Category Archives: Aimee L.

Goodbye to All This

Author: Aimee LaBrie, LPS’13*

(*That’s if I finish my capstone project in December)

Today is my last day at Penn after being here for four years and eight months.  It’s hard to believe that so much time as passed; it’s like I had my interview in February 2009, blinked, and now it’s almost five years later. I’m going to work at another university in another state, and I’m happy about my new job, but am also very sad about leaving here. So many things to love about Penn (the library, Tyson Bee’s food truck, the beautiful campus, the lectures, the Penn bookstore), but since I spent five days a week with my colleagues people in Alumni Relations, I want to focus this last post as a staff member. Since I also like lists, here are my top 3 things I will miss most about my job, each with a caveat about something I will not miss, to avoid too much sentimentality.

3. So many perks of the job, such as how most of the staff bakes cookies and cakes, or have candy by their desks, and how we get free lunches about twice a week, either related to an event or a panel or just because. Ditto the number of Penn T-shirts, scarves, hats, gloves, notebooks, clocks, luggage tags, and other swag that comes with the territory.

Elise showing three examples--a mini-megaphone, a Homecoming Weekend scarf, and a squirrel puppet we used for a holiday card video.

Elise showing three examples–a mini-megaphone, a Homecoming Weekend scarf, and a squirrel puppet we used for a holiday card video.

Will not miss: Stepping on the scale and realizing I’ve gained three pounds from the numerous candy bars I’ve taken from Nicole’s office or Janell’s candy jar or Kelly’s stash–mostly taken when they’re not around…

2. Collaborating with the smartest, most creative people I’ve ever met to come up with a theme for Alumni Weekend, or to find innovative ways to market a new blog, or story-boarding a video for Alumni Weekend, or brainstorming panels for a conference. I’ve done some of my best creative work here and it wasn’t done alone. The example below is to get you inspired to register for Homecoming Weekend 2013. This was the video our team made last year.

Will not miss: Thinking I’ve come up with a brilliant new tagline for Alumni Weekend, only to realize that we used it two years ago.  That’s happened twice now.

1.  All of the people. These are people who daily laugh at my dumb jokes, let me skip through the hallways unchecked, and don’t mind if I say, “Hi, Julie Andrews!” when their names are Kristina or Jason. I knew this was the right place for me in my final interview with Hoopes and Elise when they posed potential scenario and didn’t balk at my response. The question was something like, What would you do if someone didn’t make an important deadline? And I said, Burst into tears. And, instead of exchanging worried glances, they understood that I was joking (mostly). Because of their own good humor and acceptance, I understood that I was in the place where I belonged. This is a place where people buy me cat clocks and bring their dogs to work because they know it will make me happy and listen to my nonsense without judgement. That is a rare, rare thing, and hard to give up.

Casey did this. If you put a battery in, the hours chime with different cat meows.

Casey bought this for our white elephant holiday party. He hoped I would get it, and I did.  If you put a battery in, the hours chime with different cat meows.

Junebug is the blob of pug you can kind of see on the floor. She made gargoyle noises all through our staff meeting yesterday.

Junebug is the blob of pug you can kind of see on the floor with the X-ray eyes. She made gargoyle noises all through our staff meeting yesterday.

Will not miss: Saying good bye to all of this. I am tired of it, because there is no right way to do it without feeling sad and missing people already, like Liz Pinnie and her good book recommendations, and Colleen who, even when she’s feeling low, always asks how I’m doing, or Lisbeth who it seems can only say nice things. Every single time I walk into her office, she gives me a compliment. I could stroll in with brambles in my hair after three sleepless nights and she’s say, You look so pretty when you’re tired! And Elise for lugging in her Sunday NY Times every Monday morning and leaving it in my mailbox  (and arranging that my going away gift would be a subscription to the weekend edition of the newspaper moving forward), and Patrick for letting me pirouette into his office, blurting non-sequiturs and demanding he read my stories. And Casey, and Nicole M., and Kiera who write blog posts without being reminded, and Molly, who writes them for me because I’ve asked, and Kristina who knows all my stories, and Marla, who tells it like it is and who always finds me funny and Trina and Emilie too , and I could say something about everyone, but I don’t want to be too self-indulgent or Sally Fields-like here, so just finally, Jason who has always made me laugh and who surprises me constantly with his creativity and writing ability and his kindness, which you might miss if you aren’t lucky enough to spend time with him.

Okay, enough, enough. I have things I want to finish before I go, and I’ve asked Janell to keep me on the blog schedule as an alumna now, so this is not really goodbye at all (maybe I’ll even come back for Homecoming and cause a ruckus at registration). It’s more like “so long,” in this capacity, goodbye for now. Much love.




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On the Approach of Fall

Author: Aimee LaBrie

It’s ninety degrees today, and so the start of the fall semester seems off; summer can’t possibly be over already. Maybe it’s true that the older you get, the swifter time moves, because it feels like we just celebrated Alumni Weekend, and yet, here we are, just days away from Convocation.  Over the last week, new students have started arriving in droves to take part in New Student Orientation, the bookstore is flooded with returning students, and the line at the coffee shop stretches out to the street.

I want to tell the new students to take it easy; savor this short time before classes start, don’t fall in love with the first boy you meet at Hey Day, don’t rush to give up the better side of your dorm to your new roommate (she may seem sweet with her Southern accent and big red hair bows, but she will to turn on a dime).  Take your time when picking your confidantes, leave campus once in a while to see the rest of Philadelphia, buy lunch from the food trucks instead of Houston Hall, and, above all, eschew the idea that you need to take an 8 AM class. You do not.  Of course, I don’t say anything, but instead watch them and feel just slightly bit envious that for most of them them, time still stretches and they ache to get on with it.




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Happy Fourth of July from Penn Alumni

Author: Aimee LaBrie

Here’s an idea to start your holiday weekend:  why not plan your summer vacation around a visit back to Penn? I challenge you to return to  campus for a family photo scavenger hunt–get a picture of your dog on the Button, your child in the “O” of the LOVE Statue, you fleeing across Locust Walk, pursued by the numerous aggressive squirrels that dominate the green.  These are just some ideas; you can take photos of whatever you like as long as you show that you’re at Penn. Then, send the pictures to me at and I’ll post them here.

In the interim, please enjoy a few pictures of Penn campus, courtesy of University Communications, and have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Penn1 Penn2 penn3




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Goodbye to Our Ivy Plus Friends

Author: Aimee LaBrie

Today was the last day of the Ivy Plus conference, and we wish all of our visiting travelers safe journeys home. I learned so much over the last three days during the panels and in just casual conversations over drinks or lunch. I don’t want to lose that connection with all of these very smart, creative, and friendly people. I hope that you will all stay in touch throughout the year.

One of our final moments was to present the Ivy Plus awards for Alumnipics 2014. Each winner received a bronze (Cornell), silver (Princeton), or gold (Dartmouth) Quaker bobblehead.

BobbleHeads (2)

Let’s continue the conversations, the competitions, and the collaborations as we continue on throughout the year and start to look forward to Ivy Plus 2014 at Brown University (#IvyPlusAR).



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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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Penn Bookstore: Books + Coffee and Comedy

Author: Aimee LaBrie

One of my favorite comedians/writers will be making an appearance at the Penn bookstore next Wednesday, March 20, at 3 PM. Demetri Martin has a dry wit and he does this funny thing in his act where he draws pictures on big sheets of paper like you would at a board meeting as part of his act. I confess that I haven’t read his book, but I’m interested to see him read. He makes slightly off jokes like this one:


I didn’t even realize we would be in the same zip code at the same time until I walked into the bookstore this morning and saw this poster (aside: I like how the sign says “live appearance, just in case we though the might Skype in):

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Another reason (of the many–including the fact that the coffee shop upstairs gives you two stamps on your coffee card on Thursdays) to love Penn and the Penn bookstore.



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Registration Open for Penn Alumni Weekend

Author: Aimee LaBrieaw2013header

Registration is now officially open for Alumni Weekend, May 10-13, 2013. Don’t miss this opportunity to rediscover Penn, your passion, your pride, your people! Only 63 days left and counting…

Go here to learn more about all of the amazing programming available over the weekend. And don’t forget to use our hash tag over the weekend on your Twitter and Instagram updates: PennAW.




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Happened at Penn

Author: Aimee LaBrie

Last week, one of my favorite writers visited Penn’s campus. Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink (2005),  and Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), gave a stimulating lecture on his latest book at the Penn Museum. His appearance was in connection with the Integrated Studies Program, which is studying the question of “thinking” this semester as part of Penn’s “Year of Proof” academic theme for 2012-13; the Ben Franklin Scholars; and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.

If you missed it, don’t fret. You can view his lecture in full here. Can’t get enough? Check out his 2009 appearance at a Penn Alumni event regarding “Why Some Succeed and Others Fail.”

You can also read or download a podcast of Gladwell’s 2011 interview by Peter Cappelli in Knowledge@Wharton.

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University Closed for MLK Day

Author: Aimee LaBrie

In celebration of the holiday, I invite you to enjoy these photos from last week’s lecture with alumnus John Legend who delivered the 12th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture in Social Justice to a full house at Irvine Auditorium. The lecture was part of Penn’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium for Social Change.

All photos by Steve Mincola.

All photos by Steve Mincola.


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A Day in the Life…

Author: Aimee LaBrie

Do you start to feel nostalgic around the holiday season? I do, probably because my family lives far from these parts (scattered across the great plains of Nebraska and the swampy flatland of Florida) and I don’t always get to see them during winter break. One thing that makes me feel slightly better (and slightly worse) is to review old photos.

Here’s one of my mother, circa age 14, holding one of her many brothers (seven in all). Note my grandmother, in the background, probably going into that screen door to start a meal of some sort. She just turned 94 this week. I miss her too.


If you have my same maudlin/sentimental streak and like on some levels to reminisce about days past,  I think you’ll really like Penn’s latest photo project, “A Day in the Life.” You may remember it from last year; the gist is that on a pre-set day (in this instance, Nov. 14 starting at 6 AM), students, faculty, and staff are invited to take pictures of their life on campus and submit them to the Penn communications team.  Those photos were then all compiled together to create a wide and varied photo archive of this particular day. Over 100 photographers submitted 928 photos of campus life ranging from a new baby born at HUP to an afternoon sketch class to a theater arts performance at Annenberg Center. You can view the slideshow here or browse all of the collection on Flickr. 

Please allow me to whet your nostalgic appetite for more Penn with just a few of the images.

Photo taken by Rachit Khanna

Photo credit: Rachit Khanna


Photo credit: Tanya Kataria


Photo credit: ishaan139

Photo credit: Katbert

Photo credit: Katbert

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