn Men’s Basketball Faces UCLA in Anaheim, CA

Author: Kiera Reilly, C’93

On December 10, the Penn Men’s Basketball team made their first trip to Southern California since 2003. The last time the Quakers came to town, they played the USC Trojans at the Forum in Inglewood (and beat them quite soundly). This year, Penn was scheduled to play the UCLA Bruins. As the famous Pauley Pavilion on UCLA’s campus is undergoing renovations, the game was set for the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA (home of the Anaheim Ducks Ice Hockey).

The Honda Center in Anaheim, CA - location for Penn vs UCLA on Dec. 10th

Colleagues in Alumni Relations, Athletics and Development coordinated to plan a pre-game reception before the game and invited all alumni and current parents in the Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego areas to attend. We hoped for an enthusiastic crowd but weren’t entirely sure how many Penn fans would attend. In fact, we had an informal bet, with all of us guessing the number of attendees. Everyone thought I was a bit crazy for making the high guess of 380, but I knew that our Southern California alumni would want to come cheer for our Quakers! I underestimated the turn-out by a bit – over 400 people attended our reception before the game.

Jerome Allen, W’95, the Jordan R. Rockwell Head Coach of Men’s Basketball, stopped by early in the reception to say a few words. PennClubLA President Melissa Wu, C’98, thanked him for coming and presented him with a local treat – an In-n-Out t-shirt and gift certificate.

PennClubLA president Melissa Wu, C'98, and Coach Jerome Allen, W'95

Below are some photos from the reception. We must thank PennClubLA (www.pennclubla.com; Twitter: @PennClubLA) , Penn Club of Orange County (twitter: @PennClubOC), Penn Club of San Diego (twitter: @PennClubSD) and the Wharton Club of Southern California (www.whartonsocal.com) for their help in spreading the word about the reception and game. If you are in Southern California, I encourage you to connect with any of these Penn alumni groups!

A good time was had by all, but unfortunately the Quakers came up short on the court, falling to UCLA 77 – 73. Senior Tyler Bernardini, from nearby Carlsbad, CA, had a career high 29 points in the game, so we congratulate him on a great performance in front of a home crowd.

We hope the team comes back to visit us soon! Go Quakers!

For a re-cap of the game see: http://www.pennathletics.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=1700&ATCLID=205345011

Follow the team as they are set to play Duke on Jan. 1. Updates via twitter @PennBasketball

(As we post this, the Lady Quakers are in San Diego for the Surf N Slam classic – after defeating UNC-Greensboro yesterday, they will play host the SDSU Aztecs in the championship game at 2 pm PST. For more information see: http://www.pennathletics.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=1700&ATCLID=205353175 and follow the team @PennWomensbball)

Ed Balsamo C'96, W'96, brought his son to meet Coach Allen.

Dedicated Quaker fans Allan, C'81, and Dale, MT'81, Bell traveled from NJ for the game and caught up with Don Rosen, C'78

Penn Club of Orange County's Jeannie Quan Hogue, C'88, and her daughter were excited to see so many alumni in Anaheim.

I caught up with classmate, Mitchell Kraus, C'93, and we reminisced about when Jerome Allen and his teammates won the Ivy League Championship our senior year.Ed Balsamo, C'96, W'96, brought his son to meet Coach Allen

Me and Penn Club LA members, Gloria Lee, C'97, GCP'98, WG'07, Melissa Wu, C'98, Terry Baris, C'84, and Andy Firchau--all of us sporting our Red & Blue.

It was a beautiful California day, perfect for socializing outside.

The basketball team strategizing during a time-out.

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Battery-Powered

Author: John Mosley, C’14

Since grade school, the winter break was the most looked forward to event of the school year. For me it meant, no homework, snow days, and, most exciting of all, the holiday season. My parents and my teachers have always referred to this break as a chance to “recharge my batteries”, a phrase which, until very recently, I thought was extraordinarily stupid. I do not run out of energy. I do not require recharging. Even during my break, I always plan to be as active as possible. “Recharging the batteries” was not something that I needed. Until this semester…

Now, I fully recognize the importance of my battery maintenance. I am dead tired and feel like I could collapse at any moment after this most recent round of finals. I may need a change of batteries. “Relaxation” is my keyword this break. The first few days have been a bit hectic, with the last minute holiday shopping and whatnot, but I absolutely cannot describe how good it felt to wake up late this morning and saunter around the house in my pajamas. The couch was such a comfortable fortress from which to drink tea and watch CNN. I can even read a novel of my choosing on my own time! Also, with growing older and maturing, I have come to view the holidays not as a gift machine, but as a time to enjoy the company of my family and friends.

The more exciting development in the last couple of weeks is that I am wrapping up the celebration of my very first Hanukkah with my girlfriend’s family. It really has been a great experience to spend time with both families on two different holiday celebrations. I even got to learn the Hanukkah prayer, so I guess I know can add Hebrew to my list of (semi) learned languages.

While my batteries are on full recharge mode, I greatly look forward to the next semester. It may just be the nerd in me, but I love the feeling of starting 5 brand new classes every few months. I feel it about 2 weeks before every new semester. New instructors, new and interesting subject matter, and, overall, 5 brand new experiences to carry with me through life. Of course, by the end of February, I will be sick to death of most of these classes and the stress involved, but, for now I will hold onto this warm and optimistic feeling. Of course, I will very much miss Sweeten Alumni House during this break!!! Happy Holidays!

 

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You Can Do It!

Author: Lisa Niver Rajna, CAS’89

Reading Atul Gawande’s Better reminded me of several New Year’s resolutions I have and the challenge I face in trying to keep them.  He advises that “the core requirements for success are diligence, to do right, and ingenuity.”

His five suggestions for how one might make a difference are:

  1. Ask an unscripted question.
  2. Don’t complain.
  3. Count something” “if you count something interesting, you will learn something interesting.”
  4. Write something:  “you should not underestimate the effect of your contribution, however modest.”
  5. Change: “So find something new to try, something to change. Count how often you succeed and how often you fail. Write about it. Ask people what they think. See if you can keep the conversation going.”

I do think this is a great plan to create the change you want to see in this world. I hope you will make a resolution to adopt one or more of his ideas for how to make a difference and share it with someone!

As inspiration, here is my resolution for 2012:

  1. To find a literary agent for our book about our story of meeting online.
  2. To get a new job.
  3. To travel to Asia for one year.
  4. To get engaged underwater.
  5. To lose sixty pounds (and keeping it off for at least two years).

Often, I wonder who would be interested in our personal story about finding love after the age of 39 or the dramas of online dating when you don’t realize you are more than thirty or fifty pounds overweight.  Sometimes, I think no one will read our blog or our stories or come to our travel events.  But, at our last event, we had over one hundred people attend, so maybe someone is listening…

In an effort to connect, I looked on QuakerNet to find Penn alumni with knowledge of books and publishing. I searched about 200 profiles and wrote to about 18 alums. I have had many long encouraging phone conversations with several. With their permission, I am publicly thanking them here for their willingness to support an unknown alumna!

I give you these words from Ralph Waldo Emerson to inspire you to live a better life, starting January 1, 2012 and continuing throughout your life:  “Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”

If you’d like to read my blog, you can view it here. I was also recently awarded the title of “Most Enthusiastic Alumni Blogger” by Penn Alumni Relations for my writing for Frankly Penn. Feel free to contact me at lisaniverrajna@gmail.com and share your own New Year’s resolutions! Or list them below in the comments…

Here are just a few people I’d like to thank for helping me out over the last year

Some helpful Penn Alums I would like to recognize:

Dennis Drabelle        http://www.washingtonpost.com/dennis-drabelle/2011/05/03/AFKWxWiF_page.html

Barbara Magalnick    http://www.barbaramagalnick.com/

Joel Goodman            www.HumorProject.com

Please check out the 55th international conference on “The Positive Power of Humor and Creativity” that will take place on June 1-3, 2012 on Lake George in upstate New York– honoring Gabby Giffords with the “Survive AND Thrive” Award.

I wish you all the courage to make your dreams come true in 2012.

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Locust Walk Talk: Penn Nursing at the annual Penn–Cornell Luncheon in Rochester

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

Penn Nursing has a proud 125-year legacy.  Since 1886, nursing education at Penn has transformed the preparation of nurses and the profession of nursing. Many of the early nurses educated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and other programs truly changed the world. They managed hospitals and brought clean uniforms, order, and dignity to healthcare, changing the way society viewed nurses and, in the process, turning nursing into a respected and sought-after profession. Today’s nursing students build on that robust foundation as they work with world-renowned faculty to generate new knowledge in research and forward advances in clinical care.  These students join approximately 14,000 alumni from the HUP School of Nursing, Penn’s nursing education programs, and the current Penn School of Nursing. Each one of these students and alumni is caring to change the world through their efforts as practitioners, educators, researchers, community leaders, administrators, and policy advocates.

This year for the annual Penn–Cornell Luncheon, the Penn Club of Rochester hosted Dr. Mary Ersek, Associate Director, Center for Integrative Science in Aging and the John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, and Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Her presence at the traditional event highlighted our outstanding Nursing School’s Quasquicentennial.  This annual luncheon between the two school’s alumni clubs in Rochester has been going on for over 70 years.  Originally the gathering served as an affair for the two clubs to get together before the Penn-Cornell football game, which was originally played on Thanksgiving. The luncheon, now held the Monday before Thanksgiving, serves as regional institution with the heart of the event being the keynote speaker who hails from hosting alumni club’s school.  Today, the hosting responsibilities alternate between the University alumni clubs, based on whether Penn or Cornell is the home team that year.

A surviving ticket from the 1938 Luncheon.

Dr. Ersek’s address was titled “It is Your Life, Anyway: Healthcare Decision-Making in the context of Serious Illness,” which she delivered as an engaging and encouraging approach to palliative care.  The talk introduced the specialized area of healthcare that is both family-centered and focused on relieving and preventing the suffering of patients to the attendees. Unlike hospice care, palliative medicine is appropriate for patients in all disease stages, including those undergoing treatment for curable illnesses and those living with chronic diseases, as well as patients who are nearing the end of life. This type of care involves addressing physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual needs and to facilitate patient autonomy, access to information and choices.

An illustration from The New Yorker that Dr. Ersek used to show her point

Though a heavy topic, Dr. Ersek delivered a genuine talk about the importance of having choices in one’s treatment, gaining the adequate information about those choices as well as learning that information from an appropriate health care provider, having conversations with both health care provider and family in light of the options, and finally making the decisions and communicating them successfully to all involved. She focused heavily on having the conversation, since this is the most difficult part in the process.  Insightfully, she relayed anecdotes from her nursing students to demonstrate how to broach the subject.  In class, Dr. Ersek would show a clip from 2007’s The Savages featuring Laura Linney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Philip Bosco having the difficult discussion as two children discovering their father’s ideas for care.  The scene is humorously awkward, but in the end provided her students with the means to be open to having this discussion with future patients as well as with their parents and future health care proxies.

Pennsylvanians and Cornellians alike left the luncheon appreciating the field of palliative care. They noted in passing that they need to be open to talk about end of life care before it should be of any concern.  While not talking about it, any insured person will be given all life-sustaining therapies. However, this may not be in the individual’s own needs.  The best time to discuss this topic is while one is still able to establish her or her own definition of quality of life.

The corresponding football program for the surviving luncheon ticket

Dr. Mary Ersek directs the palliative care minor in the School of Nursing and teaches in courses in this program. She also mentors pre- and post-doctoral fellows and students and is the lead author of the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) Geriatric curriculum. Dr. Ersek’s research centers on pain and palliative care in older adults, with an emphasis on residents of nursing homes, including the investigation of the efficacy of a pain self management group for residents and the examination of the effectiveness of a pain management coupled with intensive support and consultation.

Dr. Ersek referenced the New Yorker article, “Letting Go: What should medicine do when it can’t save your life?by Atul Gawande.  It is a very powerful read, accentuating many of Dr Ersek’s themes and points.

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Penn Friends are Forever: The Florida Edition

Author: Stephanie Y., C08

This past weekend, I went to Miami, South Beach, and Key West with six of my girlfriends. We were all Penn ’07 and ’08, and it was the first trip we had taken together as a group since graduating from Penn.

It was the most relaxing way to celebrate the end of 2011 before jumping into holiday celebrations. The trip reminded me that Penn friends are forever, no matter how often you see them.

Wishing you all a happy (and hopefully warm) holiday season with your family and friends!

South Beach

Key West

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Penn Alumni Puzzle Master

Author: Lynn Carroll, C’93

Here’s a tip of the hat to Bernice Gordon, Class of 1935, the oldest contributing author to The New York Times crossword puzzle. Hurrah to you, Bernice! Enjoy.

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Q&A with a Track & Field Master-Part I: Ruthie

Author: Nicole C. Maloy, W’95

(To read Part II of the interview series with Track & Field Masters competitor,  Deirdre Morris-Abrahamsson, C’93, GEd’94, go here).

When I joined Penn Women’s Varsity Track & Field in the fall of my Freshman year, Co-Captain Ruth Greenfield was a positive voice in my ear, and a stellar example of what any collegiate scholar-athlete would want to be both on and off the field. Well, ladies and gentlemen, she’s still got it.

Triple Jumper Ruthlyn Greenfield-Webster, Nu’92 wins 2nd place in her division at the 2011 World Masters Athletics Championships.

Ruth Greenfield-Webster, a married mother of two in Yonkers, NY, now works as a Registered Nurse and a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. And, in her spare time, she competes at the national and world levels in the Masters division of Track & Field.

Wait, what?

Track & Field “Masters” are athletes aged 35 and over (30-34 gets you “submaster” status), and who, to put it simply, just aren’t done yet. I became more and more intrigued by this phenomenon and Ruth’s involvement in it first because, let’s face it, it’s pretty awesome. But second, because I qualify. Gulp. Might I find myself high jumping again one day?

Two of my own former Track & Field Captains say yes but, as they both compete now, they are biased and not to be trusted. Still, what is it like? This, Part I of II, is Q&A with Ruth, who still holds the #2 spot in Penn’s record books for both the indoor and outdoor Triple Jump. Part II will feature Deirdre Morris-Abrahamsson, C’93, GEd’94, who remains among Penn’s top 10 in both the Pentathlon and the Heptathlon, which consist of five and seven events, respectively. For anyone who’s not clear on that, we’re talking about 5 or 7 events in one track meet.

Ruth during her Penn days, right around when she broke the Indoor & Outdoor Triple Jump Records. Number 1, indeed!

Q&A with Ruthie
4 years Penn Women’s Varsity Track & Field, Senior Co-Captain
Triple Jump, Long Jump, 400m Dash, 4x400m Relay

Why did you join the track team at Penn?

I was recruited out of Mount Vernon High School (New York) by Coach Betty Costanza. I had also been competing at the Penn Relays as a high school athlete so I had grown to love the campus and the track. After visiting Penn my senior year of high school and spending some time with the coaches and the track team, I decided that Penn was the best fit for me, both athletically and academically, as the U. Penn School of Nursing was the #1 nursing school in the country at the time.

Stylin! Competing in the 800m run for Mount Vernon High School.

Why did you stay on the team for as long as you did?

Participating in sports (particularly track and field) has always been a part of who I am. The Penn Women’s Track Team was essentially a second major for me. I arrived at U. Penn with two goals in mind… to succeed at obtaining a degree in nursing and to succeed as an athlete in the sport of track and field. Even when it got tough and it became difficult to juggle both, it never crossed my mind to quit. That was a self-imposed “non-option.” I loved it too much! (Note: Ruth was also involved in the Penn Gospel Choir and Friars Senior Society.)

Your proudest accomplishment in Track & Field at Penn?

There were multiple proud moments: breaking the indoor and outdoor school records in the Triple Jump, being a 4-time Heptagonal (Ivy League) Champion in the Triple Jump, being the recipient of the University of Pennsylvania Althea Gibson Award for athletic excellence which I received at graduation in 1992, and being invited to the 1992 Olympic Trials in the Triple Jump!

What’s your favorite Penn Track & Field memory (if different from the above)?

All of the above! But if I had to pick one…it would be breaking the school records!

Reunited and it feels so good! Ruth and her two daughters with current and former members of the Penn Women’s Track & Field coaching staff at the 2010 Penn Relays.

What prompted you to start competing in the Masters division? What did it involve?

While I was playing volleyball in the league in NYC, one of my friends discovered that, in addition to our love for volleyball, we also shared a history as track and field athletes. He then told me about “Masters Track and Field.” I had never heard of that division. I thought my track and field life was finished in 1992 when I turned down the invitation to the Olympic Trials and that unless you were an elite athlete, track and field was over after college.

He asked me to go to a track meet with him (he was in his early 40s and had competed in it 10 years prior). I hesitated at first because I didn’t know if I had the time to dedicate to it (I knew I couldn’t just do it as a hobby…I would want to REALLY train). I was also working full time, had my 2 young children, and was running my business. But like a true competitor, I see everything as a challenge. I did not want to back down from what I saw as a “challenge,” so I went out and bought some cheap spikes the day before the meet, did a few bounds in my front yard, and went to the local track meet the next day.

I competed and later discovered that I had jumped well enough to beat that year’s National Champion’s jump by 2 feet. I was really shocked that I was still able to jump so well, so it was a no-brainer after that as to what my decision would be. My friend became my coach (he was also a Triple Jump specialist in his youth) and I started to train with the intent of becoming a serious competitor.

What are your strongest memories of your first competition as a Master?

After that initial meet, my first real meet (post dedicated training) was at the Armory (New Balance) Track & Field Center in NYC! I will never forget walking on to the track, standing on the runway, twirling around and looking up at the rafters and saying to myself, “I’m home!” with a huge grin on my face.

Good gracious, look at that height. Outdoor Nationals, 2010. For context, this is nearly 20 years after her graduation from Penn.

In which events do you currently compete or plan to compete?

I started out with the Triple Jump and Long Jump, then figured I might as well do the 60m Dash & 100m Dash since I’m sprinting in training anyway. I was never trained as a short-sprinter at Penn, so that took a lot of guts and I was infinitely nervous before each meet. But I had to come out of my comfort zone. After my left knee surgery in 2008, I dropped the Long Jump (that leg was my take off leg for the LJ, but not for the TJ). After a 2 year recovery period, I wanted to go back to having 3 events, so I decided to add the 200m Dash to my 100m Dash and TJ events. Like I said before, I love a challenge, and I especially love to challenge myself! So currently, I compete in the 60m Dash, 100m Dash, 200m Dash, and TJ.

What was your proudest accomplishment in Track & Field at the Masters level?

Again, there are a few! My near-American Record in the TJ in the W35-39 age group (I missed it by a mere 1 inch at the age of 39). Individually, I’m most proud of my National Champion titles and #1 U.S. rankings, as well as my World Championship Silver and Bronze medal titles and Top 10 World rankings in the TJ. As part of a team, I’m most proud of my World Champion title as a member of the U.S. 4x100m Relay team.

How does being a mom affect your life as a competitive athlete? How have your children responded?

It’s been interesting juggling it all. When I started competing again, my children were ages 4 and 8. I took them to the track to train with me because I had to. At first, they pouted and resisted, but after a couple years of accompanying me to the track to train and to my track meets, they began asking to train with me and wanted to compete as well, so that’s what we did. Both of my daughters have won racing and jumping events in their youth divisions and they are very excited and anxious to continue pursuing training and competing in track and field. Of course, I’m on cloud 9 because having my children compete in the sport that I have such a passion for has always been a dream of mine (even before I even had children). The fact that I can compete AT THE SAME TIME they’re competing is a tremendous bonus for me and I feel truly blessed!

Deirdre and Ruth in 2010.

What advice do you have for other women/former college athletes who might be interested in competing again?

If the thought even crosses your mind to start competing again, please reach out to those of us who are currently competing. It can be very daunting to try to figure out how much time it will take to train and compete and how to incorporate training and competition into what is usually an already busy adult life that’s filled with work, family, and other obligations. We understand! We’re living it! And we can tell you, it’s not impossible! And… it sure is a heck of a lot of fun! Anyone that’s interested in competing in Masters Track and Field can visit websites such as: http://www.usatf.org, http://www.usatfmasters.org, http://www.masterstrack.com, http://www.nationalmastersnews.org, and http://www.world-masters-athletics.org for more information.

Anything to add about your experience with Penn Women’s Varsity Track & Field?

An AWESOME group of coaches and an AWESOME team of AWESOME women who became my family away from home! That experience has helped me to become the strong woman I am today. There’s nothing you can tell me that I can’t do!

Anything to add about your experience competing in Track & Field in the Masters division?

The health benefits go without saying. But there’s just something about this sport. Even at this level, the camaraderie and feeling that regardless of where you are (nationally and internationally) we are one big family, is ever-present. You develop friendships that extend beyond the track and field. And the experience of constantly being around dedicated, motivated, and kick— people is PRICELESS!

See Part II, Q&A with Penn Track & Field alumna Deirdre Morris-Abrahamsson, C’93, GEd’94 on January 13!

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Sunrise

Author: Sabrina Shyn, C’13

I’m getting ready to leave campus for winter break to visit my family in Korea.  Before I leave, I wanted to share with you all this photo I took  at daybreak on Locust Walk.

Best wishes to all my friends, teachers, and staff at Sweeten Alumni House! See you next year…

 

 

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Top 4 Things I’m Looking Forward to Next Semester

Author: Jonathan Cousins, SEAS’14

As this semester quickly draws to a close, I know that as soon as I get home, I will love being there, and will wonder what Penn has in store for me upon my return.  So, to remind me about what is coming, I am going to list my top 4 things I am excited about for next semester.

#4 Spring Fling

Last year, a combination of being sick and rain caused me to miss out on some of the best parts of fling (namely, the quad).  This semester, I will get a fuller fling experience, and everyone loves the time of the year when the entire campus could care less about school work.

#3 Classes

Many people will disagree with me here, and argue that classes are the main deterrent to returning to campus. However, for me, classes provide order to my life and add obligatory social interaction to my day.   No matter how boring the class, if you are sitting with a friend, you can find a way to make it interesting.  This leads directly into…

#2 People

It is great to be able to hang out with my friends, but I also have good interactions with my advisor and my professors.  I have created a great network of people here, and I look forward to deepening the bonds that already exist and creating many new ones.

#1 Sports

The primary thing I get at Penn and nowhere else is the student section, especially at basketball games.  Last semester was pretty good, but there are some great promotions and new activities coming from the student section in the new year.  I can’t wait for Big 5 games, and of course the HUGE matchups against Princeton and Harvard.

What are you guys looking forward to in the next semester? I’d love to know!

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great break and a happy holiday season.

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Penn Year in Review

Top 11 Moments for Diversity at PENN in 2011

-Cecilia Ramirez C’05 SPP ’10

This has been a big year for diversity and multiculturalism at Penn. In honor of the New Year that is upon us, I decided to do a little “Year in Review ” of my own.

Here are eleven of my preferred moments of 2011 at Penn:

#11.  La Casa Latina Receives Biggest Donation- La Casa Latina: The Center for Hispanic Excellence receives a $20,000 donation. This was a big deal this year because this became the center’s largest donation in history. The generous contribution was made my alumna, Ruth Colp-Haber, C’81, WG’85, and will help strengthen student programming, and hopefully provide more events featuring delicious Latin food!  :-)

Denzel Washington at Penn's Commencement 2011

#10.  Denzel Washington Comes to Penn- So maybe this didn’t do anything for multiculturalism at Penn per se, but I sure was excited to see one of my favorite actors be selected as Penn’s Commencement speaker- Denzel Washington- a talented, inspirational, and accomplished actor and philanthropist, who happens to be a black man- bonus!

UPAAN Celebrates a Decade

#9.  Asian Alumni Network Celebrates a Decade- The University of Pennsylvania Asian Alumni Network (UPAAN) celebrated its tenth anniversary this past Homecoming. The celebration featured their 7th annual mentoring exchange and a delicious luncheon that welcomed student, alumni, staff, and faculty from across the years.


#8.  Makuu (Also) Celebrates a Decade – Makuu Black Cultural Center, one of my favorite places on campus, also celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2011. Their elegant evening celebration featured speakers, performances, and remarks from Dr. Amy Gutmann.


#7.  The ARCH Receives $15M- The Arts, Research and Culture House (ARCH), home to the Asian, Black, and Latino cultural resource centers on campus, received its largest donation in history as well- 15 million buckaroos! The donation will be used to renovate the entire building, providing the cultural resource centers with state-of-the-art offices and upgraded meeting space- and an elevator! Yup, an elevator :-) Renovations begin in the summer of 2012.


#6.  LGBT Colors Project Launches- The first issue of LGBT Colors Project, Penn’s first student publication targeting queer students of color, was launched at Penn in December. The ground-breaking magazine publishes articles, essays, poems, fiction, and interviews to provide visibility and support to the diverse and talented queer student community at Penn. Awesome!


#5.  Two Students of Color Win Marshall Scholarships- Kristin Hall W’ 11 C’11 and G.J. Melendez-Torres NU’11 W’11 were each awarded the prestigious scholarship to study at the world-renown University of Oxford in the UK. What a fantastic accomplishment!


#4.  Penn Spectrum hits the road! In 2010, Penn hosted its first alumni conference focusing on the Asian, Black, Latino, LGBT and Native alumni populations—Penn Spectrum. This successful conference took to the road last spring, starting in the Big Apple, then DC, and Atlanta; next stops include Miami, LA and Puerto Rico! Hundreds of diverse alumni from across the nation are coming out in support of this traveling series. Looks like the Spectrum Conference of 2013 at Penn will be even bigger!


#3.  Penn Unites Against Racism- More than 200 students and faculty, including Amy Gutmann, united against racism in a silent circle outside of College Hall this spring. The “We Belong” protest was in response to a DP article written about one man’s experiences with racism on campus. The sobering accounts called anti-racism allies to action and led to a victorious display of solidarity and advocacy at Penn.


#2.  Homecoming Toasts to 40Years of Black History- The Center for Africana Studies (CFAS) – originally Afro-American Studies and the University’s first program dedicated to studies of the African diaspora- celebrated its 40th anniversary during Homecoming! CFAS had a jam-packed day of events that honored this milestone in Black History at Penn and attracted hundreds of alumni to join the celebration. Cheers!


#1.  Faculty Diversity Plan Unveiled- Penn released a $100-million Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence this summer to diversify the university’s faculty. A few weeks ago, this historic plan also received $2M for the Presidential Term Professorships, an integral part of the plan that will support up to ten professorships.  This was a huge step for diversity at Penn and definitely my #1 moment at Penn in 2011!

What do you think of the top 11 moments? What was your favorite moment of 2011?

Can’t wait to see what 2012 holds for Penn.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, QUAKERS!

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