Monthly Archives: May 2013

Red and Blue in Rome

Author:  Kiera Reilly, C’93. @kierareilly

I’m on vacation in Rome, and couldn’t help but notice the Red and the Blue at Oteria Margutta.

If you’re traveling to Rome, I encourage you to follow one of our main Penn contacts in Italy, Erica Firpo, C’94, @moscerina on Twitter.

She has great recommendations for food, sightseeing, and art.


photo (6)

photo (10)


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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Kiera R.

Alumni Weekend 2013 Photos

Author: Aimee LaBrie

Did you miss Alumni Weekend this year? Never fear–we have numerous photo albums that will give you a sense of the experience.  If you did attend, you might find some pictures you’d like to download for yourself. All of the general Alumni Weekend images can be found at this link and you can also look for reunion photos here.


Participants at the ever-popular Gallery Hop.


Alumni Weekend photo fun with Ben.

The parade!

The parade!

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Filed under Aimee L., Alumni Weekend, Campus Life, Events

Four Critical Happenings in My Penn Life

Author: George Rieder, WH’53

I. It was at the Freshman Orientation Camp when famed Rusty Callow, Penn’s legendary Crew Coach, spoke around an evening campfire. Wearing his varsity sweater, he told a story about a commercial developer who asked his builder son-in-law to construct a high quality residential house. Nothing but the best craftsmanship and materials would suffice. Midway in the construction process, the son-in-law started cutting corners and allowing important details to slip. When the house was finished, his father-in-law proudly announced the home was his free and clear. In effect, the young man had to live with what he had created.

Coach Callow encouraged us to think deeply about what we were creating in our college experience:

* Building on a firm foundation with a sense of where we were going;

* Thinking seriously of the framework or structure of our campus experience.

* Recognizing that disciplined study and action allowed for no seemingly easy shortcuts.

* Viewing this Penn experience as part of a journey where we would associate with and learn from a diverse array of students and faculty.

One message rang in my ear and stayed with me over the years: “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

II. “Dr. Bob” Gerhardt was the Lutheran Church pastor at the Christian Association. Along with Dana Howe, the renowned Philadelphia settlement house leader, Dr. Bob planted a few words that have stuck over the years. One evening as we were leaving the C.A., he looked up and pointed at a star. “That one’s for you, George. Never forget it.” He went on to say:

Just like that star, I was never alone.

* Remember that in giving is the greatest getting. Generosity counts in life.

* Seek to determine your unique strengths and purpose in life. Be conscious of surprises as your real education here evolves.

*  Be thankful that discovery is unending as long as you use it to make a difference in this world,

III. He was a quiet, understated, brilliant giant. He was a distinguished Professor of English and President of the University of Pennsylvania.  Clearly, Dr. George William McClellean encouraged the heart in his teaching and life. It was Hey Day 1953 when unbeknownst to me he had invited my parents to the awards ceremonies. Dr. McClelland knew I was privileged to be recognized. After the ceremonies, he sought out my parents saying , “You must be proud of your son.” My mother was in tears when she told me of Dr. McClelland’s generous act of kindness. My instant responses were:

* I was so proud of my parents who loved me, raised me to be a good citizen, saved for my education, and were adored by my fraternity brothers and friends.

* I was so thankful for the professors and others teachers who opened new worlds of learning for me.

* I was fortunate to have classmates, fraternity brothers, teammates, and coaches,Mask & Wig, Kite & Key partners, and fellow Friars who supported me. I felt thoroughly engaged in a rich and rewarding four years on campus because of them.

* In retrospect, they were part of developing my managerial and leadership styles, of valuing people’s ideas no matter their job title or education, of listening to people before leading them, of establishing authentic relationships.

IV. Suzanne “Sue” Copeland, CW ’53, and I met on a blind date in our junior year. Music, more specifically Mask & Wig, was our common interest. Though quite different in personality types (Sue is a private, introverted person and I an outgoing, extroverted type), we shared some sturdy values—love of family and country, honesty, loyalty, and doing the right thing.  Her wry sense of humor offset my penchant for telling lengthy stories. We laughed a lot, sang and danced a lot, enjoyed the company of neat friends a lot. Our love never stopped growing for 56 years of married life. Sue was my anchor, a devoted wife and mother, a saint in caring for terminally ill parents, generous in giving her time to community activities. Her literary talents often helped me clean up my articles and prepared speeches. What’s more, my Sue made me feel whole.

And, it all began at the University of Pennsylvania. Every time I sing “Any Distance between Us” from the 1952 Here’s Howe! Mask & Wig Show, I think of her—and smile.

George (on the far left) and his friend at their 60th reunion for the  Class of 1953 this past Alumni Weekend.

George (on the right) and his friend catch up at their 60th reunion for the Class of 1953 this past Alumni Weekend.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Guest blogger

Penn Around the World

Author: Patrick Bredehoft

It’s amazing to think that just a week ago, Penn took the Time to Shine tour on the road, hosting its first off-campus event at the Ritz-Carleton in Hong Kong on Tuesday, May 21. The evening was a great success: in addition to hosting alumni from the past six decades, we welcomed Class of 2013 graduates, current students, recently admitted members of Penn’s Class of 2017, deans, faculty members, parents, friends, and Penn staff, all to celebrate the tremendous achievements of this campaign, and of the university.

In all, more than 250 people attended, including a large gathering for President Gutmann’s Time to Shine presentation, followed by a reception for Penn community members representing several generations and a host of countries across Asia and around the world.

I spoke with committed representatives from Penn’s regional clubs and with members of the Alumni Interview Program, with alumni who hadn’t been back to campus in years and with students who had flown directly to Hong Kong from Philadelphia, with global industrial leaders and with NGO interns.  But for everyone present, the groundswell of Penn pride was overwhelming: to a person, each guest was glad of their affiliation to the University of Pennsylvania.  From the April 19th campus events at the beginning of the campaign’s conclusion to the countless beaming smiles halfway around the world, there is a powerful sense of how much Penn has accomplished, as well as a palpable eagerness for what lies ahead.  The campaign conclusion events will continue, and if you have the chance, I’d strongly encourage you to attend one in your area; it’s a thrilling time to belong to Penn.

Below are just a few pictures, but you can view the whole photo album here.




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Filed under Alumni Programming, Campaign, Patrick B., Penn Clubs

Class of 2012 Celebrates One Year Reunion

Author:  Marvin Rocha

In Harvest Season Grill and Wine Bar’s backroom, a place that held a MarBar’s dance floor, 80 members from the class of 2012 converged for their first year reunion–a milestone for Penn as it was the first time that we’ve honored and celebrated this important milestone.  For decades, Penn has welcomed thousands of former students back to campus during Alumni Weekend, with a special invitation sent to those in reunion year.  The first reunion events included the yPenn Highball, Franklin Fest, Taste of Penn, the alumni parade of classes, and the signature class specific event at Harvest.

Members from the class of 2012 reconnected and walked away with a little piece of Penn in their pocket: the 1st reunion gift was a credit-card-sized bottle opener.


And here is the Class of 2012, carrying their class flag and Penn traditions banner with parade during Alumni Weekend 2013! We hope to carry this new Penn tradition ever onward.


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Filed under Alumni Weekend, Marvin R., Reunions, y-Penn, yPenn

A Penn Wedding to Remember

Author: Gabriela Coya, C’14

When 2009 College graduate Susan Garrigle got engaged to Hugh Mallaney last year, they knew they didn’t want to tie the knot in the typical Philadelphia wedding venue.

Like all newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Mallaney wanted to create a night to remember, but they also wanted to offer their family and friends an experience worth traveling across the country for. And when Atiya German, director of Facility Rentals at the Penn Museum, shared the possibilities at the museum where I’m a work-study student, they immediately knew it was the perfect fit.

In addition to already holding some sentimental value (it was the setting of one of their first dates), the museum provided a dazzling reception area just a quick jaunt from Center City.

After their wedding ceremony at St. Agatha – St. James Church at 38th and Chestnut, the couple headed to the Penn Museum to celebrate. I recently caught up with the bride who told me about the new memories she formed at her alma mater.

The bride and groom arrive at the Penn Museum.  Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

The bride and groom arrive at the Penn Museum. Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

The night started off with a cocktail reception in the Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery, where guests mingled in the presence of the third-largest sphinx in the world and explored a royal Egyptian palace.

Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography.

Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

Dinner under the 90-foot dome in the Chinese Rotunda followed, with family and friends surrounded by ancient Chinese art including the world-renowned Crystal Ball.

Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

The 55-pound quartz crystal sphere, dating back to the Qing dynasty, was part of the backdrop.


Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

Even walking around the reception venue was a bit of a history lesson for the youngest of guests.

The flower girl and her father take in the many artifacts. Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

The flower girl and her father take in the many artifacts. Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

Afterward, the newlyweds danced the night away in the Egypt (Mummies) Gallery, amidst pharaohs and mummies of Egypt.

Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

Thank you so much, Susan, for sharing details and pictures from your special day! It was a pleasure to learn more about how Penn’s beautiful campus can be utilized even beyond graduation.

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Filed under Gabriela C., Penn Museum, Student Perspective

My Top Penn List: Alumni Weekend and Commencement 2013

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

Did Alumni Weekend really start 13 days ago? Did Joe Biden speak at Commencement just early last week? If it’s a blur for me, it must have been something exciting for our alumni to see.

As in years past, we have asked you to share in the celebration by tweeting, sharing photos or “liking” our posts on Facebook. You rose to the occasion with your social networking chatter and engagement.

This time, I searched for the hash tags: #Penn AW and #PennCommence2013 to share with you my favorite 10 tweeted or Instagrammed moments from Alumni Weekend and Commencement. Feel free to check out our proud Penn Twitter users by clicking their handles  (note: the opinions and views expressed through these Twitter accounts are the opinions of those individuals and do not reflect the opinions or views of the University or myself).

Parade of Classes 2013

10 ‏@Harry_Cooperman The scene from the Locust bridge @Pennalumni #PennAW

9 @Terner_p Just drove by the Palestra and started crying uncontrollably. #thatsnormal #penncommence2013

Classes of 2013 Classmates at Smokey Joe's

8 @xulucy Thx for the memories, @SmokeyJoesPenn! You’ll be missed but frequently visited by this alum! #penncommence2013

Live Music from Franklin Fest

7 @PennClub Live music at Franklin Fest! #PennAW

6 @Penn Almost 50 years after leaving Penn for Vietnam, Mortimer O’Connor received a posthumous Ph.D. at #PennCommence2013.

A Ton of Penn Tees

5 @alphawat: @Penn, thanks for the #tshirts… errrr #memories #penncommence2013

Ben on the Bench - Instagram
4. shanijamila Reunited with Ben @ Penn! #pennAW #penn5year #pennpride

3. @BrettTopche “This shirt isn’t too small. It’s aspirational.” #pennaw #10lbreunion

60 Miles to Philadelphia by air

2. @travelingheidi 60 miles from Philadelphia, listening to Jesus Jones & Indigo Girls, landing soon for @pennalumni Weekend #PennAW

All the Graduates

1. @Penn A big round of applause to the more than 6,000 members of the #Classof2013! #PennCommence2013

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Filed under Alumni Weekend, Casey R., Commencement, Social Networking, Top Ten


Author: Patrick Bredehoft

If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him.

~Benjamin Franklin

As we consider the reasons why alumni stay engaged with the Penn community after they graduate, perhaps the most compelling one is that Penn is a place where great minds come together. The love of learning brings extraordinary students to campus each year, and, as the director of the the Penn Alumni Interview Program, I love that our efforts can foster that lifelong enthusiasm for the exchange of ideas.

LGBT: Speed Mentoring

This year, prospective students and Penn alumni sat down together (or connected via Skype) in all 50 states and in 127 countries. These discussions served two pragmatic purposes: to inform applicants about Penn, and to inform the Admissions Office about applicants.  However, a far less utilitarian benefit exists as well: in the span of a few short months, more than 20,000 unique conversations took place, each one starting from an affiliation with (or aspiration to attend) the University of Pennsylvania.

Consider this: in the Penn alumni population, you have an uncommon group of graduates—global leaders in the fields of science, industry, and the humanities.  Among Penn applicants, you find tens of thousands of the world’s most talented students: young people who will shape and improve our world for decades to come.  Through Penn’s alumni interviews, these incredible people meet as strangers, but walk away having shared extraordinary ideas, deep-rooted passions, and powerful experiences. Ostensibly, these conversations are about the student, their interests, and the University of Pennsylvania, but inevitably, they blossom into more fruitful discussions.


Below are just a few of my favorite quotes from our interviews this year.  Regardless of who shared these words, I’m glad just to know that these conversations happened:

“In addition to talking about Penn’s Computer Science Programs, we discussed English and Hindu literature, existentialism, Kafka, Camus, and ancient mythology.”

“…he spoke the challenge of providing clean water to families in Yemen…”

“Although we have very different interpretations of the currently political climate, I was completely convinced by the points he raised about financing public education…”

“…she shared her passion for books on quantum mechanics…and Ayn Rand, but she confessed that her favorite author was J.K. Rowling.”

“There were very few questions and answers, but in the course of our hour-long conversation, we shared stories, big dreams, our frustrations about the world, and even our recipes for preparing Turkish coffee!”

“He explained a few surprising connections between Spanish and Chinese, the languages he’s currently studying…”

“We spoke for over an hour and a half, almost like old friends, before I realized that I was running late for my next interview!”

Great thought is not conceived in a vacuum.  The best revelations spring from collaboration;the result of smart people sitting down to share ideas that send sparks out into the murky fields of possibility. It’s thrilling to think about these exchanges as the first in a series, and to imagine that a cohort of these students will continue these discussions on Penn’s campus this fall as members of the incoming Class of 2017!

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Filed under Academics, Interview Program, Patrick B., Volunteering

Alumni Weekend 2013 – Getting Social

Author: Lisa Marie Patzer

This Alumni Weekend 2013, we captured lots of social networking chatter and engagement through tweets, photo shares, video views, and “likes” on our various posts. Here’s a little snapshot of what was happening, thanks to our loyal, engaged, and active alumni!


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Filed under Alumni Weekend, Lisa Marie Patzer, Social Networking

My First Alumni Weekend at Penn

Author: Josh Durando

I just reached my four month benchmark here at Penn and even though I feel like an old vet, there are still a lot of “firsts” I encounter on a day-to-day basis. Just last week I had my first “the copier hates me and I don’t see any paper jam, and it is totally doing this on purpose, and the world is going to end” melt-down since I started working here. Although for that 3 minutes it seemed like nothing else would ever matter again beyond the machine so obviously being wrong about the paper jam (it wasn’t, by the way, there was totally paper stuck in there that I practically had to use a map to find), there have been more significant “firsts” in my time at Penn. The most paramount of these “firsts”, arguably, was experiencing my first Alumni Weekend. As a recent graduate (2008) I’ll be attending my first milestone reunion at my alma mater this fall, making Penn’s Alumni Weekend quite literally my first.

Being an event planner, it is sometimes my job to envision things – see a space, understand the flow of an event, know the logistical process – even though I haven’t seen it, done it, or lived it before. With over 30 events in three days, most of which take place in a single day, I’m sure you can imagine why Alumni Weekend might be a tough thing to envision. Nevertheless, I tried to prepare myself for what was on the horizon, and make sure I had all the details in order for the reunion parties I was planning.


The 15th reunion Mardi Gras-themed party.

While it is sometimes hard to break the temptation to get caught up in the minutia of what you are doing – that centerpiece isn’t quite right, that decoration is crooked – it is important to step away and see the bigger picture. For me, it was important to have faith that the parties I planned would be fun, and go off without a hitch, and to get around campus to see if Alumni Weekend was what I envisioned it would be. It was. In fact, it was better. There is something about the delicate ballet of bringing many moving parts together that make the success of an event, or in this case a series of events, that much more rewarding and special.

I loved seeing the diversity of the events. From the beauty of the 50th reunion at the Barnes, to the fun of playing casino games at the 25th, to the playfulness of a theme party at the 15th or 5th reunions or the excitement of going to a talk by Tori Burch, Alumni Weekend covered all the bases. I think what I loved most, however, was that even if it wasn’t your reunion year, you were welcomed back to campus and still had great events you could take part in like the parade and picnic, or Franklin Fest.

Just a few of the fun giveaways available at the parade.

Just a few of the fun giveaways available at the parade.

From one event to the next, it was smiling faces happy to be back on campus reconnecting with old friends. I loved watching it all happen and being a part of it. With the “first” now behind me, enabling my self-proclaimed ‘vet’ status, I am excited for what is to come. I look forward to more firsts, and exciting new experiences, but even more so, I’m hungry for seconds.


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Filed under Alumni Weekend, Campus Life, Josh D.