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Penn and Wharton Alumni Club of Arizona meet with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton

Recently, the Penn and Wharton Alumni Club of Arizona met with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton for breakfast at the law offices of Tiffany and Bosco, P.A.; organized by club Board members Alan Sandler and Chris Kaup, we started with Mike Tiffany and Mark Bosco, the founding partners of the firm, greeting the guests.

As soon as Mayor Stanton arrived, he worked his way around the conference room, greeting each group of attendees.

DSC_4584The mayor began by informing the group that once again Phoenix has passed Philadelphia as the 5th largest city in the US. The theme of the mayor’s talk was “Is the city set up for the future?”

Mayor Stanton reminded us that we are living in an international economy, and the city has an export readiness initiative, creating opportunities for small and medium sized businesses to learn how to trade. A Phoenix trade office has been set up in Mexico; trade will double in 5-years. The mayor also pointed out that Canada too conducts significant commerce with Arizona.

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During the bulk of the presentation, Mayor Stanton reviewed his three major initiatives for the city:

EDUCATION – To ensure that Phoenix continues to provide a labor force that supports business growth, the city needs to work with and support the poorer schools.

WATER – we are in the midst of a 14-year drought, and need to adopt various conservation considerations now. Among other initiatives, Phoenix and Tucson joined in an agreement relative to water sharing issues; which was a major step for both cities.

TRANSPORTATION – The city needs to address and expand the rapid rail system.   Part of this is being driven by the rapid and considerable growth of Grand Canyon University.

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The Mayor kept us interested and smiling, and we enjoyed a lengthy question and answer session following the mayor’s remarks. Before and after, there was plenty of time for networking.

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Top 5 Highlights of the Penn Club of Chicago Holiday Party – Dec 6th, 2014

Author: Katherine Cheng (W’14, C’14)

The Penn Club of Chicago brought the holiday cheer early this year with a fantastic event – the Penn Holiday Party! Attracting around 100 alumni to the Wicker Park- Bucktown area, the event reunited fellow Quakers from all different classes. Thanks to the generosity of Liane Jackson (C’93), who opened up her space, the Free Range Office for the night of festivities, the venue transformed into a Red and Blue/ Holiday/Winter Wonderland extravaganza. I was happy to be a part of the event planning committee, led by Alexandra Leska (C’13) and felt so proud of the immense school spirit and the “go-getter” Penn attitude everyone brought to make the event a total success.

Crowd Here are my 5 favorite highlights from the event (with collage style pics!):

1. Penn spirit

No matter where they have been and how long ago they have graduated (from since last may to the 60s), Penn alums bonded over the commonalities they shared from attending our beloved alma mater. The Penn culture was evident throughout the crowd – as the social, easy-going personalities intermingled and filled the room with laughter and lively conversation. It was heartwarming to see everyone come together like one big family.

Penn Spirit

2. Eclectic mix of activities

While cheerful jingles played in the background, alums gathered at the various stations of the room. Underneath the Penn flag was the wine/chocolate pairing table. A Penn-themed photobooth entertained various groups of alumni, who donned the Hey Day hat (probably first time since junior year) for a picture. Alums bought raffle tickets at the entrance for a chance to win Penn memorabilia and other prizes. A piñata hung in the center of the room, because why not? At the back of room was the beer tasting station, with a dozen various types of beer thanks to Eric Wu (W’04) and MillerCoors. It quickly became a popular hangout spot, which Quakers dearly nicknamed “The Beer Garden” at some point during the night. Hey, Penn is the social Ivy after all. Some things never change.

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3. Philly cheesesteaks and hoagies

The main course at the party was a healthy combination of Philly cheesesteaks (provided by Mojo’s East Coast Eats) , hoagies, and pretzels. Nothing better to bring us back to our campus days than a large bite of chopped beef with Cheez Whiz on bread!

Food4. Raffle

Thanks to Laura Foltman (MS ’14) and the Penn alumni office, many people were able to win Penn memorabilia, including an antique Pennpoly 1st Edition game from 1991. There were also some one-of-a-kind prizes donated by alums, including a special architectural drawing by Peter Exley (MArch ’90), a Jazz trio with Eric Williams (C’89), and party space for 50 people at the Free Range Office from Liane Jackson (C’93).

Raffle5. Surprise Piñata!

One of the most exciting parts of the party was the piñata. Several Penn alums were called from the guest list to take a shot on breaking the piñata. The first swing was an honorable effort. We quickly realized that the piñata must have been made from really tough material, since the stick snapped in half while leaving the piñata unscathed. After several tries but to no avail, the final candidate finally ripped it apart, as sweets fell out onto the floor among a lot of laughter from the spectator crowd.

PinataOverall, it was truly a memorable evening, thanks to the alums bringing the great energy to the party. One thing is for sure: once a Penn student, always a Penn student at heart!

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No Longer the Old Guard – We’re the SAGES

By: Carolyn Boiarsky, CW’63

When I first arrived in Chicago 20 years ago, I attended several excellent events sponsored by the Chicago Penn Alumni Club, including a lecture at the Oriental Institute by one of the directors of Penn’s Museum. However, over the past decade few events were of interest to me, so last May when the Chicago Alumni Board issued an open invitation to attend its next Board meeting and help with programming, I took them up on their offer.

The result is that a new interest group has been established—The Sages, those of us who graduated in the 50’s, 60, and 70’s. And the Board is now in the process of planning the kinds of programs that are of interest to our generation. Thanks to the encouragement and support of outgoing Club President Michal Clements and some great marketing support from Laura Foltman and the Alumni Relations Office, our first program, “An Evening with Shakespeare” on November 6 was a great success.

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Zachary Lesser

Serendipitously Penn’s Shakespearean scholar Zachary Lesser had been invited to Chicago to make a presentation at the city’s Humanities Festival on the weekend of November 9. He agreed to come several days early to present a lecture for us prior to watching a performance of King Lear at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Luck continued to flow our way for finding a venue. The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre graciously provided us with a space for the lecture in their scenic lobby overlooking Lake Michigan and the giant Ferris Wheel. With the sun setting over the Lake rather than the quad outside College Hall as a backdrop to our lecturer, we studied various versions of some of the passages of Lear from two of the quartos. Our homework: to determine which of the quartos Barbara Gaines, the Director, had used for the final lines of the play. The lines in one quarto are spoken by the Earl of Kent, in the other by Edgar and sometimes a director splits the lines between the Earl and Edgar. Summoning those critical analytical skills that we acquired during our years at Penn, we watched intently as the final lines played out. To our amazement–and amusement–Gaines had split the closing lines three ways-the Earl, Edgar and the Duke of Albany.

HandoutBetween the lecture and the performance, we had dinner at Riva on the Pier, our discussions ranging from Shakespeare to our classes at Penn to suggestions for the next Sage event. While most of us were Sages, we ranged from the class of ’63 to the class of ‘93. Some of us were single, like Esther Hershenhorn ’67, others came with spouses or partners, like Larry Feis, ’80 and his wife Brenda. Among the more recent grads in attendance were Liane Jackson, ‘93, who was recently profiled in the Penn Club of Chicago online alumni newsletter, and her mother and Maureen Buchholz, MBA, ‘92. As we Sages reminisced, the younger members gained some insights into Penn’s history: they had never known there was a separate College for Women or the Pennsylvania News.

And then the performance. The story was made more meaningful by the lecture, and Larry Yando as Lear was incredible. I’ve seen him in other plays, Prospero in “Tempest,” a quite different character from Lear, and he seems to simply become the character.

The evening was fascinating, educational, enjoyable. And the group warm and friendly. I read recently in The Wall Street Journal that those of us who have reached the point of being a Sage are more apt to look for friendships that are meaningful. Penn was a meaningful experience for all of us. It is good to be able to once again find meaningful experiences through that institution.

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Penn Alumna, Love of Jewelry, and the Penn Museum: Perfect Together

KMoustafellosKaren Moustafellos, SAS ’90 incorporates elements of the Penn Museum’s aesthetic in her elegant and restrained jewelry designs. She founded EnA Fine Jewelry in 2006, more than a decade after sketching the Museum’s dramatic spaces as a student.

Now she’s returning to her roots and honoring the Penn Museum as muse—EnA Fine Jewelry has named Dr. Julian Siggers, Williams Director of the Penn Museum, and Marianne Lovink as the “Cover Couple” of its 2014 special catalog. To celebrate, EnA is donating 20% of all catalog purchases through October 30 to support the Penn Museum’s educational programming.

Coming from a multi-generational Penn family, Karen isn’t sure how many of her Philadelphia neighbors know about the treasures within the Museum’s galleries, so this campaign is her effort to spread the word.

Her undergraduate class assignments for “Design of the Environment” often included sketching the grand marble staircase off the Museum’s Kamin entrance, and the Chinese Rotunda.Treasurescatalogcover

“We often drew from the perspective of looking up or down the staircase, allowing us to capture some of the artifacts in view. As for the Rotunda, it’s dramatic and challenging, yet rewarding to sketch because there’s a spare, restrained aesthetic that is also elegant,” says Karen.

Billed as “smart girls’ jewelry,” EnA’s classically contemporary line includes rings and drop earrings accented with blue topaz, amethyst, onyx, and more. This year’s special catalog features the 18K gold snake chain “Revolve Lariat” necklace and the “Champagne” necklace, among others. As a sculptor, Marianne Lovink is particularly fond of the blackened sterling silver “Captivity” necklace’s volumetric qualities.

Karen’s EnA Fine Jewelry will be among two dozen spectacular jewelry and accessory designers and companies being featured this year at the upcoming Treasures Jewelry Sale and Show, organized by the Museum’s all-volunteer Women’s Committee and running October 30 through November 2, in the Kintner-Dietrich gallery wing of the Penn Museum. Only select pieces from the 2014 EnA special catalog will be available at the Treasures Jewelry Sale and Show.

View the catalog here!

Photos, top to bottom: Karen Moustafellos, SAS ’90, of EnA Fine Jewelry. Cover of EnA 2014 special catalog. Images courtesy of EnA.

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Penn Club of Chicago Quizzo: The Reign Continues: September 16, 2014

Author: Eric Wu, W’04

Following the tradition of hosting 1st September events throughout the country, The Penn Club of Chicago descended upon the Lakeview neighborhood to popular bar Mad River for a night of intellectual challenge, beers, and wings. Coincidentally, Mad River also happens to be the only known official Philadelphia Eagle bar in the city, a rare occurrence in Chicago Bear country.

ChicagoQuizzo1 Penn Club of Chicago Quizzo

With great marketing support from Laura Foltman, from the Alumni Relations Office, and our club president Michal Clements, we were able to make this the largest attended Quizzo event for the Chicago club, possibly turning this for one night into Smokey Joes Midwest

36 alumni and 6 guests split into 5-6 separate mixed teams. In all Penn brought 40+ people to a bar on top of their normal crowd. We had a mix of everyone from recent undergraduate grads to recently minted Wharton MBAs.  Among those in attendance were incoming Penn Club of Chicago president, Peter Exley (GAR 1990), Sarah Doherty (SEAS’10 and VP of Young Alumni and yPenn chair), as well as founder/proprietor of new Chicago based craft brewery Moody Tongue Brewing, Jeremy Cohn (W’09).

Mad River is known for its eclectic and wide ranging mix of topics from general pop culture questions to world history, and is a very popular destination among the Chicago trivia scene. Among the answers asked which team Penn answered were correctly naming the famous video game series Castlevania, or identifying the football team of Hall of Fame defensive end Michael Strahan, and identifying the Jim Carrey movie where this written quote appeared from (Liar Liar), or naming the band who sang this song (Semisonic). Going into the final question, 3 of the Penn teams were in the top 5.

Sarah provided an impromptu raffle of the Penn swag graciously provided by the alumni office. She also boldly predicted in an email earlier that week that Penn would come out on top of trivia. With all the recent Penn accolades including Best College Nationwide , Number 1 Party School , it only seemed logical that that Quaker domination continued. Her premonition proved true. Team Penn brought that swagger into the final question with the top Penn team going all-in the final question. Game set match. Victory! The bar manager came over to let us know that we had unseated a team that had won 4 of the last 5 trivia nights. Could this be the beginning of a new dynasty?ChicagoQuizzo3 ChicagoQuizzo4 ChicagoQuizzo5 ChicagoQuizzo6

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One Book, One University

By Michelle Falkoff, CAS ’95

Last week, a group of Penn alumni who live in Chicago got together to talk about the Penn Reading Project book selection, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: a Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures, by Anne Fadiman. The book is an exploration of the ways that miscommunication between doctors, patients, and their families can affect healing, and it raised fascinating questions about the ways that cultural perspectives of rank and authority can (but don’t have to) complicate the doctor/patient/family relationships. The book group was the Penn Club of Chicago’s first in a series of events themed around Penn’s Year of Health.

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Since many of the members of the group hadn’t met before the discussion, we started by introducing ourselves and giving some background into our relationships to Penn and Chicago. While this served as a lovely icebreaker, it also provided some initial context for how we all came to the book itself: some, like our discussion leader, Dave Pacifico CAS’03, had extensive knowledge of the subject matter through study of anthropology; others, like our host, Saul Rosenberg, C’61 and one of the Penn parents, Rose Hilmara (mother of a current Penn sophomore) had a lifetime of professional experience with medicine and pharmacology that gave some perspective on the medical issues the book raised. And many of us, myself included, brought just our personal experience with the medical profession and our opinions about the way American cultural norms affected our reading experience.

Our conversation was rich and varied, starting with our initial impressions of the events the book related and moving on to more complex exploration of the relationship between the body and the soul. We agreed up front that there were several basic communications that led to the medical tragedy on which the book focuses.

First, there was the basic issue of linguistic translation, which affected all aspects of patient care—in the absence of effective literal translation, doctors had trouble getting complicated concepts across to the patient’s parents, and the parents had difficulty explaining what they did and didn’t understand. Second, though no less important, was the issue of cultural translation. The patient’s parents didn’t trust the doctors because they didn’t perceive the doctors to be acting in the patient’s best interest, and the doctors weren’t (at least initially) interested in making the family understand why what they were asking was so important.

The issue of how best to medicate the patient implicated both types of miscommunication: the parents didn’t understand what the doctors asked of them in terms of things like dosage, but they also didn’t trust that the doctors were medicating the patient correctly, and so they’d adjust the dosages themselves if they perceived a particular drug to be working, or not working, which was a significant factor in the eventual tragedy on which the book focuses.

We found that, in our experience, these types of literal and cultural miscommunication aren’t limited to circumstances in which there are language and cultural barriers. Medical language has become so specialized that it’s often difficult for lay people to understand what doctors tell them without additional research; insurance has made negotiating the medical landscape byzantine and intimidating. Culturally, we tend to put medical professionals on pedestals, but the Internet has served a democratizing function in its provision of access to medical knowledge to lay people, even as it’s provided additional opportunities for confusion and hypochondria. This meant that, for us, the book proved helpful beyond its basic narrative; we weren’t surprised to learn that it had been required reading at Penn’s nursing school several years ago, and we agreed that it would make for useful reading for all medical professionals.

One of the most fascinating topics for us was the way the book described the benefit of integrating non-Western healing methods into the patient care experience. We talked about ongoing research into the effect of spiritual practices on healing and the ways in which the union of the two approaches has often proved successful in increasing rates of healing, no matter the perspective of the patient. While there was some spirited debate about this topic in particular, we agreed that the progress the doctors had made in the community the book described was very encouraging.

Overall, the discussion of the book itself was very enjoyable, and it was also exciting to feel like we were experiencing something similar to that of the first-year Penn students—it was a nice way to stay connected to our college experience, no matter how far away it was. With the help of our Regional Alumni Director Laura Foltman and the support of the University, Penn Club of Chicago President Michal Clements did a wonderful job organizing, so if other alumni groups are interested in doing this for next year’s book, they will be happy to serve as resources.

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(Editorial Note: Michelle Falkoff’s forthcoming book: Playlist for the Dead, is eagerly anticipated by the Penn Club of Chicago book group. This young adult book will be released Jan. 2015)

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Penn Serves LA Strikes Again; This Time With Paint

By Leanne Huebner, W’90

Over thirty Penn Alumni and their children joined together for a fun beautification project for El Nido Family Centers in Mission Hills.  We were thrilled that Elizabeth Fields, Julie Gutowski and Kiera Reilly from the Penn Western Regional Office joined us. And we welcomed special guests in town from campus Penn Professor David Grossman, Ph.D., Director, Civic House and Civic Scholars Program, and Katie McCarthy from the Penn Development Office, both lending their painting skills for good.

All in all, the team completed the center’s foyer, a key event room, as well as a hallway in bright white.  The highlight for many participants was contributing to a full wall-sized canvas mural alongside the Pacoima mural artist.  Volunteers brought together her vision for a grand-scale masterpiece to add cheer and interest in the center’s main lobby area.

Stuart Berton, El Nido Board President and Wharton ’61 graduate, thanked the team and provided a great overview of the important work of El Nido, a nonprofit that has served Los Angeles for 89 years.  Each year, the centers reach over 11,000 Los Angelenos  through its community outreach, early education and teen pregnancy initiatives, and gang-prevention programming.  While many individuals come to the center, El Nido social workers are also in the field meeting individuals and assessing families in their homes and schools.

Penn Serves LA's Jane Gutman with El Nido's Stuart Berton

Penn Serves LA’s Jane Gutman with El Nido’s Stuart Berton

A few highlights of their work were shared.  For instance, their GRYD program for gang-prevention has experienced success rates of up to 98% working with at-risk youth.  Their teen pregnancy recidivism rate is 80% lower than the national average, with only 4% of teenage mothers they serve having a second child before they turn twenty years old.

Penn Serves LA's Leanne Huebner is thrilled with the event.

Penn Serves LA’s Leanne Huebner is thrilled with the event.

“We are excited to help El Nido with such a great, enthusiastic group of volunteers,” shares Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16, one of the Penn Serves LA Directors and coordinator of this event.  “And to have David and Katie here from Penn lending a hand makes our day of brightening the facility with fresh paint all the better.”

View all the photos from the day here.

The entire group poses to celebrate a job well done!

The entire group poses to celebrate a job well done!

The next Penn Serves’ event will be Saturday, August 9th from 9 a.m. to noon and you can reserve your spot here.  Penn will be serving LA Waterkeepers in an effort to help identify the impact of debris on our area’s water supply.  “It’s a great opportunity for your science-minded side as we will be surveying and collecting valuable data,” shares Christine Belgrad, W’87, PAR’15, PAR’17, event coordinator.
Many of the past Penn Serves sell out, so please reserve your spot quickly.

Read about our past events:

December, 2013 – Holidays are a Time for Giving

November, 2013 – Sending Holiday Warmth to our Troops

August and September, 2013 – Serving the Environment and LA Leadership Academy

May, 2013 – One on One Outreach

March, 2013 – Habitat for Humanity

January, 2013 – Inner City Arts

September, 2012 – The Midnight Mission

June, 2012 – Turning Point Shelter

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