Alumni Voices

Author: Kelly Graf

One of the perks of my job at Penn is that I get to meet and learn about some of our very dedicated and generous proud Penn alumni. Every other month, I interview one of our Ivy Stone Society members for the Society’s newsletter, the Ivy Stone Insider. Every interview reveals fascinating details about the individual including why they came to Penn and why they give
back to the University. Today, I am happy to share one of these profiles with you!

Name: Caroline Finger
School/Class Year: C’07

Where Are You Now?
I currently live in New York City and work for an affordable housing redevelopment non-profit. I’m also working towards a Master’s degree in Real Estate at NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate.

What made you choose Penn when you first enrolled?
Choosing Penn was a simple decision. As a legacy, my positive experiences stretch as far back as I can remember, and I had the Penn wardrobe as a child to reflect that. However, my decision to ultimately choose Penn was far more individualized. As a prospective student-athlete, I knew Penn would provide the perfect balance between top-notch academics and competitive athletics, with an administration, faculty and coaching staff that took both pride in and supported their student-athletes. This coupled with the University’s location within one of the nation’s most celebrated cities made my decision to choose Penn extremely easy.

Your history of giving definitely makes you a Proud Penn Donor. When did you first start giving to The Penn Fund and what prompted you to make The Penn Fund a priority?
My first gift to The Penn Fund was made as part of the Class of 2007’s gift drive. The beauty of Penn is that it is an expansive University with a diversity of experiences to be had by all students. Rather than focus all of my giving towards the particular experiences which positively benefited my time as an undergraduate, I find it important to support The Penn Fund, whose mission is aligned with the overall undergraduate student experience.

What has inspired you to continue giving every year?
Although I’ve graduated, the University continues to afford me many services and opportunities, and my connection to Penn continues to grow. I view my giving to The Penn Fund as not only a thank you for the University’s continued support but also as a personal pledge to current and future Penn students and graduates to help provide them with the benefits that have been made available to me.

What is your favorite memory of Penn?
It is impossible to pin-point a singular favorite memory of Penn. Aside from attending my first basketball game at the Palestra at the age of 4, other memorable moments were my first regular season game freshman year at Franklin Field wearing the Penn uniform as a member of the Penn Women’s Lacrosse team, my summer semester abroad in Florence and living in such close proximity to all of my closest friends. However, of all of those memories, it is hard not to include the graduation ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences where the large screen flashing the name and major of each graduating student froze on mine for approximately 10 minutes.

What advice do you have for current students at Penn?
College has its stressful and challenging moments, but it should not be defined by those moments. If, for whatever reason, you find yourself overwhelmed, pull the lens back and realize that you are at an amazing university, living in a remarkable city and among life-long friends. Your undergraduate years should not be entirely about the books, so try to absorb as much of the full Penn experience as possible to ensure you have the best time. Be mindful that in a few years you will undoubtedly wish you could do it all over again, so make sure to enjoy it while it lasts.

How would you advise Penn students to give back and how would you stress the importance of it?
First and foremost, giving to Penn is not measured by a dollar amount. There are many different ways to give back to the University and each way is just as important as the next. It is evident that Penn’s support systems have been largely provided to its students and graduates through the generosity of its alumni; and as recent graduates it is imperative to continue and build upon that mission.


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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Kelly G., The Penn Fund

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