Category Archives: Historical

Penn Traditions: The Good, The Bad, and THE RED & THE BLUE!

Author: Nicole Svonavec GEd ‘09

Every college student takes part in traditions on their campus as part of a unifying undergraduate experience.  I’ve attended and worked at several colleges so far, and Penn’s traditions stand out for their uniqueness, mass appeal, and staying power.  Experiences like Hey Day, Spring Fling, and taking a photo with your boo at the LOVE statue, have stood the test of time.  Creative Class Boards, Penn Traditions students, and other student leaders are forming new traditions (shout out to Holifest!) every year.

On the other hand, some traditions have faded into history.  And let’s be real, I’m feeling okay about that.  While I love reminiscing with our Old Guard alumni about retired traditions from their Penn days, I see a few good reasons to keep these in the archives:

“The Bowl Fight”

Although these strapping young lads look quite happy in the photo (from 1905), The Bowl Fight stands as one of Penn’s most historic, but also most sketchy traditions.  I’m not sure which one of these students was elected to be shoved INSIDE that bowl by his peers, but I would cry seeing our fabulous freshmen and sophomore duking-it-out on College Green in present-day.  Final verdict: This tradition is one of Penn’s best (craziest) stories, but a happily retired one.

Photo courtesy of Collections of the University Archives and Records Center

Photo courtesy of Collections of the University Archives and Records Center

“The Poster Fight”

(Note how many of these old traditions include the word “fight.”  Thankfully the advent of Pottruck Gymnasium seems to have given students a more productive outlet for their pent-up energy).  1905 was a busy year for traditions, and The Poster Fight stands as another fine example of class rivalries at their best/most intense.  The poster below (located in Sweeten Alumni House – come visit!) shows how “no blow was too low” when asserting your eminence over other classes.  Hopefully they all hugged it out at the end of the day.

poster fight3

“Kissing the Boot”
Everyone loves a good freshman rite-of-passage, but the 1940s-50s tradition of kissing Ben Franklin’s boot outside of Weightman Hall strikes me as a bit unsanitary.  Good thing freshman carried this out in early fall, because kissing a metal boot in the winter seems like it could cause the same nightmare as getting your tongue stuck to the flagpole in elementary school (Note: this did NOT happen to me, whew).

Photo and facts courtesy of Collections of the University Archives and Records Center

Photo and facts courtesy of Collections of the University Archives and Records Center

The Penn Traditions program is currently working on a new event (to launch in fall 2014) aiming to teach current students about some of these hilarious/spirited/dangerous traditions of the past.  If you took part in a really fun tradition on campus during your time at Penn, email svonavec@upenn.edu so we can include it in our event!

*Thanks to the Penn Archives and Under the Button for inspiring this post!

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Campus Life, Historical, Memories of Penn, Nicole S., Traditions, Uncategorized, yPenn

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Author: Liz Pinnie

Yesterday a friend from Admissions stopped by the Interview Program Office for a cup of coffee during his break from sitting in committee (yes, it’s that time of year!).  As he melted into a chair and took a slug of his coffee, we started to chat about his impressions on reading hundreds upon hundreds of interviews.

What has recently struck J. about interview reports is the ability of interviewers- of all Penn class years and schools- to touch upon those certain qualities that makes Penn Penn, and a Quaker a Quaker.  Interviews took place via skype, phone, and in person conversation all over the world this year- from Dubai to Detroit, from Slovakia to Santa Monica- from alumni ranging in age from 22 to 85.

In 64 years, there have been a few changes at Penn- a transition from typewriters to computers to tablets, the conversion from Penn-specific building to community oriented growth in West Philadelphia, the evolution from weekly letters home to dorm hall phone calls to texts, the creation of Locust Walk as a pedestrian thoroughfare, the full integration of women to the University, and growth through eight different Presidents (among a few other changes- The Arch, anyone!?).

However, what we’re seeing from interview reports is that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Throughout Penn’s past, a passion for activity both inside and outside of the classroom has remained, along with a desire for growth in knowledge, a hunger for integration, and excitement for innovation.

Over 12,000 of your fellow alumni are discovering students with these indelible Penn qualities from all over the world through interviews- if you’d like to help, join the Interview Program by clicking here, and share with us what you think makes a Quaker a Quaker.

 

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Filed under Campus Life, Historical, Interview Program, Liz P., Memories of Penn, Uncategorized, Volunteering

November 5, 1895

Author: Janell Wiseley

 

This may look like an ordinary trowel, but it is no such thing. This trowel was used to lay the cornerstone of the Dormitory Quadrangles on November 5, 1895.

 

trowels

Courtesy of the University of Pennsyvlania Archives and the Penn Facebook page.

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100 years with the Sphinx

Author: Janell Wiseley

Have you ever been to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology?  Have you ever wondered about the Sphinx – a 15-ton single piece of red granite, the largest such stone sculpture in the Western Hemisphere and the sixth largest in the world?  How did it get there, and why is it at Penn?Sphinx-story1[1]

Wonder no more.  Check out the Penn Current for the full story of how the Sphinx arrived in Philadelphia in 1913.

1913 sphinx

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Filed under Historical, Janell W., Penn Museum, Philadelphia

Home Sweet Home

Author: Janell Wiseley

I have worked at Penn, more specifically the E. Craig Sweeten Alumni House for over 10 years, and every day I’m thankful that I do not work in your typical nine to five office building.   Sure, we have desks and a conference room, but we also have a fire place in the living room and comfy couches in the lounge.  It’s also been a part of the Penn campus for a long time…

In 1897 two events took place at the University of Pennsylvania which would culminate 85 years later in this building.

During that year the General Alumni Society filed its papers of incorporation with the County of Philadelphia, and the Delta Tau Delta fraternity established its Delta chapter at the University of Pennsylvania in a row house at 3533 Locust Street.

Woodland Avenue at the intersection of 36th and Locust Street

Woodland Avenue at the intersection of 36th and Locust Street

In 1914, Delta Tau Delta decided to rebuild its premises and acquired the two adjacent houses, 3535 and 3537, the latter having been briefly the home of the Lenape Club. The three structures were thrown together.  The firm of two young architectural alumni was retained for the new commission: Bissell, Sinkler &Tilden (E. Perot Bissell 1893 and John D.E. Sinkler 1898): the cost was $24,000. The house was occupied in May 1915.

The campus neighborhood in which the fraternity house stood was improved by the University’s post-World War II development programs.  The most dramatic change came in the mid 1950’s when the College Hall Green was created with the closing of Woodland Avenue and the construction of a subway system to carry the trolley cars that once crisscrossed the campus.

Further demolition in the area left the Delta Tau Delta House with a clear view of the Green, which was dramatically landscaped in 1979 as part of the Blanche Levy Park project.  In 1972 the office of the Dean of Students moved into the house when the fraternity closed its local chapter.

Nine years later the house was designated to be the new home of the alumni program.  The architectural firm of Dagit, Saylor, (Peter Saylor, AR’63) was commissioned to plan the renovations and refurbishing.

All of the funds for the renovation and refurbishing were contributed by Trustees, alumni, friends, classes and associations of the University.

E. Craig Sweeten Alumni House

E. Craig Sweeten Alumni House

On June 19, 1981, the Trustees approved a resolution naming the new Center in honor of Senior Vice President for Development and University Relations, E.  Craig Sweeten a member of the Class of 1937. On May 14, 1982, at the opening of the Class of 1937 45th reunion program, Mr. Sweeten raised the flag, officially opening the new Alumni Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

The alumni office had been one of the most peripatetic of the University departments.  Originally located in offices in downtown Philadelphia, the General Alumni Society moved to Irvine Auditorium on campus prior to World War II.  In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s there was a series of five moves that ended with the General Alumni Society and the Department of Alumni Relations in Eisenlohr Hall.

The new Sweeten Alumni House brings together under one roof the offices of Penn Alumni, the Regional Alumni Clubs, Multicultural Outreach, Classes and Reunions, the Alumni Interview Program and many other alumni programs.  It also provides facilities for alumni and student meetings and a reception area for returning alumni.

Text and pictures courtesy of University Archives.

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Hey Day 1993 – 21 Years Later

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

As the Junior Class celebrates Hey Day today, the Class of 1993 is busy preparing for our 20th reunion in just a few short weeks. But it’s also a good time to think back and remember our time as students. It’s hard to believe that twenty-one years ago, on April 24, 1992, we were strutting down Locust Walk about to become Seniors and officially begin our last year at Penn.

Remember the bookstore wall? Huntsman Hall now stands where this wall was. Hey Day is coming - buy your hat, canes and shirts!

Remember the bookstore wall? Huntsman Hall now stands where this wall was. Hey Day is coming – buy your hat, canes and shirts!

I asked my classmates to share their memories of Hey Day, but no one was willing to fess up and share anything on the record. So, here is Hey Day 1993…names withheld to protect the innocent.

Anonymous Classmate #1

OMG, Hey Day! I had 3 job offers and was deciding between them. Completely forgot that a rep from one of the 3 firms was coming to meet me that day to talk about his company. After many, many cocktails, I stumbled back to off-campus housing midday in my red t-shirt and broken hat to find him sitting on my front steps. I could hardly put 2 words together. Cheers to my housemates who saved the day and invited him into our filthy stinking apartment and got him completely wasted. Needless to say, I accepted the offer and stayed at that job for 12 years. It was so awesome. He was my first boss — we just had drinks together this past Tuesday!!

Everyone gathered in off-campus apartments and houses to start the celebration.

Everyone gathered in off-campus apartments and houses to start the celebration.

Hey Day Kiera Lisa

Hey Day Regan 2

Anonymous Classmate #2

First of all it was one of my best days at Penn – being with all my best friends on the Junior Balcony, hugging each other and laughing, while at the same time seeing – in one place – so many of our classmates that I had met during the 3 years before.

I remember after all the festivities started to die down, standing buzzed in the lightly falling rain in the middle of College Green listening to Jerry Brown give a campaign speech for President. I remember thinking, “Boy did his campaign staff really pick the wrong day to come to campus!” Everyone in the audience was a drunk junior – barely standing, cheering and not listening to him. It was a surreal experience for sure!

We made our way from Super Block, over the 38th Street Bridge.

We made our way from Super Block, over the 38th Street Bridge.

And then we headed to the Quad.

And then we headed to the Quad.

Hey Day Quad

Hey Day Lincoln

Hey Day Karen Jamie Deanna

Hey Day 2 friends

Hey Day girls college green

Anonymous Classmate #3

I remember I had a blast that day…smooched a couple people amid the hustle and bustle and had a great excuse to act silly and irresponsible all day. What I remember most though is how I ended the day…meeting class of ’92 friends on Locust Walk. One friend (Name withheld), W’92, took a bite out of my styrofoam hat and then drenched me in beer head to toe. He told me it was part of the Hey Day tradition and to this day I am not sure if his claim was true or just a sneaky opportunity to soak me :-)

And our class board led us down Locust Walk to College Green. L-R: Ed Miller, Elissa Laitin, Lisa Luther, Julie Berliner, Chrissy Bass, Mike Rosenband, Laurie Bieber, Brooke Hayes.  Not pictured Jennifer Spadano and Doug Rosenberg.

And our class board led us down Locust Walk to College Green.
L-R: Ed Miller, Elissa Laitin, Lisa Luther, Julie Berliner, Chrissy Bass, Mike Rosenband, Laurie Bieber, Brooke Hayes. Not pictured Jennifer Spadano and Doug Rosenberg.

Hey Day Regan

Hey Day Kathleen P Scoops

Hey Day crowd

Hey Day classmates

Congratulations to the Class of 2014 – we hope you have wonderful memories of today to share twenty-one years from now!

The Penn Archives shared the history of Hey Day.

See photos from today’s Hey Day on campus by following @UofPenn on Instragram or @Penn on Twitter. Hashtag is #HeyDay.

1993 Classmates – it’s only a few weeks until our 20th reunion

We can’t wait to see you on campus May 10-11, 2013!

93.Graphic

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Filed under 20th Reunion, Alumni Perspective, Campus Life, Class of 1993, Historical, Kiera R., Memories of Penn, Photos, Reunions, Traditions

Penn 1993 – Meet Me at the Button!

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

The countdown to Alumni Weekend continues, and before we know it we’ll be back on campus celebrating our 20th reunion. The Penn Class of 1993 reunion and gift committees are calling and emailing classmates, encouraging them to attend and to make a gift to The Penn Fund.

To get everyone in the Red and Blue spirit for Alumni Weekend, here are some buttons I’ve collected from when I was a student, the first few years after we graduated, and now as a staff member in alumni relations.

Buttons I collected while working for alumni relations.

Buttons I collected while working for alumni relations.

Homecoming 1998 and 2000, Penn's 250th Anniversary in 1990, and Ivy Champs in '92-'93.

Homecoming 1998 and 2000, Penn’s 250th Anniversary in 1990, and Ivy Champs in ’92-’93.

 

1992's South Street Strut, 1993s Walnut Walk and South Street Strut

1992′s South Street Strut, 1993s Walnut Walk and South Street Strut

Does anyone else have a Penn button collection?

We hope to see everyone from the Class of 1993 at THE Button in May!

For details about our Saturday parade and picnic, and BIG class Quad party, click here! Don’t forget to follow our Facebook and Twitter. Check out who is planning to come here. Go online and register now!

93.Graphic

 

 

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Celebrating Feb Club – 20 Years Later with Penn 1993

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

As Penn’s Class of 1993 gears up for our 20th reunion in May (that’s right, we graduated last century), we’re re-connecting with each other and making plans to reunite on campus via Email, Facebook and Twitter, things that didn’t exist when we were students! Our class Facebook page sees the most interaction, as classmates post stories and memories from our time on campus:

Princeton at Penn Men’s Basketball – now this is what my friend Chris Lehmann called “Pandemonium at the Palestra”

Penn Six singing “It Ain’t Easy Being Conrad Bain” from their 1993 album “Jacket Off” album. Jason Downie, C’93 – lead singer, Ed Matz, C’93 – lyrics

Brian Keys leading Penn Football past Lafayette – one of our first Penn football games!

“The Simpson’s” writer Matt Selman, C’93, sneaking Penn into an episode.

 

A recent story in The DP* highlighted the Feb Club, a tradition that our class started, thanks to our then-class president Michael “Scoops” Rosenband, C’93. Scoops sent along a page from the Friars directory highlighting his – and our class’ – contribution to fun times in February.

Class President Michael "Scoops" Rosenband credited with bringing Feb Club to our class in the Friars directory.

Class President Michael “Scoops” Rosenband credited with bringing Feb Club to our class in the Friars directory.

Alyssa Newman, C’93,  shared this photo of the Feb Club t-shirt – the rules were that if you attended 10 out of the 11 events, you received a Feb Club t-shirt (this year’s seniors are offering an event each day). Back in the day, a free t-shirt was nothing to scoff at, nor was an excuse to go out and have fun with classmates during dreary February.

 

The back of the original Feb Club - a tradition started by the Class of 1993!

The back of the original Feb Club t-shirt – a tradition started by the Class of 1993!

If you can’t see, here’s the list of activities:

Feb 1 – Cavanaugh’s

Feb 3 – Metropolis

Feb 7 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at the Eric 3

Feb 9 – Smoke’s

Feb 12 – Penn Basketball vs. Columbia

Feb 16 – Cavanaugh’s

Feb 18 – Chasers

Feb 20 – Boccie

Feb 23 – Murph’s

Feb 25 – Ice Skating at the Class of 1923 Rink

Feb 28 – Smoke’s

My personal favorites were watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and ice skating at the Class of 1923 Ice Rink – something I had never done before.

Julie Berliner Bell, C’93, saved her Feb Club shirt too – it’s part of a quilt of other favorite t-shirts.

 Feb Club quiltFeb Club pillow

Our class is looking forward to May when we’ll reconnect, remember and reminisce about the fun times we had while students at Penn. We have a great group of classmates helping to plan our reunion and raise funds for Dear Old Penn – see our class reunion page for the full list.

If you’re a member of our class, be sure to join our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

If you’re planning to attend the reunion, be sure to add your name to the hundreds of classmates already listed on our “We’re coming!” page by emailing reunion co-chairs Lisa Nass Grabelle, C’93, L’96, or Chrissy Bass Hofbeck, C’93.

And, don’t forget to contribute to our Class Gift! We’re hoping to increase the number of participants that donate to Penn – please make your gift today!

Hurrah, Hurrah,

Penn Class of 1993!

We can’t wait to see you back on campus in May!

*The DP states the tradition started in 1997 in this article, and was recently re-instituted in 2004. We respectfully beg to differ with their account.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Weekend, Historical, Kiera R., Memories of Penn, Penn Basketball, Photos, Reunions, Social Networking, The Penn Fund, Traditions

Happy 307th Birthday Ben Franklin!

Ben Franklin

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

Every year, Penn Alumni clubs around the world gather to celebrate Penn’s founder, Ben Franklin. Many clubs celebrate on Ben’s birthday, January 17th, but others celebrate throughout the month of January.

The Penn Alumni Regional Clubs website lists all of these celebrations. There is still time to raise a toast to Ben in Baltimore (Jan. 31st), Seattle (Jan. 27th) and Westchester and Rockland Counties, NY (Jan. 31st).

The Penn Club of Portland (Oregon) gathered on January 17th to raise a toast. Here’s how they notified members:

Benjamin Franklin visited Ireland in 1771 and was invited to sit with the members of the Irish Parliament rather than in the gallery with other visitors. He was the first American to be given this honor. While touring Ireland, he was moved by the level of poverty he observed. Since Ireland’s economy was governed by the same trade regulations and laws of Britain that governed America, Franklin feared that America could suffer the same effects should Britain’s colonial rule continue. So, we are honoring this event on Benjamin Franklin’s 307th birthday on Thursday, January 17th, at where else?

Kells Irish Brew Pub

210 NW 21st Avenue

Portland

Join in celebrating Ben Franklin’s 307th birthday with Penn alums and friends. Beer lovers have long claimed that Franklin’s love of beer led him to say: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Wine lovers and Walter Isaacson know that the actual quote was: “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.” The good news is that both will be available (along with a happy-hour menu until 6:30pm) to continue the proof.

Look for friends, smiling faces and/or small Penn flag.

RSVPs, while not required, are always appreciated.

Club president John Vosmek, C’61, said, “We never had more than 10 at one time – people came and went, but it was all fun.”

Here’s a toast to dear old Ben!

The Penn Club of Portland celebrates Ben Franklin on January 17, 2013.

The Penn Club of Portland celebrates Ben Franklin on January 17, 2013.

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Filed under Alumni Programming, Ben Franklin, Clubs, Events, GAN, Historical, Kiera R., Penn Clubs, West Coast Regional Office

Penn Women Remember . . . Freshman Camp 1964

Submitted by Susan Croll, C’68, CPU’94
(Originally appeared in the Association of Alumnae fall 2012 newsletter)

At a recent meeting of the Association of Alumnae’s 100th Anniversary Planning Committee, Penn songs became a topic of conversation, as we considered having some music as part of the celebration.  This led my 1968 classmate, Barbara Russo Bravo, and me down memory lane, to Freshman Camp 1964.  Just before the beginning of our freshman fall semester, the women of the new entering class boarded buses outside of the Women’s Residence Hall (now Hill Hall), which took us to Camp Green Lane, in the Poconos.

Shortly after we boarded the buses, the two Penn juniors who were leading Freshman Camp, Judy Seitz (later University President Judith Rodin) and Prudy String, handed out documents that were to become our first Penn homework assignment.  The document included the lyrics to all of the Penn songs, including “The Red and the Blue”, “Hail Pennsylvania”, “Drink a Highball”, “Fight On Pennsylvania”, “Hang Jeff Davis”, “Cheer Pennsylvania” and a song entitled “Pennsylvania Women’s Song”.  Our job was to learn the melodies (which they sang for us) and the lyrics – and quickly – since we were to be tested on them frequently (i.e., asked to sing them) during the freshman camp experience.  Over the years, through football games, graduation, Homecoming and Alumni Weekends, we have sung most of the songs repeatedly and will always remember them.  However, subsequent to Freshman Camp 1964, I never have heard the “Pennsylvania Women’s Song” sung at any Penn event.

Barbara and I treated the other 100th Anniversary Planning Committee members to our rendition of the “Pennsylvania Women’s Song” (to the tune of “Till We Meet Again”).

Pennsylvania, here’s a toast to you.

Pennsylvania, royal red and blue.

Memories of friends and fun,

Things together we have done.

And so before our college days are through,

Let us pledge our loyalty anew.

To keep forever, sweet and true,

Pennsylvania.

The sweet melody and lyrics were enough to keep this song in Barbara’s and my memories for the past forty-eight years, along with other memories of Freshman Camp – such as sleeping in cabins on army cots; eating Rice Crispies out of paper bowls, and participating in cabin to cabin competitions to compose and select the Class of 1968 women’s class song and class cheer.  As our class approaches its 45th reunion next May, the women of the Class of 1968 can proudly  declare:  “We don’t even need a cheer.  ‘68’s the greatest year!”

Click the following link to view the Association of Alumnae Fall 2012 newsletter.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Association of Alumnae, Campus Life, Historical, Kristina C., Memories of Penn, Traditions