Monthly Archives: November 2013

Author: Carlos Dos Santos, C’17

Welcome to Penn: the land of infinite studying! So much studying, in fact, that no matter how much one studies, there’s never enough time in the day (or night), and never a high enough cerebral capacity to get through those exams. Long nights pouring into my books, caffeinated highs followed by crashes and waking up the next day having slept through my morning class–is it just me, or does any of this ring a bell?

I’m mentioning all of this because I recently experienced a most trying challenge: the dreaded second Organic Chemistry I midterm. Notoriously difficult and impossibly challenging, I quite frankly never stood a chance against this behemoth as a freshman. In fact, I did so badly that I had to withdraw from Orgo. What better way to end my first semester at Penn than with a nice, big “W” on my transcript? The sore spot comes when you consider how much studying was invested into the class. But don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to be cynical about the whole ordeal. Sure, I didn’t do so hot on a difficult exam. I’m starting to learn that that’s a common occurrence at Penn. This certainly isn’t high school anymore, it’s a tough Ivy League. And we’re being trained to live up to the Ivy League name, even if it means Penn will break each of us down before it can build us up.

In the end, I know I’ll have come out of this experience a bit more knowledgeable than before–if not in Orgo, then at least in a good lesson on defeat. For one, you gotta know when you’ve been beaten, and, secondly, that there’s always tomorrow to pick yourself up and try again. So, after catching up on the sleep hours of which I was in serious debt to myself, I went out and realized that things weren’t so bad after all. For one, I’m now free of Orgo (even though I’m now auditing the class for the rest of the semester)! And now that I’ve been exposed to it once I can get an even better grade next time around, instead of the mediocre one I was expecting throughout this semester.

Most important of all, it’s a life lesson in the end. A “W” on the paper can hardly be called a dilemma. Talk about first-world problems! Grades are important, but I’m not alone when I say that life at Penn has taught me to be more light-hearted about grades, because there are bigger and better things out there in the real world– where there is no such thing as grades– to consider.



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Two Months In…

Author: Rachel Stewart, C’16

“Why did you transfer?” is the common refrain when I mention that I’m a first-year sophomore. Two and a half months in, five classes down, a move from Hill to Harnwell, countless acquaintances made and too many dining dollars spent on coffee– and I still have no coherent answer as to why I transferred. Usually I rattle off some awkward jumble about the lack of social life or the complicated Columbia/Barnard relationship or my desire to get a little further away from home. But I know that Barnard is an amazing school that would have provided me with a great education and opportunities, its location is unbeatable, and the “small-school feel” within a big research university is ideal for me.

Beyond the rhetoric of admissions, however, I was not having the type of experience at Barnard that I had hoped for. Penn is comparable to Barnard in many, many ways, but what I love most about this school is the unquantifiable: making cookies with my roommate at 12am, running into my old friend from high school on Locust, the breakfast sandwich in Bridge cafe, the “Puck Frinceton” t-shirts that populated campus last week. I left Barnard knowing that I would miss a lot about the school and unsure of whether or not making such a big change would be worthwhile.

In my first year of college the most important lessons I learned helped me grow as a woman and understand the importance of community, support, and friendship– all of which I have found in abundance since my move from Philadelphia. I could have stayed at Barnard and succeeded academically but I wanted a college experience that was more than books and papers.

Lately when people ask me why I transfer, I smile and simply say, “For Penn.”



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I’m Coming Home

Author: Carolyn Grace, C’16

The class flags have been stowed away, the tents have been taken down, and the red and blue balloons have been deflated.  But that isn’t stopping me from blogging about the fantastic weekend that was Homecoming!  Here are some pictures of what I did to celebrate the Red and the Blue:


Counterparts literally kicked off Homecoming weekend with a kickball game against the Penny Loafers, a fellow a cappella group.  We met at High Rise Field and played for about an hour, ending the game in a tie 3-3.  It was so much fun! Who knew we could be artsy AND athletic??


I began the day yet again with Counterparts!  We performed a few songs from our Fall show on College Green as a part of QuakerFest.  Because we were the last a cappella group to sing, we got to lead the crowd in “The Red and the Blue.”  Several CP alumni were there to cheer us on!

After our performance, I ran into several Sigma Kappa girls including Nikki Moorer, a member of the Class of 2016 Class Board.  A bunch of us SK’s and CP’s then decided to watch the Penn-Princeton football game together.  Donning my “Puck Frinceton” t-shirt, I made my way to Franklin Field with the others.  Despite the tough loss, we still had really good time watching our fellow sisters in Penn Cheer, throwing toast, and cheering on our Fighting Quakers!

Later that evening, a bunch of my friends went to the joint Fall show for Glee Club and Penn Dance: “Esspressionage – A Latte of Trouble.”  It was fabulous!  After going through my show a couple weeks ago, I can now appreciate fully the amount of effort that goes into making a production, be it singing, dancing, or theatre.



Sigma Kappa welcomed back our alumni with a brunch at our chapter house!  It was great to see a lot of the girls who graduated last year come out for our special alumni breakfast bagels.  I may or may not have nabbed one with cream cheese and lox!  After such a hectic day before, Sunday morning brunch was certainly a nice, relaxing end to the weekend.  Homecoming is a blast as an undergrad.  While I have no intention of rushing the remainder of my time at Penn, and I can’t wait to experience this special weekend as an alum.  Hurrah Hurrah!

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Filed under Athletics, Campus Life, Carolyn G., Events, Homecoming Weekend featuring arts and culture, Photos, Student Perspective, The Arts, The Arts at Penn

Penn Alumni Travel: Apulia

 Author: Anita L. Allen, Vice Provost for Faculty and Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law

The first thing you learn when you arrive in Apulia, is that the region occupying the heel of the boot of Italy is called “Puglia” by the Italians.  Until recently, it was difficult to get to Puglia from major cities outside of Italy. Today the “undiscovered” region is well-served by two modern airports. The Penn Alumni Travel group for which I served as a faculty host, September 17-26, 2013, arrived at one of them, Bari Airport. Along with an affable alumni group from Brown University who would be our travel companions for the week, we boarded a comfortable motor coach.  The 45 minute trip to our hotel in Polignano a Mare was narrated by AHI Travel’s campus host Mick and a local guide, Daniella.  Mick, a British expatriate, was in charge of logistics.  Daniella, a vivacious licensed guide and native of Pulgia, won us over with her detailed knowledge of history  and culture, peppered with the wit and wisdom of her  nona, her grandmother.


Hotel Covi dei Saraceni in Polignano a Mare was dramatically situated atop a bluff overlooking the turquoise and cobalt sea. From the private balcony off my antique-filled room I had a clear view the statue of Polignano a Mare’s native son Dominico Mugdana, famous for the upbeat ballard Americans my age know as “Volare.” Every so often someone would arrive at the statue, snap a few photos and then and break out in song.


To enjoy Polignano a Mare in September, one mostly strolls the streets of the medieval heart of the town for the unique scenery—elaborate flower boxes, stunning views of the sea, weathered doorways and modest churches.  Several ristorante occupy caves built into the bluffs.  But there is amore  traditionally sited osteria, trattoria, gelato stand and cafe on virtually every block.   The streets were not crowded and neither were the town’s several gift shops.   Many of us shopped and ate only, but some of the hardy Penn alums descended to the beach and swam in the chilly ocean every day.

Our first big outing was to central Bari.   Bari is a gorgeous city with an  air of affluence.  An impressive castle, a city gate, and winding streets impress. A personal highlight for me  was  watching ordinary people sitting in their doorways  making pasta by hand and drying it in the open air on large mesh trays.  The women of Bari are known for their version of the Puglian speciality, pasta orriechete, “little ears”. I tested out my dusty Italian on the pasta makers.


My basic skills served me very well in Bari and throughout Puglia, where fewer people speak fluent English than in Milan or Rome.   The linguistic diversity of Puglia contributes to its authenticity and reflects its history as a meeting point of Middle Eastern, African and western civilizations.  Many dialects and languages are spoken in Puglia.  Some communities even speak a form of Greek.  The pasta makers were warm and welcoming, as were the fruit vendors, who invited our Penn Alumni group to sample freely from their stands in a universal language of big smiles and even bigger gestures.

We visited The Basilica di San Niccola in Bari at an opportune time. Dozens of Russian pilgrims, women  in brightly colored modesty attire, packed into the crypt where which the relics of Saint Nicholas are interred. Lovely chanting and song celebrated the Saint.   Daniella sat us down in the main nave to tell us about the design of the church and the  complex story of Saint Nick,  a generous cleric whose bones were brought to Italy for safe-keeping.

Southern Italy produces delicious table wines.  One of our best days began with a tour of Castel del    Monte and ended with a trip to a family winery.  From the famous, centuries-old castle we enjoyed panoramic views of a hilly national park planted with evergreen trees.

It was in the octagonal courtyard of this castle that the Penn Alums paused for a group photograph.


We left the castle grounds for a nearby vineyard and a wine tasting.  Then, at the vineyard, the proprietor first took us on a tour of his thoroughly modern wine production room  and fields where we  tasted  delicious cabernet sauvignon  grapes straight from the vine.  They were dark, small, seeded and warmed by the sun.  On a shaded porch we were treated to a lunch and wine.

On a trip to Puglia, Daniella insisted, the dish that combines mussels, potato and rice is a must taste and the town of  Lecce is a must see.  Lecce is sometimes called the Florence of southern Italy.    The comparison is not especially apt.  Lecce centro is sunny, uncongested and unpretentious. Its ornately carved stone religious and secular architecture is the handiwork of locals without world reputations.


And there is nothing akin to the Uffizi in Lecce.  Daniella urged us to appreciate Lecce on its own terms:  consider that artisans cut off from cosmopolitan northern Italy without marble or  money, hand-carved Baroque, Gothic and Byzantine style  ornamentation from local materials to  create their own masterpieces for their own  communities of fisherman, farmers and merchants.


After soaking up Lecce’s architecture and its Roman ruins I took a few minutes to shop for souvenirs.  I was delighted to discover that tarantism, the subject of one of the two special lectures I had prepared for the trip to Puglia, was manifest in Lecce in the form of spiders on tee-shirts and spider-embellished  tambourines.  Tarantism began as a tradition of poor men and women farm workers claiming to have been bitten by  spiders developing  psychological and neurological-like illnesses treated by pizzica music,  manic dance and the intercession St. Paul.  Of course, I was relieved to find no souvenirs registering the reality of the topic of my other lecture: the pollution, cancer  and labor problems plaguing  the town of Taranta attributed to the Ilva steel plant.

The unique towns of Alberobello and Ostuni were both on the agenda for our penultimate day of group travel.  Both towns are UNESCO World Heritage sites, and deservedly so.  Alberobello is famous for its Trulli houses .




The Truli neighborhoods of whitewashed rounded houses with tall domed grey slate roofs, look like  something from a fairy tale. Cruder, haphazard versions of Trulli dot the landscape of Puglia north to south in large numbers. But it is only in Alberobello that one finds the well-kept Trulli as the dominate style of domestic architecture.  We took some time before leaving Alberobello to visit the lace makers for which the town is also famous


Ostuni is an ancient town with roots in the stone ages built inside and atop sandstones caves, some natural, some carved by hand. For centuries families and their farm animals—goats, mules and chickens– lived inside these cave homes.  After the Christian era, dozens of churches were also built into the rock.    In the 1950s the Italian government found it necessary for public health reasons to relocated the families of Ostuni to  new  housing  on the outskirts of town.  Today, the cave dwellings can be leased from the government for homes and commercial purposes under strict conditions that require a balance of modernization (such as toilets and running water) and historic preservation.  Numerous bed and breakfasts have popped up in the town, and tourism is on the rise. We visited a typical larger Ostuni  family home, now a small  museum of an earlier era.  It consisted of two sleeping areas, a kitchen and two cellars for storing  tools and food.   We also visited four churches that that been converted into wine presses,  vestiges of Byznantine era religious frescos  faintly visible on a few walls.

Our final day of group travel began with a visit to the town of Trani. Once, a wealthy shipping portal to the Adriatic,  today the town  can be enjoyed for its manicured, tree-lined  seaside park;  for views of  a commanding castle repurposed as prison and now a fine arts center;  and  for an active Roman Catholic Cathedral where pilgrims and  Crusaders once rested.  Law alumni in our group took special note of Trani’s role in the development of European maritime law and of the contemporary Italian Court of Appeals which shares a piazza with the main Cathedral.  An historic Jewish Quarter of beautiful winding streets and a vacated synagogue led us to pause for serious reflection.   Control over cultural properties from the Quarter are still a subject of active debate between Trani authorities and Jews now living in the nearby  town of  Barletta.

As we walked along a pier we stopped to chat with fisherman  selling unusual  fishes and  octopuses   to homemakers. We were startled to see how a baby octopus is prepared for market. The live creature was  flung repeatedly  against the bottom on the boat to kill and tenderize it,  then spun in a plastic tub of cold water to curl the tentacles into the shape preferred by local cooks.



Back on the motor coach we traveled only fifteen minutes from Trani to the small town of Bisceglie. There we were treated to a cold-pressed extra virgin oil tasting and a four-course al fresco lunch of regional specialities and rose wine.  Our host was the upscale oil mill “Galantino.” founded in 1926.  After a short video on the history of the Galantino mill in a cheerful subterranean cellar, our guide Massimo escorted us around to see how the mill’s completely natural prize-winning olive oils are produced.  We saw the weigh stations where each October to December truckloads of olives, black and green, shaken from ten thousand trees, are brought in from designated local groves for processing using age-old granite stone grinding techniques with a few high-tech flourishes to ensure hygiene and environmental integrity.  The gorgeous shaded patio under which we dined on dishes that included a fava bean and chicory paste and orriechete pasta, was surrounded by peach trees, grape vines and figs trees. The fruits of these plantings became our dessert along with fresh black cherry tarts, made from olive oil pastry (no butter!) and local cherries.

We were tired and sated when we returned to our hotel. But I headed out to attend an evening  mass celebrating  what happened to be the Feast Day of Padre  Pio, a sainted Capuchin friar associated with the Puglian town of Foggia.  Sickly all his life, Pio serves as the patron saint of people with seasonal depression and stress.  Pio is believed by the faithful to have received heavenly visions and the stigmata.  I enjoyed a moving worship service and was swept into a crowd as I emerged from the  chiesa.  About two hundred were there to process through the streets of Polignano , in the company of a  life-size statue of San Pio ornamented with sun flowers and electric lights. A brass band, a group of strong men bearing an enormous wooden  cross, and priests and young women carrying crucifixes on narrow poles were also part of the sacred parade. On the way back from the procession I ran into others from my  group and we wound up in a trattoria lingering over pizza con melanzana , branzio and insalta verde.

The last day of our journey to undiscovered Italy was totally free after a morning lecture on modern Italy. That evening we joined together for a final group dinner in the hotel to say our good byes and thank our most excellent hosts and guides.

[Interested in joining a Penn Alumni Travel trip? Check out our entire 2014 schedule here. Perhaps we’ll see you in Tuscany next October!]

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Filed under Faculty perspective, Penn Alumni Travel, Travel

A Homecoming in Transition

Author: Jonathan Cousins, ENG’14, GEN’14

            It was a fantastic sports weekend.  There were huge crowds at both Franklin Field and the Palestra, and even though both our football and basketball teams were defeated, both games were somewhat competitive and the energy was incredible.  Penn pride was all over campus, as students and Alums came together to bond over festivities and football.

I lost my voice on Saturday (I’m on the right in the picture), exemplified by the dramatic finish to the basketball game against Temple, as Penn pulled ahead with a minute and a half left, only to let the game slip away.  But in that moment where there was little time left and the game on the line, I heard the Palestra as loud as I can remember during my 3+ years here.  And that is something I will never forget.

As I reflect back on it, I had a great time.  There was a barbeque between football and basketball that was a success, we handed out hundreds of “Quaker Nation” shirts, and the basketball team even wore them during warm-ups.  After the game Bill Cosby spoke about family and putting a child through college, and provided a great end to a fun day.

This was my last homecoming as a Penn student.  Among other things this semester (last NSO, last “The Line”) I have been having trouble dealing with the idea that my time at Penn is coming to a close.  But homecoming is different.  This homecoming is a transition year for me, and while it may be my last as a student, I will be a Penn Alum for the rest of my life, and I hope that I will get to make the trip to Philadelphia many more times on November weekends.  This year I was already here, but next year will be my first real chance to come home to Penn.

I am on the right side of the yelling students in the #15 jersey

I am on the right side of the yelling students in the #15 jersey

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Filed under Alumni Programming, Athletics, Campus Life, Homecoming Weekend featuring arts and culture, Jonathan C.

Happy Veterans Day!!

Author: Edna Gonzalez, GED’15

This is my view every morning on the way to work

This is my view every morning on the way to work


The fall is in full swing and I’ve fallen (quite literally) prey to the yearly count of student injuries. Below is the lovely boot I’ve been sporting for about 4 weeks.



For those who attended Homecoming, I sported the “boot” proudly on Locust walk. You might have seen me wobbling around with my Penn gear on taking photos of people enjoying their time. If you missed Homecoming, I have to say…YOU MISSED OUT! The Taste of Penn had delicious foods from different ethnicities. Locust walk was buzzing with students, children, Alumni, and even their pets! It was great seeing Alumni, young and old, come from all over the country to visit campus. I felt like a true Quaker.





Even Ronnie, a dog in the Penn Vet Working Dog program arrived with his foster mom to enjoy the scenery. I recommend you take a look at the amazing work they’re doing by training dogs to be search and rescue canines. You can foster if you live in the area!


Now if only if I can find the excitement and energy I put into homecoming to hold me up this week. I have major assignments due every day this week! How on earth did other graduate students survive??? I just keep reminding myself….Thanksgiving break is around the corner!

I also heard a rumor going around that it might snow and rain this week. Ekk!! I’m not ready, especially with a boot around campus! Cross your fingers that it won’t snow!

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Filed under Alumni Programming, Campus Life, Penn Vet, Penn Working Dog Center, Student Perspective

Penn Shines in California

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

To celebrate the successful conclusion of Penn’s Making History campaign, the University is hosting “Time to Shine” events around the world to thank alumni, parents and friends for their support. California, home to over 27,000 alumni, welcomed President Gutmann at two events in California early in October –  in Los Angeles and San Francisco – and our Penn family came ready to shine!

TTS LA reception 10.8.13

First up was Time to Shine Los Angeles at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where a record number of alumni, parents and friends attended to celebrate Penn. See more photos of the event here.

Terry Baris, C'84, Jess Garvey, C'09, and Aileen Level, C'99, GED'00, members of the Penn Club LA board and Time To Shine host committee are ready to welcome everyone.

Terry Baris, C’84, Jess Garvey, C’09, and Aileen Level, C’99, GED’00, members of the Penn Club LA board and Time To Shine host committee are ready to welcome everyone.

Host Committee members Peter Shoemaker, C'86, Nancy Bergmann, C'89, Beth Kean, ENG'89, and Denise Winner, W'83.

Host Committee members Peter Shoemaker, C’86, Nancy Bergmann, C’89, Beth Kean, ENG’89, and Denise Winner, W’83.

TTS LA Brian Chi 10.8.13

PennClubLA president Brian Chi, W’10, is ready to promote the club’s upcoming events.


Heather Lieberman, C'94, President Gutmann, Matt Rosler, C'96, and Todd Lieberman, C'95.

Heather Lieberman, C’94, President Gutmann, Matt Rosler, C’96, and Todd Lieberman, C’95.

The following morning, a small group of Penn donors and volunteers leaders met for a breakfast discussion with Eric Furda, C’87, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions. After a lively discussion, the alumni staff headed south to San Diego. We attended a reception with the Penn Club of San Diego. Hoopes Wampler, Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations, provided guests with a campus update, and Eric Furda, spoke about admissions at Penn today. We were excited to welcome an enthusiastic crowd, including several potential Penn applicants. Click here to see the event photos.

Penn Club of San Diego president B. Bea Rajsombath, C'99, welcomes everyone to the event.

Penn Club of San Diego president B. Bea Rajsombath, C’99, welcomes everyone to the event.


Former club presidnet Robby Koeppel Foss, C'92, GED'92, current president B. Bea Rajsombath, C'99, and Kiera Reilly, C'93, from Penn's Los Angeles office.

Former club presidnet Robby Koeppel Foss, C’92, GED’92, current president B. Bea Rajsombath, C’99, and Kiera Reilly, C’93, from Penn’s Los Angeles office.



Alumni Relations staff pose in La Jolla the night after a successful event as they prepare to fly up to San Francisco. L-R: Elise Betz, Liz Pinnie, Colin Hennessy, Kiera Reilly, Hoopes Wampler, Tara Davies, Eric Furda and Patrick Bredehoft.

Our crew then headed north to San Francisco for Time to Shine at the Regency Center, where we saw former Penn Alumni colleague Jason Horger, Jim, C’76, PAR’11, an Pat, L’81, PAR’11, Wong from Hawaii, and Belinda Buscher, C92, co-president of the Penn Club of Seattle – just a samplying of the many enthusiastic alumni and parents that celebrated with us. All the photos are here.

Alumni Relations staff ready to welcome San Francisco alumni and parents: Nicole Svonavec, Kiera Reilly, Elise Betz and Tara Davies

Alumni Relations staff ready to welcome San Francisco alumni and parents: Nicole Svonavec, Kiera Reilly, Elise Betz and Tara Davies

TTS SF group reception 10.10.13

Former alumni relations colleague Jason Horger, C'91, came with his colleague from St. Mary's College, and Belinda Buscher, C'92, co-president of the Penn Club of Seattle.

Former alumni relations colleague Jason Horger, C’91, came with his colleague from St. Mary’s College, and Belinda Buscher, C’92, co-president of the Penn Club of Seattle.

Former Penn Club of Hawaii president and current Interview Program Chair Jim Wong, C'76, PAR'11, pictured here with the Penn Alumni Interview Program's Patrick Bredehoft, attended with his wife Pat Wong, L'81.

Former Penn Club of Hawaii president and current Interview Program Chair Jim Wong, C’76, PAR’11, pictured here with the Penn Alumni Interview Program’s Patrick Bredehoft, attended with his wife Pat Wong, L’81.


Penn Club of Northern California board members Mohammed Shaik Hussain Ali, GEN’08, Phil Crosby, C’92, club president Tom Eliaz, ENG’02, and Kiera Reilly, C’93

The Saturday after the Time to Shine events concluded, Penn Alumni Regional Clubs and the Penn Alumni Interview Program hosted an alumni leadership conference for alumni club boards and interview committee chairs. We are thankful for the incredible work these volunteers perform on behalf of Penn, and we are also incredibly grateful that they “donated” their Saturday to be with us to learn about how these groups can work together to support the University. See photos from the conference here.

Penn Alumni club board members at the West Coast Alumni Leadership Conference

Penn Alumni club board members at the West Coast Alumni Leadership Conference

As seen by the photos here, Penn certainly shines in California thanks to our wonderful alumni and parents! If you live in California and are not already connected with the alumni network here, there are many opportunities to get involved:


Wharton Club of Southern California

Penn Club of Orange County

Penn Club of San Diego

Penn Club of Northern California

Wharton Club of Northern California

Hurrah, Hurrah to our California Penn family!

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Filed under Alumni Programming, Clubs, GAN, Kiera R., Making History, Penn Clubs, Photos, West Coast Regional Office

My Top Penn List: Homecoming 2013

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

Homecoming starts tomorrow. I can’t believe that we are more than half way through semester and soon it will be Thanksgiving. And, it’s been five years of Homecoming, featuring Arts and Culture at Penn.

But before we’re feasting on turkey and sharing time with family, we are invited to return home to our alma mater.

From Wikipedia:

Homecoming is the tradition of welcoming back alumni of a school. It most commonly refers to a tradition in many universities, colleges and high schools in the United States. It usually includes activities for students and alumni, such as sports and culture events and a parade through the streets of the city or town. The NCAA recognizes the University of Missouri as the birthplace of homecoming.

Traditionally the crux of Homecoming is the home football game usually against the School’s rival. This year, the game is Saturday at Noon against our more recently acquired rival Princeton.  (In yesteryear, the rivalry for Penn was against Cornell.) General admission tickets are $15 or you can register in person on College Green for a Blue Quaker Pass which includes a GA ticket.

Outside of the big game, here are my top Penn picks for outstanding Penn programming this Homecoming weekend:

10. New College House Celebration
Friday, 12:30 – 2 PM
Tent on Hill Field


Come join this picnic for the Penn community with live entertainment, delicious food, give-a-ways and more… Rain or Shine. Presented by Amy Gutmann, President, University of Pennsylvania and David L. Cohen, Chair, Board of Trustees.

9. Exhibit: Audubon’s Birds of America
Friday, 8:30 AM – 9 PM
Saturday, 10 AM – 9 PM
Sunday, 10 AM – Midnight
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, First floor
3420 Walnut Street {Entrance off of College Green}

The Penn Libraries is pleased to announce a new permanent exhibition case devoted to the display of John James Audubon’s spectacular Birds of America (1827-38). Penn’s double elephant folio set of the Birds was a gift of Edwin H. Vare, Jr. in 1957-59. The page opening from the volume on display will be changed on the second Wednesday of every month.

8. The Circuit: 750 Miles of Regional Trails
Sunday, 10 AM – 12 PM
Widener Visitor Center
Morris Arboretum
100 E. Northwestern Avenue
Cost: $20

The Circuit: 750 miles of Regional Trails is a lecture by Bob Thomas, AIA, C’69,GAR’73, life-long Philadelphian, noted architect, planner, and Penn alumus. Learn more about the Philadelphia’s 750 mile regional trail system and its pending expansion. Tours of the Morris Arboretum are available after the presentation.

7. Rugby Alumni Game
Friday, 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Penn Park


Football isn’t the only sport that brings our Pennsylvanians back to West Philadelphia. The Penn Rugby Alumni Board cordially invites you to attend the Ninth Annual Homecoming Alumni Game Friday evening at Penn Park. Join us to cheer on the Penn alumni rugby players. After the game, take part in a special alumni reception at Penn Park. Please contact Michael Reno at to RSVP.

6. PennGALA Speed Mentoring
Saturday, 2:30 PM – 4 PM
LGBT Center
3907 Spruce St

PENNgalaPenn students and alumni are welcome to join PennGALA’s Speed Mentoring event at the LGBT Center. LGBTQA alumni will connect with each other and current LGBTQA undergraduate and graduate students in a series of short one-on-one conversations, to discuss career-related issues such as job-search techniques, industry-specific topics, and professional life as an LGBTQA individual in the working world. Alumni, you are encouraged to indicate your career background here.

5. Exhibit: Ormandy in China: The Historic 1973 Tour
Friday, 8:30 AM – 9 PM
Saturday, 10 AM – 9 PM
Sunday, 10 AM – Midnight
Eugene Ormandy Gallery
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, 4th Floor
3420 Walnut Street {entrance off College Green}

The 1973 tour of China by the Philadelphia Orchestra marked an important milestone in relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Following on the heels of Richard Nixon’s trip to visit Mao Zedong in 1972, the tour was a successful attempt at cultural diplomacy–the first visit to China by an American orchestra. In recognition of the fortieth anniversary of this historic tour, “Ormandy in China” reexamines the ten-day visit and places the tour in the context of the political and cultural climate of the time.

4. Blutt Band Slam
Saturday, 3 PM – 5 PM
College Green

Whether you love jazz, classical music, or good old-fashioned rock and roll, you will find something to get your toes tapping at this engaging and spirited competition on College Green. Band members will compete in a wide range of genres and styles. Meet up with friends at the Quaketacular Spectacular Beer Garden and watch the show.

Penn alumni, student musicians and singers! More information here!

3. 79th Annual Alumni Award of Merit Gala
Friday, 6 PM – 10 PM
Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
3680 Walnut Street

Join fellow alumni, friends and guests, at the 79th annual installment of a Penn tradition. The Gala honors those alumni who have demonstrated commitment and dedication to the University, helping to make it shine more brightly than ever. Hosted by new Penn Alumni President, Julie Beren Platt, C’79, the Gala will recognize individual alumni, class and club honorees. Board of Trustees Chairs, David L. Cohen and President Amy Gutmann invite all alumni to attend this splendid occasion.

For more information visit, or call 215.898.7811. Cost is $75 per person/$55 for alumni graduates, 2003-2013.

Alumni Award of Merit
L. John Clark, W’63, WG’68
Mindy Halikman Heyer, C’79, W’79, WG’80
Helen Frame Peters, Ph.D., CW’70, G’74, GR’79
Steve Roth, W’66
Young Alumni Award
Farnia Fresnel, ENG’98
Andrew J. Rosenthal, C’06
Creative Spirit Award
Mary Ellen Mark, FA’62, ASC’64, Hon’94
Class Award of Merit
Class of 1978
David N. Tyre Award for Excellence in Class Communications
Class of 2008
Alumni Club Award of Merit
Penn Alumni Club of Metro New Jersey

2. Classes without Quizzes: Dining and Lovemaking in Pompeii
Friday, 6 PM – 7 PM
Penn Museum,
Widener Lecture Room

“Dining and Lovemaking in Pompeii” Dr. C. Brian Rose, Curator-in-Charge of the Mediterranean Section, Penn Museum, James B. Pritchard Professor of Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania The destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 A.D. allows us to reconstruct extensively the nature of daily life in an Early Imperial Roman town, especially the residents’ attitudes toward food and sex. This lecture presents an overview of those attitudes by examining the archaeological discoveries in both cities, including the wall paintings, mosaics, dining rooms, and food remains. Topics include cookbooks and dinner parties as well as prostitution and same-sex relationships.

1. The film screening, Head Games
Presented by Penn Alumni Film Festival
Saturday, 5:45 PM – 8 PM
Claudia Cohen Hall
G17 Class of 1969 Lecture Room
249 South 36th Street

Inspired by events from the book Head Games written by former Ivy League football star and WWE wrestler Christopher Nowinski, and featuring interviews with Nowinski, Bob Costas (NBC Sports), Keith Primeau (NHL All-Star), Cindy Parlow Cone (Olympic Gold Medalist, Women’s Soccer), and many more, Head Games exposes viewers to one of the leading public health issues of our time, concussion. The film features several of Penn’s leading scientists and clinicians interested in providing evidence-based treatments and improving the lives of those who have experienced lasting effects from a traumatic brain injury.

Stick around after the documentary for a panel discussion with medical experts. Panelists include:

  • Dave F. Meaney, PhD, Chairman, Department of Bioengineering, Solomon R. Pollack Professor Bioengineering, Associate Director, Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair
  • M. Sean Grady, MD, Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, Charles Harrison Frazier Professor of Neurosurgery, Perelman School of Medicine
  • Douglas H. Smith, MD, Director, Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair, Robert A. Groff Professor of Neurosurgery, Vice-Chairman for Research & Education, Department of Neurosurgery
  • Rahul Kapur, MD, Chief Medical Physician, Penn Athletics Kelli Williams, PhD, Director of Neuropsychology and Co-Director, Concussion Clinic, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

I hope this selection of Homecoming programming makes you excited for the weekend as much as I am! See you on campus.

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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.



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

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Two Weeks

Author: Carolyn Grace, C’16

It’s a shame that my job has me blogging only twice a month.  A lot can happen in two weeks, especially when you’re a Penn student.  These past several days were particularly buzzing with activity, so I’ve decided to make this post a re-cap of what I’ve done since my last post.  Enjoy!

October 22nd – 25th: Going GrΣΣk

This year's Greek Week logo

This year’s Greek Week t-shirt logo

As a Junior Delegate on the Panhellenic Council, I helped organize this fall’s Greek Week.  Panhel, IFC (Interfraternity Council), and MGC (Multicultural Greek Council) sponsor a week of academic, social, and philanthropic events for the Penn Greek community each semester.  This year, we hosted a Penn Faculty Speaker Series, an Academic Bowl trivia game, a dodgeball tournament, and a Meet the Greeks BBQ.  The events were really fun, and they did a great job of bringing together the various frats and sororities on campus!

October 27th: Running for the Cure

After 13 years of playing purely water sports, I decided to run my first ever 5k: the Rena Rowan Ribbon Run.  The final Greek Week event, the Ribbon run benefits the Rena Rowan Breast Center at Penn’s very own Abramson Cancer Center. The Rowan Center provides all clinical services a woman facing breast cancer may need; including integrated cancer treatments, psychosocial counseling, cancer risk evaluation, and nutritional counseling.

SK at Rena Rowan!

SK at Rena Rowan!

I ran in honor of my Mom, whose strength and knowledge of her diagnosis brought her to theAbramson Cancer and Rena Rowan Breast centers.  Some fellow Sigma Kappa sisters joined me, and our team ended up doing extremely well!  We placed 1st, 2nd, and 4th overall in the Women’s division, and we won Best Sorority Participation!

November 1st – 2nd: Private ‘Parts

Our fall show poster

Our fall show poster

After almost 6 weeks of rehearsing, Counterparts finally performed our fall semester show “Private ‘Parts”! Now, I know what you’re thinking, and yes, the show title was dectective themed.  Just look at the poster!   In all seriousness, though, the show was fantastic.  I sang a jazz number called “Baby I’m a Fool” by Melody Gardot.  It’s been my favorite CP solo so far!  My family came to see us perform, as did a lot of my friends and alumni of the group.  After the show, past and present CP members went to City Tap House for dinner to celebrate another successful show.  Videos of our performances will be up on our YouTube channel within the next couple weeks, so stay tuned!

Counterparts, before the start of our fall show!

Counterparts, before the start of our fall show!

November 3rd: Handle With Care

The album cover for Handle With Care

The album cover for Handle With Care

Counterparts’s newest CD, “Handle With Care,” is officially available!  We recored the CD last spring, and since then our Music Director and President were working with the studio to mix and master each track.  And the results are incredible!  One of my solos from last year, “Your Heart Is As Black As Night,” is featured on the album.  I’m so excited to listen to it, and I’m so proud of CP.  Our hard work really paid off!  We sold a lot of copies this past weekend at our show, but we have also made it available for download online.  Take a listen, and buy it today 🙂

November 5th:  QUIZZO

This year's logo for SK Quizzo

This year’s logo for SK Quizzo

SK is kicking it into gear with preparing for Quizzo.  There are now 10 days left until the event, and we still have so much to do!  We’ve been actively recruiting teams across campus (Right now, I’m working on registering both a Counterparts and a Mask & Wig team) as well as collecting donations, creating flyers, and ordering shirts for the event.  The prizes look awesome: free spring break trips, free overnight stays at hotels in Atlantic City, pro athletic gear, Tory Burch bags, club box tickets to 76ers games, and gift cards upon gift cards.  I wish I could play!

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Filed under Campus Life, Carolyn G., Events, Photos, Student Perspective, The Arts, The Arts at Penn, Video, Videos