Category Archives: Alumni Profile

A Toast to Dear Old Penn: The Toast Throwing Tradition at Football Games

By Jorge Penado, C’19
Penn Alumni Relations Work Study Student

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Source: Penn Archives 1999

With traditions at universities around the nation being a staple of that institution’s student culture, it is undeniable that students at Penn have developed their own, cherished traditions throughout the year. Whether it’s something like Hey Day during Junior Year or the Econ Scream during Freshman year, Penn students have engaged in these traditions with the fervor that school spirit usually evokes. Though most traditions are relatively normal in the pantheon of university traditions, one of them might cause a non-Penn individual to double take: toast throwing at football games. As a tradition that roughly started in the 1970s, it has since become one of the staple events that every Penn student should participate in at least once throughout their time at the university.

First and foremost, it is important to ask a very basic question: What exactly is toast throwing? While every Penn student has at least heard of the tradition whether they’ve participated or not, it helps to establish exactly what toast throwing entails. As mentioned earlier, the tradition is known to have started in the 1970s during a time when alcohol was prohibited from Franklin Field where all football games are held. This ban on alcohol would actually interfere with another common tradition at football games where audience members would drink alcohol at the end of the third quarter when the Penn Band would play, “Drink a highball.” In this song created by G.B. Brigham, the song would close with the following lyrics, “Drink a highball and be jolly. Here’s a toast to dear old Penn!” After the final line, everyone in the audience would drink the alcohol as a “toast” for Penn. Nonetheless, the ban would prevent people from toasting with alcohol and would leave room for the new tradition to be launched by Greer Cheeseman and his friends.

Cheeseman, as the current director of the Penn Band, an employee for the University, and local Penn aficionado, retells the story of how a “toast to dear old Penn,” became a literal piece of toast “to dear old Penn.” Though the details of the tradition remain slightly vague, Cheeseman does remember where the idea originally came from Rocky Horror Picture. After some of Cheeseman and some of his fraternity brothers attended a showing of Rocky Horror, they were intrigued by the interactive nature of the show, particularly the part where the audience throws toast at the screen after the character, Frank, proposes a toast. Interestingly enough, the two held so many parallels that Cheeseman and his friends eventually got the brilliant idea to translate that at an actual football game. After some time, toast throwing would eventually catch on and spread quickly as most every Penn student now knows exactly what toast throwing at football games means.

When considering the position of toast throwing in the grander scheme of Penn school spirit, it’s clear that it definitely holds a special place in the school’s history. Cheeseman recounts how football games at the time were huge events that everybody attended to create that sense of pride in the school. It also didn’t hurt that Penn’s football team was particularly good and attracted their fair share of people. When asked how it feels to be a part of such a noteworthy tradition at Penn, Cheeseman explains that, while he’s not exactly sure how he feels, he does acknowledge that it’s rather “neat” to be a part of Penn’s history. Though football games don’t receive the same audiences now as they did back in the day, it’s indisputable that toast throwing will remain a part of the experience at football games. With students dividing their time between academics, social lives, and many other things, it’s difficult to attend every football game and participate all the time. Nonetheless, we can rest assured that the tradition won’t be dying out anytime soon as long as groups like the Penn Band, that go to most sports games, keep the tradition alive and others continue to distribute toast at every game at Franklin Field.

After almost fifty years of the tradition was introduced, toast throwing continues to excite people who are first experiencing the wave of toast fly above them for about 15 to 30 seconds at the end of the third quarter. With fans customizing their toast with a letter “P” and stockpiling stacks of toast, it definitely still evokes a sense of school spirit through such a unique tradition. Lucky enough, the toast-eating Zamboni-machine helps with the immense cleanup.

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Image: Homecoming 2018
Back row left to right –  Jason Feldman, ENG02; Kushol Gupta, C’93, BGS’03, Lisa Shapiro (Bardfeld), C’93; Greer Cheeseman, EE’77
Second Row left to right – Kelly (Naeun) Ha, C’16; Marianne Brogdale (Alves*), C’93; Richard DiNapoli, C’19; Robin Coyne, NU’12, GNU’15
Third Row left to right – Lauren Mendoza, C’15; Zabryna Atkinson-Diaz, C’19, GR’20; Jenna Harowitz, C’18
All former and current Penn Band Drum Majors
*Marianne Brogdale (Alves) was the first female Drum Major in Penn Band history.
Source: Source: Kushol Gupta, C’97, GR’03

 

Image: Toast Toss at 2018 Penn vs Bucknell Game
Source: Kushol Gupta, C’97, GR’03

Special thanks to Kushol Gupta, C’97, GR’03, for his consultation and partnership on this article. 

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Profile, Campus Life, Jorge Penado, C’19, Penn football, Student Perspective, Traditions

Be Well Penn ’95: A Conversation with Penn’s New Chief Wellness Officer

by Nicole C. Maloy, M.S, W’95, SPP’18

Recall the calming voices and speech patterns of PBS icons Bob Ross and Mr. Rogers, add a medical degree, and top with a former Directorship of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry at Penn Medicine. You can now begin to imagine what it is like to be in the presence of Dr. Benoit Dubé.

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Nicole Maloy:     Greetings. Would you please introduce yourself?

Dr. Benoit Dubé:       Good afternoon. My name is Benoit Dubé. I am the University’s Chief Wellness Officer and Associate Vice Provost.

Nicole Maloy:     What does it mean to be a Chief Wellness Officer?

Dr. Benoit Dubé:      That is a simple question on the surface, but is actually something that we are figuring out beyond the general campaign for wellness that really spearheaded the creation of this position and the reorganization of our health & wellness services. This position didn’t exist before, so I have both the privilege and the daunting task of defining what it is exactly that it means. And while it’s a simple question, the answer has multiple layers because, as the university’s Chief Wellness Officer, I am responsible for the entire Penn community. So that means students, that means staff, that means faculty. And even that is an oversimplification because if we just limit ourselves to students, there’s over 25,000 [Ed. total undergraduate + graduate & professional, full time + part time], and of the 25,000 there are 12 different schools, and we have to be very humble and acknowledge that there is not a wellness solution for students. Maybe 25,000 wellness solutions, but we have to identify the common thread.

We have to create a space where synergies can happen. We have to create an environment where innovation and collaboration are fostered, nurtured. If the School of Nursing, who has learners across the whole spectrum, has initiatives that have been successful for them, then we must provide them with the resources so that the College can share some of the applicable resources, and so on and so forth.

And you’ll notice that I’ve just been talking about students. We can talk just as much and wax and wane poetic about staff. If we don’t address the wellness needs of staff, we can’t expect staff to promote a wellness culture for students. And then there’s faculty. So, thank you for allowing me to explain why it is a complicated question. It’s both thrilling and exciting to create something new, but the emphasis is on creating something that wasn’t there, that was implied, but has now been given its place at the table.

Nicole Maloy:     And you mentioned the campaign for wellness. Can you tell us more about that? What should alumni – and anybody who’s interested in Penn – know about this campaign?

Dr. Benoit Dubé:       So, the campaign for wellness is a multifaceted initiative and effort that was spearheaded by the President and the Provost in 2017 to really start creating community. To engage members – its members – in dialogue. Dialogue that values and cherishes vulnerability, that reframes stress and struggles as opportunities for growth, that reminds all of us that we are in this together.

The world is a stressful place. It’s not stressful because of politics exclusively, which is the go-to, right? But if we even remove politics from the world, it’s really stressful to keep up. We’re connected always. Are we missing out on anything? Are we responding quickly enough? E-mail. E-mail was touted as making workers more efficient. Nobody likes e-mail. I mean, everybody hates e-mail, but we all e-mail all the time. Is it OK not to e-mail my boss, or my professor, or my students after 5? Over the weekend? We’re learning this. Technology has forced us to adapt faster than we have actually been able to adapt in recent history. That’s why the world is stressful.

We’re dealing with new, unseen political situations. Look at what’s going on, the divisive political agendas that people are grappling with. All of these things make us collectively all of us, red and blue – we’re talking about Penn here, not politics – they make us stressed out. How do we feel that we have agency in all of this? How can we give ourselves permission to slow down? These are the hot topics that we’re trying to figure out.

Penn is uniquely positioned to offer solutions. If we take a step back, what we want to do is offer our learners the skills and tools they need to be successful academically. That is not new. But the rules have changed because of expectations, because of how quickly information spreads, how reactive people have become. We want to give our learners, our graduates, the skills and tools so that they can go out and continue to make the world a better place. That’s what Benjamin Franklin said. By the way, happy birthday Ben! It’s your 313th birthday today. So, that’s collectively, big picture, what we want to do. We want to use the remarkable resources we have here to make the world a better place so that our graduates can go out and become change agents. So that we get to tame our inbox. So that we become better equipped at integrating self-care with ambition.

Nicole Maloy: Integrating self-care with ambition. Oh, that’s fantastic. So, speaking of graduates, we can now move into the world of Penn alumni, who are all around the world doing all manner of different things. What can we learn from what you’re doing and what Penn is doing around wellness in general, and how can we better balance our ambition with our self-care?

Dr. Benoit Dubé:       What I have learned, and what I have benefited from, is the importance of listening. And let me qualify that because it sounds like it’s a simple, rehearsed talking point, but it’s actually not. Your question led me to pull a few things together. I’m relatively new to this. I’m not new to the Penn community, but I’m new to this role, I’m new to this mandate and these tasks. And the first thing I decided to do was, well, you know, we’re not starting with a blank slate here. Penn has done wonderful wellness-related things. So, before I start asking for resources to create new things, I need to start from a position of humility and say, hey, what great things are we doing now? Can we make them greater? And then decide what new things we should be doing. And the only way we can figure this quandary out and resolve it is by listening.

Right now, I’ve mostly been listening to students. Remember, there are 25,000 of them. So, I’ve been on a listening tour, and I’ve heard successes, I’ve heard challenges. And by listening to the students, by being present in the moment without judgement or expectations, it’s reminded me that I need to listen to myself. I need to give myself permission to manage my own expectations, to realize that this is not a 6-month contract. This is a commitment. There is not going to be one solution. There will be many, and I need to remind myself of that. Because there may be a little bit of pressure associated with this new job, right? And as I listen to students, I’ve been reminded that I also need to listen to myself and give myself permission to be patient, to think through things, to really reverse this cycle of reactivity. Just because we’re connected quickly, instantly with each other doesn’t mean that I’m expected to have the answer by the next school year. I can be reflective, contemplative, and realize that it’s not just a one-person thing. We are part of a community. Which brings me back to your question.

The worldwide community of Quakers is still accessible, and technology, in this case, does facilitate the creation of community, the pool of resources, the creation of collaborations that may not have been otherwise possible absent e-mail, absent instant message, Facebook, and other social media tools. That’s how what I’ve learned in my first few months in this role can be applied to graduates and alumni. We are part of a community. The wellness quandary, the wellness challenges, solutions we need to identify, are not one person’s goal. We will figure this out together by valuing humility, by recognizing and allowing vulnerability to be part of our dialogue. Not to create a culture of “woe is me,” but rather for people to be comfortable enough to say, “This is challenging for me, and this is how I’ve overcome the challenge,” so that others on the receiving end of this conversation can pick and choose what works for them.

“We can change and forge a new lens that allows us to see stress as an opportunity for growth. If we approach a stressful situation this way, we’re much less likely to become overwhelmed. It’s not going to make it easy, but it will make it easier. And that is within our power.”

Dr. Benoit Dubé:       You know, when we talk about wellness, usually within the first five minutes we talk about mindfulness meditation and yoga. OK? So, a little bit of self-disclosure here, I hate yoga.

Nicole Maloy:     (Laughter)

Dr. Benoit Dubé:       I’m terrible at it. It stresses me out.

Nicole Maloy:     Yoga stresses you out.

Dr. Benoit Dubé:       It totally does. Like, I cannot touch my toes. I’m just not a flexible guy. But, I don’t know, maybe you like yoga, right? Maybe, for you, being in the moment, being at peace with your body, being connected inwardly is the perfect solution to give you respite from the stress of the outside world. Doesn’t work for me. At all. So, there is no wellness solution. There must be wellness permissions that we must give ourselves. And a lot of it is trial and error. Of course, everybody’s going to try yoga and mindfulness meditation first. And by the way, mindfulness meditation is easy to say – it takes practice. You get better at it over time. Guided breathing for me, like, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes every hour, does the trick. I breathe better than I stretch.

Nicole Maloy and Dr. Benoit Dubé:       (Laughter)

Dr. Benoit Dubé:       I have learned through experience that yoga was just not the thing for me. Am I going to mandate guided breathing exercise for everyone? Of course not. Because other people may have my yoga reaction to this solution. But maybe if they hear this, it’s going to be another tool in their toolbox as they try to give themselves permission to find their solution.

Nicole Maloy:     So, what you would advise alumni to do is to be active members of the community so we can share our experiences with other alumni, with students, staff, and faculty, to be open to other people’s experiences so we might learn from them, and also to balance self-care and ambition, and give ourselves permission to be vulnerable, to try new things to see what works for us.

Dr. Benoit Dubé:       Oh, absolutely. And to always remember that stress is a part of life. We must expect it, we must embrace it rather than fear it. And we have the ability to change our perception. We can’t change the facts, but we can change and forge a new lens that allows us to see stress as an opportunity for growth. If we approach a stressful situation this way, we’re much less likely to become overwhelmed. It’s not going to make it easy, but it will make it easier. And that is within our power.

Nicole Maloy:      For our pre-reunion year in the Class of ’95, we’ve asked our classmates to identify something that is within their power to improve or change, or at least focus on more, in a few key areas of health, whether physical, mental/emotional, or social. How can we best identify the things that are within our control and things that aren’t to reduce the frustration of identifying an area to improve?

Dr. Benoit Dubé:       That’s really interesting because I don’t think there’s a master key here, I don’t think that there is one directive or one solution. Rather, each alum should give themselves permission to just try different solutions on for size and see what works for them. The subjective experience is what’s going to determine what is the best fit. It’s ultimately about giving folks the ability to, through lived experience, come to the realization that this is helpful and this is not.

Maybe yoga works for some people, but it’s not within your control whether or not you can escape to the gym during your lunch hour because of things that you have no say over, right? So, your boss may not let you take a lunch break that allows you to leave the office. Or maybe if that’s possible, maybe there’s not a shower facility that you have access to so that you can come back refreshed. So, while deciding that yoga works for you, whether you can do that during the weekday may not be under your control. And all of these things each alum will figure out and come to that realization. A simple solution would be, well, go after work, or go before work, or do something else.

You touched on community, and I think that this is where we have the biggest challenges despite having the easiest solutions at our disposal. The biggest challenge is because, in the digital era, in a world where social media essentially guides what we do, we’ve become very individualized. And we’ve lost some of our socialization skills. How do we stay in touch? Through Facebook. And that’s fantastic because we couldn’t do that before. But we forget to nurture our relationships that are closer. These are the relationships that we tend to neglect because we’re so drawn by the awesomeness of being able to connect with our college buddies all over the world. I’m not saying to stop doing that, but in the process not forget about your inner circle. You need to prioritize. We are dealing with a slew of demands, professionally, personally, and that maybe we can’t do it all, and that we have to decide, OK, there’s an order here. First, take care of yourself. It’s not about being selfish or entitled. It’s about making sure that you can take care of other people.

Nicole Maloy:     Put on your mask before you put a mask on the person next to you.

Dr. Benoit Dubé:       That’s exactly where I was going with that. So, if you put the oxygen mask on your traveling buddy, well, then you may not be around to take care of them after the fact. So that’s why self-care is important. It’s about prioritizing. And prioritizing relationships. Finding meaning in what we do. Seeing purpose beyond ourselves. Giving back to the community. Those are values that I hope that have been ingrained in all of our alum, but we need to remember, the world is going on like really fast and sometimes we forget. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing we can do to re-center, refocus, recalibrate, and then go about your day after that. That’s what deep breathing does for me. It stops the noise, outside, inside, and then I can move forward.

Nicole Maloy:     You’ve touched on the fact that yoga is not your thing, but deep breathing is, so that fits into that mental and emotional health piece. What is something, if you’re comfortable sharing, that you do to promote your social health, and something you do to promote your physical health?

Dr. Benoit Dubé:       So, physical health, I like to run. And running on city sidewalks is no longer a thing for me because my knees are telling me that’s not a good thing, so I’ve learned to adapt to the treadmill and to books on tape. (Laughter) I have also, as I’ve grown older, needed to make adjustments to what I eat, and concentrated sweets don’t agree with me anymore. And that was not within my control. I had to adapt, I had no choice.

Social health – I think that my professional responsibilities have allowed me to thrive in that respect. In the responsibilities I have been given at Penn, I get to meet outstanding, brilliant, creative, and innovative students all the time. And that is something that is energizing for me. It’s a source of inspiration, creating a community that didn’t exist before. It’s very energizing for me to be asked to do that.

The other life hack I’d like to share with you is, I am an avid traveler. I love to travel. And so one of my life rules is before you end your current vacation or your current trip, you must know where your next one is. You must always have a reward for yourself. You must always be working towards something. Because, hey, there will be stress. There will be challenges. But if you know that you will be rewarded, there’s something you’re looking forward to. That’s a life rule that I figured out a while back.

Nicole Maloy:     Wonderful. Well, thank you so much, and have a wonderful spring semester.

Dr. Benoit Dubé:       Thank you. It was a pleasure chatting with you.

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Nicole Maloy is a Penn Class of 1995 Reunion Co-Chair. Through the Be Well Penn ’95 Wellness & Self-Care Initiative, she, Casey Ryan, C’95, and Jordana Horn Gordon, C’95 urge their classmates – and the entire Penn alumni family – to be both thoughtful and proactive about making mental, emotional, physical, and/or social health a higher priority in 2019.

 

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Profile, Campus Life, Casey R., Nicole M., Uncategorized

Family Traditions at Penn

By: Lindsey Klinger-O’Donnell

Virginia Webster Hilligoss Patton, CW’67, recently returned to campus for a very special Alumni Weekend. Virginia celebrated her 50th Reunion and spent the weekend reminiscing and catching up with fellow classmates, alumni, and her three siblings. She spoke with Penn Alumni Relations about her college experience, fondest memories, and family connections to Penn.

Virginia is the youngest of four siblings. Her two older brothers, Spencer Webster, W’57, and Richard Webster, W’58, and older sister, Linda Webster Huggler, CW’62, all attended Penn in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. From an early age, Virginia felt a strong impetus to not only attend college but specifically the University of Pennsylvania. With such strong family ties to the University, Penn was really the only choice in her mind. While at Penn, Virginia and her sister were student-athletes, playing on the Women’s Field Hockey team. They were also members of the Tri Delta Sorority. They still value the strong friendships and bonds they made there.

Although Virginia grew up in Suburban Philadelphia with her family, she later moved to California and does not have an opportunity to return to campus often. This made Virginia’s homecoming to Penn even more meaningful. She remarked on how much the campus has changed, with so many new buildings and spaces. However, some buildings remained seemingly untouched, like the iconic architecture of Houston Hall, with its comfortable interior spaces and fireplaces. Virginia commented that Houston Hall had always been a common meeting place for her and her classmates. In that regard, not much has changed.

Virginia went on to share one of her most memorable moments from her time at Penn. In her Senior year, Virginia became the first woman to sit on an athletic board when she took on the role of President of Women’s Athletics. Virginia remembers advocating to an all-male board about the need for better facilities and equipment for Women’s Athletics. However, it’s safe to assume that after Alumni Weekend, one of Virginia’s fondest memories of Penn is probably this photo of her and her three siblings enjoying the Alumni Picnic. What a special moment it must have been to come back and share in this Penn Tradition together.

Virginia

(Photo credit: Lisa Godfrey Photography)

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Filed under Alumni Profile, Alumni Weekend, Uncategorized

Penn Club of Chicago – Volunteer Member Profile

Name: Liane Jackson

Hometown: East Coast

Year: Class of 1993

School: School of Arts and Sciences

Degree(s):     B.A. in International Relations, University of Pennsylvania

J.D. , Tulane University Law School, New Orleans, LA

M.S in Journalism, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Penn Club of Chicago Member since 2013

 

CHI Profile Pic 0914

 

Liane claims the entire east coast as her hometown, as her family moved around on that side of the country. In the 1980s, she ended up in a suburb outside of Chicago and attended Rich Central High School. When the time for college came around, she was looking for a school that had a strong international presence, as she always had an interest in being in the Foreign Service. After graduating from Penn, Liane worked as an attorney, as a television news reporter/anchor, and as a press secretary. She’s now an entrepreneur. Liane and her husband live in Roscoe Village with their two daughters, Sienna, 5, and Brayden, 2.

 

What other schools did you apply to and why did you pick Penn? My top choices included Brown University, which I never visited, as well as Georgetown – because of my interest in diplomacy – and Penn. I didn’t visit Penn either, but it came across as a hip and diverse university with great programs – including their International Relations major. I’m so glad I made the decision to attend.

 

Name three favorite songs from your time at Penn. Back to Life (Soul to Soul), Pump up the Jam (Technotronic), and Rock Dis Funky Joint (Poor Righteous Teachers). I was also a DJ while at Penn so I have a lot of now ‘classic’ tunes running through my mind.

 

Favorite memories of Penn? I had a good time at Penn! I pledged Delta Sigma Theta my junior year, had a work/study job, did some theater and writing for the Daily Pennsylvanian, and I was a DJ for a while. Some of my favorite memories were being integrated into the city of Philadelphia and interacting with Penn students and local residents at the same time.

 

What course did you struggle with the most? What course was the easiest? Although I didn’t anticipate it, the course that proved most challenging was a Linguistics class I took instead of math……….probably the easiest was a Folklore class.

 

If you had to start college all over again, you would have……….I would choose Penn all over again, but I would try to take more advantage of the deep variety of course offerings.

 

What are you doing now? I own a coworking, meeting, and event space in the Wicker Park-Bucktown area of Chicago. We opened about nine months ago. The business offers entrepreneurs, freelancers and other independent workers a productive workspace, meeting space as well as learning opportunities. My website is http://www.freerangeoffice.com.

 

Advice for Incoming Freshman. Apply yourself! Don’t get lost in the social scene. Immerse yourself and you’ll feel great about your decision to select Penn. Go Quakers!!!

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Penn colleague, alumni volunteer and ARTIST . . .

Author: Kristina Clark

Nicole Maloy, W’95, is one of my colleagues in Alumni Relations. She is the Director of the Multicultural Outreach program. I thought I’d share a post about her simply because she is interesting!

Nicole not only works in Alumni Relations, she is a very active volunteer on Penn’s Association of Alumnae Board, members with whom I work closely. This post is not about Nicole’s role as an employee or as an alumna however, this is about Nicole’s personal creativity. For example and most recently, Nicole taught a few of her Alumni Relations colleagues how to knit. She is a patient teacher (for which we are most grateful) and now my ten-year old daughter wears a beautiful purple knit hat that I finished last month. Nicole has many talents — she’s a dancer, a singer, an athlete, and most certainly an artist, as confirmed by being chosen last week to exhibit her portrait drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. This honor is what I wanted to share with you.

Here’s the story . . . Nicole once wrote a Penn Alumni Blog post about exploring art resources in Philadelphia (includes a photo of her at age 17 with several jean jackets that she painted for her high school classmates in the late ’80s and early ’90s). One resource that she had not yet taken advantage of is the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), the first school of fine arts in the United States. Its origin dates from 1791, when Penn was still located at 4th & Arch Streets.

In fall 2013, Nicole took a weekly evening class called “Intermediate Portrait Drawing” through PAFA’s Continuing Education program. Students who had been enrolled in CE classes or workshops from spring 2013 through spring 2014 were invited to submit artwork for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Continuing Education Programs Annual Juried Student Exhibition.

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PAFA received nearly 180 submissions, and 80 were accepted. Among them is Nicole’s piece, a portrait in charcoal entitled “Waiting,” which was drawn from a live model in class. If you would like to see it, along with the other 79 drawings, paintings, and sculptures, the exhibition runs from February 28 – April 6 in Gallery 128, Hamilton Building, 128 North Broad Street, at PAFA.

NicoleExhibit2
Congratulations, Nicole!

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Filed under A Day in the Life - DAR, Alumni Profile, Association of Alumnae, Kristina C., Multicultural Outreach, Nicole M., Philadelphia, Sweeten Alumni House, The Arts, Uncategorized

“We will find a way or we will make one!”

Author: Lisa Ellen Niver, C’89

Do you ever wonder how you will make your dreams come true? I find inspiration from the gate at the University: We will find a way or we will make one. In December 2012 on the beach in India, I said I think we should have a contest on our website, We Said Go Travel. George said, “Great! Let’s start in January and end on February 14.” Immediately I had several objections. I could not possibly be ready so fast to run a writing contest.
We were in Konark, India at the Sand Art Festival near the UNESCO Sun Temple. I was musing that 30 years ago when the festival began, someone probably said: “Sand Art Festival! You must be nuts!” But here we were, thirty years later and it was a large festival with many international sand artists!

In January 2014, we began our fourth travel-writing contest. (Travel Writing Contest: http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/writing-contest)

Over the course of 2013, over five hundred writers from over fifty countries entered our contest. It was truly fantastic! I love all the stories and getting to email with people from all over our planet. We hope you will choose to join us by sharing a story or reading one from someone else! We did our first live announcement of the winners for our contest on google hangout on air.

WSGT gratitude 2013 google hangout (2)

Watch the hangout:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZF2DixFNiI

See the winners:

http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/gratitude-travel-writing-contest-winners-2013

We had some technical issues and had to link one judge in by skype but it worked. We found a way to make it work! I learned many life lessons at the University of Pennsylvania but the message from the gate always rings in my head: “We will find a way or we will make one!”

I remember the contest really took off when I wrote to our friend, Richard Bangs from the PBS Travel Show, “Adventure with Purpose,” who offered to be a judge.  Sometimes all you need to do is offer to participate: by joining in a contest, being the judge or simply showing up. I was honored in October 2013 to share our travel knowledge in a webinar for the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Travel. George and I talked about our journey for 27 days in Myanmar (Burma). We were invited to participate and we said YES!

http://pennalumni.adobeconnect.com/p3dzcr7cmmk/

I hope that you make your resolutions for 2014 come true by taking a first step! I would love to hear about your progress.

 

 

 

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Profile, Guest blogger, Lisa Ellen Niver, Penn Alumni Travel, Travel

Celebrating Diversity at Alumni Weekend

Author: Lillian Galindo Gardiner, GEd ’11

It may not be your reunion year, but there are other fun reasons to come back for Alumni Weekend this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Online registration is now closed, but you can still register on-site this weekend.

The Multicultural Outreach Team in Alumni Relations has worked with alumni leaders to plan some exciting opportunities for reconnecting with friends and celebrating the diversity of our Penn alumni.

Read on for details on events hosted by the Penn Alumni Diversity Alliance!

pics


SATURDAY, MAY 11

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
University of Pennsylvania Asian Alumni Network: Reception
Houston Hall, Ben Franklin Room, 3417 Spruce Street
Meet with UPAAN at our alumni weekend reception to meet fellow alumni, reunite old classmates and connect with past, current, and future members of the Asian & Asian-American community at Penn. Alumni, bring your memories, Students, bring your energy. Refreshments will be served. Following the reception, please join us in a joint panel discussion in collaboration with our fellow Diversity Alliance groups on the topic of faculty diversity and initiatives.

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Association of Native Alumni: “A Tribute to Bob Preucel”
Houston Hall, Bishop White Room, 3417 Spruce Street
“A Tribute to Bob” (Robert W. Preucel), Department Chair, Sally and Alvin V. Shoemaker Professor, Anthropology: Curator-In-Charge, American Section, University Museum; Director, Penn Center for Native American Studies. With best wishes for a continued stellar journey at Brown University, we are remembering our time with Bob at Penn by sharing an archive of videos, stories, pictures, individual and collective memories. We recognize his work to develop the Center for Native American Studies and his ongoing support. Although Bob will not be joining us at Alumni Weekend, please gather with your fellow ANA alumni and Native students to pay tribute to him.

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Association of Latino Alumni: Networking Reception
Houston Hall, Golkin Room, 3417 Spruce Street
Join ALA at our alumni networking reception, the first of two events that will focus on the evolution that is sweeping campus. While you reconnect with fellow alumni and reunite with old classmates, meet current students and Latino faculty. Refreshments will be served. Following the reception, please join us in a joint-panel discussion with our fellow Diversity Alliance groups on the very current and relevant topic of faculty diversity and initiatives.

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
PennGALA Networking Hour
Houston Hall, Brachfeld Room, 3417 Spruce Street
PennGALA and the LGBT Center welcome you to network with fellow alumni during Alumni Weekend. Learn what other alumni are up to and the paths they’ve taken since graduating. You’ll also hear about the LGBT Center and the ways students benefit from its presence on campus today.

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Black Alumni Society Reception
Houston Hall, Platt Rehearsal Room, 3417 Spruce Street
During the Alumni Weekend festivities, we welcome you to enjoy a reception hosted by the Black Alumni Society. This will be a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with friends and reminisce about your time at Penn. We will also acknowledge the 40th Anniversary of the W.E.B Du Bois College House with a few words from House Faculty Master, Rev. William Gipson, who also serves as Associate Vice Provost for Equity and Access at Penn.

4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Penn Faculty Panel: Co-Sponsored by the Penn Alumni Diversity Alliance
Houston Hall, Class of ’49 Auditorium, 3417 Spruce Street
Please join us for a panel discussion featuring Penn Professors Dr. Eric J. Schelter, Dr. Emilio Parrado, Dr. Grace Kao, and Dr. Tukufu Zuberi, who will discuss what achieving diversity means to them. Following the panel, there will be time for audience Q&A.

6 PM – 10 PM
Taste of Penn Spectrum: A Celebration of Diversity
Location: Tent on College Green
Spend an evening surrounded by friends, food, and music celebrating Penn’s cultural diversity. Enjoy the company of the Penn Alumni Diversity Alliance: The Association of Latino Alumni, The Association of Native Alumni, The Black Alumni Society, The James Brister Society, PennGALA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Alumni Association), and The University of Pennsylvania Asian Alumni Network. All alumni are welcome to attend.


Special note: on Sunday, May 12 at 10:30am, join the Greenfield Intercultural Center at 3708 Chestnut Street for an alumni celebration in honor of their new Native American community garden!

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Filed under Alumni Profile, Alumni Weekend, Lillian G., Multicultural Outreach