Locust Walk Talk: A Night in Boston

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

I had the opportunity to host an Alumni Relations gathering in Boston this October featuring Eric J. Furda, Dean of Admissions.  In conjunction with the Admissions Office’s “Introduction to Penn” program the night prior, Alumni Relations partnered with the dean for a general reception.  Our event was open to all alumni in the Boston area and we were thrilled by the great response.

The Pru Building as seen from Back Bay

In my last Top Penn List post, I alluded to going into more detail about this great evening in Boston. Our room in the Marriott was set up in Penn navy to contract the reds in the carpet.  With a few simple touches, the reception was the subtly Penn themed-background for the evening.

Excited alumni started showing up 15 minutes early and were enthusiastic to engage in conversation with older friends and new acquaintances.  I was delighted to feel the enthusiasm of our Boston alumni and I was happy that two of my colleagues, Cat from Admissions and Brett from Wharton, were present to mingle and join in the exchange.

Event Set Up

As soon as the Dean showed up, he entered the lively conversations, learning what was of interest to our alumni that evening.  I followed him into the room where he was greeted by groups of alumni huddled around in chat.  Energy in the room of the great, engaging discussions that folks were having was so impressive.

Almost apologetically, Eric asked for everyone’s attention to give an update on the Admissions process as well as the state of the student body.  The rapt crowd appreciated the insider’s view of life at Penn and eagerly awaited the right time to ask their questions.  Folks were inquisitive and ask direct questions.  The Dean answered the queries with aplomb and encouraged the interaction.  The allotted time for remarks was doubled and almost tripled as alumni wanted to know more.

The energy of the room

After Eric spoke, I was able to slip into the event.  I had the rare opportunity to be an alumnus at an event that I just happened to be running.  In working behind the scene, I don’t get to experience the impact of these events.  However I was able to find two classmates: Clé, a fellow reunion volunteer, and Ari, one of my Class’s Vice Presidents.  We had a wonderful time catching up.

Both we’re candid about the event.  They told me how impressed they were at the Dean’s message and earnest his work is.  Also, they were very interested in staying updated on the Dean’s mission.  I was encouraged that they will be at later events.  It was great to see them and we made plans for one of the next times I’m up in Boston.

The Dean chatting with alumni

I know why our alumni events are so important – to inform us about Penn, to provide access to our thought leaders and to reconnect with our Penn friends.  Now, I have a greater appreciation for our work since having the quick occasion to see an event like this from the alumni side and enjoying its great energy.


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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Casey R., Locust Walk Talk, Penn Clubs

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