By Kiera Reilly, C’93
I was on campus in late August and happened to be there for a Freshman Move-In Day. Penn was still Penn, but it was newer, cleaner, brighter, and seemed so different from what I remembered moving in to start our college days in the Fall of 1989.
Here are some of the sights I saw.
I arrived at 30th Street Station, which has been refurbished and looks fabulous, and walked through the Drexel Campus to Penn. Drexel has been undergoing a building boom and transformation of late, and is really buzzing.
I reached Penn at the southeast corner of 33rd and Chestnut Street. And the new College House was right in front of me, on what used to be Hill Field. The 125th Women’s Walkway cut across Hill Field a few years ago, but now there is this shiny new dormitory too. It is housing for Freshmen and had its official opening a few weeks ago.
Wow! This is a dorm. At. Penn. (For perspective, I’m standing on the east side of 33rd and Chestnut Streets)
The entrance to Penn’s campus from the east, after walking through Drexel’s campus. This is what used to be Hill Field (you can see Hill House in the back on the left).
Looking west on Chestnut Street, the new College House is on the left and a lane is blocked for vehicles dropping off students and their belongings for move-in.
Walking through Hill Field on the Women’s Walkway from 33rd and Chestnut Streets. Hill House is on the left. The new College House (not pictured) is on the right of the walkway.
With the new College House opening, Hill House is undergoing renovations. I don’t know if you can tell from this photo, but from what I could see, it looks like the interior is completely gutted.
The new College House is on the right as I made my way on the walkway to the center of campus.
The entrance to the new College House as seen from the walkway. There were tents set up for maintenance issues, and for residential services to assist new students.
As I continued on the walkway, I saw this table for Penn Student Agencies. I worked for PSA all four years at Penn, so I stopped to talk to this current student about the services PSA offers today.
This is when I had my, “we are in the 21st Century moment,” as I saw this student wearing a t-shirt with, “Move-in Social Media,” printed on the back.
Move-In Social Media while approaching the intersection of 34th and Walnut Streets
Crossing to the central part of campus at 34th and Walnut. When looking east towards Center City, you see a new skyscraper being built (the Liberty towers are to the left of the new building). Fisher-Bennett Hall is on the right, with the Zeta Psi Fraternity and Hill House are on the left side of Walnut Street.
I walked up Walnut Street to the bookstore at 36th and Walnut. All the new Penn apparel looked pretty cool (I was glad to see there wasn’t any pink or green Penn branded items that I’ve seen displayed in recent years).
I heard the band playing behind College Hall, so I walked towards Houston Hall. Families were gathered on the Perelman Quadrangle benches that lead up to Claudia Cohen Hall (known as Logan Hall when we were students). Williams Hall is on the left.
There was a large tent between Houston Hall and College Hall. There were bins for bottles of water, Tasty Kakes and soft pretzels. The Penn Band played for the families.
Inside Houston Hall was a fare of services for students.
Later in the afternoon, new students and families gathered on College Green to hear Provost Price and President Gutmann. The Glee Club was singing a Penn medley while everyone waited for the Provost and President.
I walked over to Spruce Street to the Quad. There was some activity, but as it was later in the day, I think most of the move-in rush was finished before I arrived.
Crossing 36th and Spruce Street to the Lower Quad
Walking west on Spruce Street, I was surprised by the Wistar Institute building. For my last few visits to campus this was covered in netting and scaffolding.
It was nice to see the food trucks lined up outside the Quad (see our Food Truck post).
There were still some students and families moving in to the Quad.
While the carts seem nicer than when we moved in so many years ago, they seem to be the same basic structure.
The view looking east and then west at the corner of 38th and Spruce Streets.
The entrance to Upper Quad.
New students and families crossing Spruce Street after exiting Upper Quad.
I walked down Locust Walk. Classes had not started yet, so it was a bit quiet.
Ben on the Bench is still on campus, but he’s moved to the corner of 36th Street and Locust Walk. He sits on 36th Street, outside of Steinberg-Dietrich Hall. I heard that it’s a right of passage now for students to pee on the bench. Was that a thing when we were students?
As I continued down Locust Walk, I saw the former home of the Palladium. It was sad that the patio isn’t full of people sitting at tables, enjoying a drink and soaking up the beautiful day.
Do you remember moving in to Penn in September 1989? Do you have pictures of your freshman dorm room or roommate? We are looking for photos of these memories or others from our time at Penn. Please email us firstname.lastname@example.org!
Last weekend, September 30 – October 1, 2016, marked 84 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 13, 2018)! Follow along with us we countdown the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th: Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.