Category Archives: Campus Life

Freshman Dorms in 1989 (77 Weeks To Go)

By Kiera Reilly, C’93

A recent post in our #93tothe25th countdown to our 25th reunion looked back at our Freshman Move-In in September, 1989. This week, we went back into our pre-digital camera archives to unearth photos of where and how we lived that first year at Penn. It is interesting to see that while everyone has their own personal style, there is a definite similarity to the rooms and the things that were in vogue in the Fall of 1989. Be sure to look closely at the photos to notice small things like original Macintosh computers, phones with cords, and the all important music posters.

Thank you to classmates Danny Bockvar, Marianne Alves Brogdale, Amy Korn Duque, Christine Lutton Foster, Brooke Hayes, Meredith Prevor-Weiss, Allison Laney Richards, and Jessica Zirkel-Rubin for sharing your photos with us!

Upper Quad

I lived on the 2nd floor of Franklin in the Upper Quad. I shared a triple with Lisa Bardfeld Shapiro and Randi Mosler, and while we were technically assigned to Franklin Hall, our triple and the one across the hall from us were separated from the rest of the Franklin rooms by fire doors. So the Brooks-Leidy Hall adopted us.

Penn roommates in September 1989 in the Upper Quad at Penn

We scored a triple in the Upper Quad – room 222 Franklin! Randi, Lisa and Kiera on move-in day, 1989.

Since we had a triple room, there were two tiny single rooms and one large central room. We swapped rooms throughout the year, but for the first part of the year, I had one of the single rooms.

Kiera Reilly freshman dorm room at University of Pennsylvania in the Upper Quad

My bed in one of the side rooms of our triple in the Upper Quad.

Kiera Reilly's freshman dorm room in the Upper Quadrangle at the University of Pennsylvania

The view from my bed out the window. For some reason I thought buying an ironing board was a good idea.

This photo is dark, but you can partially see the view of the Quad through the window.

Kiera Reilly's view from her dorm room in the Upper Quad at the University of Pennsylvania

Looking out into the Upper Quad.

The RA for the 2nd floor of Brooks-Leidy, Mark. Remember milk crates?

RA for the 2nd floor of Brooks-Leidy in the Upper Quadrangle at the University of Pennsylvania

I think RA’s had a double-sized room all to themselves.

High Rises

Amy Korn Duque shares, “My freshman move-in day at Penn, I was assigned to a high rise on the 14th floor, sharing an apartment-style dorm with 2 girls from Colombia and one from Staten Island. (I am still in touch with 2 out of 3.) One of my roommates had gone to high school with a Wharton sophomore, who came over to help us move in and get settled. They were not particularly good friends, but we hit it off right away.  He and I have now been married for 21 years, and this year we saw our son off to Penn for his own freshman move-in day.”

Amy Korn Duque and Alejandra Torres in High Rise South Room 1413 at University of Pennsylvania

Amy Korn Duque and Alejandra Torres in High Rise South Room 1413.

Room 1413 High Rise South at the University of Pennsylvania

Room 1413, High Rise South

Marianne Alves Brogdale also sent in a photo of her room in the High Rises, and coincidentally, she was a floor above Amy in Room 1513!

Marianne Alves Brogdale in her room, 1513 High Rise South

Marianne Alves Brogdale in her room, 1513 High Rise South

Dorm room at 1513 High Rise South the University of Pennsylvania in Fall 1989

Bulletin board in Marianne’s room

Room 1513 in High Rise South at the University of Pennsylvania in Fall, 1989

Marianne’s desk

Lower Quad – Community House

Jessica Zirkel-Rubin sent a photo of her room, number 258 in Warwick.

Room 258 Warwick in the Lower Quad, shared by Jessica Zirkel-Rubin, Fall 1989 at Penn

Room 258 Warwick in the Lower Quad, shared by Jessica Zirkel-Rubin

Allison Laney Richards also sent photos from the 2nd floor of Warwick. Allison writes that there was a cheer for the floor, “Warwick 2nd Floor, Who could ask for more. In Volleyball we conquer all.  We’ll Nail you to the floor.”  

Roommates in Warwick, Lower Quad, at University of Pennsylvania in the Fall 1989

Allison and her roommate Jennifer Bloom

dorm room in Warwick in the Quadrangle at the University of Pennsylvania, Fall 1989

Allison and Jennifer’s room, 2nd floor of Warwick

Warwick 2nd floor dorm room in the Quadrangle at the University of Pennsylvania, Fall 1989

Allison and Jennifer’s room, 2nd floor of Warwick

dorm room in the 2nd floor of Warwick, the Quadrangle, at the University of Pennsylvania, Fall 1989

Allison and Jennifer’s room

Dorm room door, 2nd floor of Warwick in the Quadrangle at the University of Pennsylvania Fall 1989

The door to Allison and Jennifer’s room

Another photo of Allison and Jennifer. I guess plaid shirts were “in”?

roommates in the lower quad at the University of Pennsylvania Fall 1989

Jennifer and Allison wearing what was “in” back then – plaid shirts.

Some of Allison’s 2nd floor Warwick hallmates: Neil Sheth, Mark Stern, Ed Miller , and Nick ? feast on pizza, something we all ate at least once a week!

lower Quad dorm room at the University of Pennsylvania in the Fall 1989

Eating the college food staple – pizza – in the Lower Quad

Jim Fleischer and Allison in his room. Allison writes, “Jim lived across the hall from me Freshman year; Regan (Allan) was in my sorority; I introduced them and now they are married.”

Allison Laney Richards and Jim Fleischer were hallmates on the the 2nd floor of Warwick at Penn

Allison Laney Richards and Jim Fleischer were hallmates on the the 2nd floor of Warwick

Jim Fleischer in his room, 2nd floor Warwick, lower Quadrangle, University of Pennsylvania, Fall 1989

Jim Fleischer in his room, 2nd floor Warwick.

Greg Fatzinger in his room, 2nd floor Warwick, lower Quadrangle, University of Pennsylvania Fall 1989

Greg Fatzinger in his room, 2nd floor Warwick.

A photo from an “all night drink fest” (party after finals done and before flying home) in a Butcher 2nd floor dorm room. Pictured: Jeff McKibben, Samantha Leventhal, Allison Laney Richards, and Rob Hathaway.

Party in Butcher 2nd floor dorm room, lower Quad, University of Pennsylvania, Fall 1989

Pictured: Jeff McKibben, Samantha Leventhal, Allison Laney Richards, and Rob Hathaway.

Kings Court – English House

Christine Lutton Foster had this photo of a sign from her dorm door.

Door sign from Kings Court - English House, University of Pennsylvania, Fall 1989

Door sign from Kings Court – English House

Near the Mail Room in the Quad

Meredith Prevor-Weiss sent photos from EF Smith in the Quad.

roommates from the Quadrangle, University of Pennsylvania, Fall 1989

Meredith Prevor-Weiss and her roommate Heather Caslow

Chris Van Reid and Paul Arrouet outside on the Junior Balcony, Quadrangle at Penn 1989

Chris Van Reid and Paul Arrouet outside on the Junior Balcony

roommates in the Quad, University of Pennsylvania, Fall 1989

Bryon ? and Adam Bernstein

roommates in the Quadrangle at Penn, Fall 1989

Kathyanne Cohen and Jennifer Friedman

Freshman in the Quadrangle at Penn, 1989, Heather Caslow and Paul Arrouet

Heather Caslow and Paul Arrouet

Roommates Then, Friends Now

Brooke Hayes sent a photo of him and his roommate Jason McLane sitting by Ben on the Bench freshman year. Brooke and Jason lived in Foerderer in Upper Quad. And then Brooke sent a photo with his daughter Cameron (and wife Hilary Marion Hayes, also a classmate) and Jason’s daughter Hannah in the same pose with Ben on the Bench. Cameron and Hannah entered Penn this year as Freshman and are roommates living in Speakman!

Dads at Penn were roommates and now their daughters are freshman roommates

Brooke Hayes and Jason McLane as roommates in 1989 and their daughters as roommates at Penn now!

Danny Bockvar sent a photo of himself, his twin brother Johnny and his roommate Paul Altman (they lived in the Class of ’28) from Freshman year, and then a photo of the three of them today.

Danny and Johnny Bockvar with Paul Altman in Class of '28, Quadrangle, Penn 1989

Danny and Johnny Bockvar with Paul Altman in Class of ’28

Danny and Johnny Bockvar with Paul Altman today.

Danny and Johnny Bockvar with Paul Altman today

Coincidentally, while looking through the scrapbook I made from Freshman year, I found this article from the Philadelphia Inquirer about our class moving in and starting life at Penn. The best part? Paul and Johnny are quoted in the article! I wonder if Paul can tell the difference between the Bockvars now? (If you can’t read the image below, the article is online here).

Article from the Philadelphia Inquirer about the Penn Class of 1993 moving in to start their Freshman year at Penn

Article from the Philadelphia Inquirer about the Penn Class of 1993 moving in to start their Freshman year at Penn

We received photos from rooms in the Quad and the High Rises, but we are still seeking photos from Hill House, Kings Court/English House, DuBois or other freshman dorms. And we would love to see more photos of other rooms in the Quad and High Rises. We hope to do another post on freshman dorm rooms so if you have any photos, please send them to us!

Penn Class of 1993 Reunion Countdown

The weekend of November 18-19 marked 77 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 13, 2018)! Join us we countdown the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

  • Do you have old photos or mementos from our time at Penn? Photos of Spring Fling? Football at Franklin Field? Classes at DRL? We are taking a trip down memory lane and would love for you to share your memories with our class in a future post. Please email us!
  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.


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Filed under 25th Reunion, Campus Life, Class of 1993, Kiera R., Memories of Penn, Photos

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again?

By: Carolyn Grace, C’16


I’m finally back on the blog, Quakers!  And boy, does it feel good.

For those of you who don’t remember, I spent last semester studying abroad in Paris through Reid Hall, a joint program between Columbia and Penn.  I took classes in History, Cinema Studies, and French (le duh) at both this international school and at the Sorbonne.  But like all study abroad programs, my adventure in Paris was not only comprised of studying!

Living with a host family, getting lost in art museums, sipping cappuccinos in cafés, catching the last metro home after a long night out, sprawling out on the grass in a luscious garden, exploring boutiques on streets big and small, this was over half of my education abroad.  And these are just a handful of the activities I did in Paris alone!

If you’re interested in knowing more about my adventures, check out the blog I kept last semester: For the Love of Paris.  You’ll find photos, videos, songs, and most importantly musings of my time in Europe.

But that semester has come and gone, and I admit that for all the fun I had overseas, I am incredibly happy to be back on Penn’s campus.  I missed my friends, my classes, and my activities.  I missed being a part of a thriving campus culture that, although stressful at times, encouraged me to be proactive.

So I’m back in the swing of things, but with a bit more gusto than last year!  I’m singing with Counterparts and sitting on the board as Alumni Relations Officer, I’m helping run Sigma Kappa as Vice President, I’m writing for 34th Street and Penn Appétit, and I’m beginning to conduct research for my Senior Honors Thesis for my History major.

Don’t worry, there will be future blog posts where I’ll delve deeper into these topics!  Just know for now that I’ve hit the ground running this second semester of my junior year, and I’m glad to have that academic cardio in my life again.

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Filed under Academics, Campus Life, Carolyn G., Clubs, Student Perspective, The Arts, The Arts at Penn

A Hidden Gem on Penn’s Campus: Neighborhood Bike Works


By: Amanda Hemmer, D’09

While attending Penn Dental, I would often buy lunch from Rami’s food truck on 40th Street, and enjoy my falafel on a bench lining Locust Walk in front of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. It has been five years since I graduated dental school and coincidentally, I have returned to Locust Walk and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. However, things have changed, Rami’s has been replaced with the Marrakesh Express, and I no longer stay on a bench outside, I actually go into the Church, and downstairs to an organization called Neighborhood Bike Works.

nbw6I learned about this organization through my husband, who became involved with the non-profit after participating in an Adult Repair Co-op at Neighborhood Bike Works called Bike Church. The more we learned about Neighborhood Bike Works, the more we grew to admire this hidden gem on Penn’s campus. The mission of Neighborhood Bike Works is to increase opportunities for urban youth in underserved neighborhoods in greater Philadelphia through bicycling.

The flagship program of Neighborhood Bike Works is called Earn-A-Bike in which youth learn the basics of bike repair and maintenance, safe urban riding, and health and nutrition while refurbishing a donated bike. Students earn the very bikes they learn to repair by participating in the classes. Many of the graduates of the 15 session course continue to work in the shop and earn hours they can trade for more bikes, parts, and accessories, as well as participate in many other more advanced programs such as Race Team, Leadership and Advanced Mechanics Courses, and Ride Club. These programs are free to the participants, ages 8-18.

Neighborhood Bike Works also has a lot to offer the general public as well; they have a shop in the basement of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church where you can stop in and purchase a used bicycle, or get parts, repairs, and maintenance for a bike you already own. They also offer adult repair classes and community outreach events.

This past summer, my husband and I spent four days with Neighborhood Bike Works youth, volunteers, and staff on a four day bike ride called the Ride of Dreams. It is part fundraiser, part youth initiative and entirely a lot of fun. We started our journey at the Church on Penn’s campus and rode to Hershey and back for a total of 250 miles. It was a wonderful experience getting to know the youth and volunteers along the scenic Pennsylvania countryside.


Neighborhood Bike Works is currently looking for more volunteers, staff and even new board members. If you are interested in becoming involved in this amazing organization that is improving the community around UPenn and impacting urban youth, please contact:

Carol Borek at

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Campus Life

New Beginnings

Hey guys! My name is Kaila Brown and I am the new Graduate Assistant for the Penn Alumni Office. Words cannot express how excited I am for this new opportunity!

Penn Alumni Grad Assistant

Kaila Brown, GEd’15

I made the great move from Atlanta to Philadelphia, roughly a week ago and ever since then every day has been filled with Philly adventures and new beginnings. Orientation for the Graduate School of Education began bright and early Monday morning. It was truly exciting and inspiring to sit in the ballroom surrounded by some of the brightest minds pursing their love for various aspects of education. There are, both, international and domestic students of all races and backgrounds, and it will be such a pleasure to have these diverse opinions and thought processes shape class discussions. On Tuesday I had the pleasure of attending my specific program’s orientation where I was able to meet my fellow cohort and some of the faculty. I will be earning my Masters in Higher Education. Even though I only spent a few hours with my cohort I already know this is going to be an insightful year learning from a range of students who all bring something different to the table. Every person I met matched my excitement about the quick year ahead! I begin classes tomorrow and can’t wait to learn from some of the leading lights in the field of Higher Ed.

While I know that it will be challenging, I am so thrilled for this next year and can’t wait to see all that it has to offer!


Graduate School of Education

Graduate School of Education

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Filed under Academics, Campus Life, Student Perspective, Sweeten Alumni House

What do you consider Penn Today?

By: Noelle McManus, C’17

What do you consider Penn Today? For me, it’s everything I see and do on campus. I’m up to date on most of the things that happen on campus. I check the Penn social media and I always read the e-mails they send. I am working diligently on learning more and more about everything at Penn. This is the exact reason why I was so intent on perfecting the meaning behind ‘Penn Today’.

Working for the Alumni Interview Program has been such a wonderful experience. They also see the importance of what ‘Penn Today’ is. Our interviewers are alumni from all over the world, young and old, alike. This idea of ‘Penn Today’ would benefit anyone from prospective student to our oldest alumnus. It could be a place that houses everything that exists at Penn, today!

Currently, a place like this exists only in a small scale. It has been my job for the summer to create my own version of ‘Penn Today’. The ins and outs of the academics, activities, resources, and most important news, all gathered together in one place. This is the place to be for anyone looking to enlighten themselves on what life is like at Penn in 2014. I have been working hard to gather the information for this hub and to present the information in an intriguing way. With feedback from those around me, I hope to provide a meaning to what ‘Penn Today’ really is!

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Filed under Campus Life, Interview Program

My 25 Year Penn Reunion: Living an “As Is” life in a world that only wants “So Perfect!”

Author:  Lisa Niver Rajna, C’89

Wandering on Madison Ave in Manhattan last week, I noticed paparazzi everywhere. After asking, a woman told us, with tears in her eyes, that JLo was eating lunch. I would have missed her. She did not look “So Perfect” but she is stunning. As I left New York City for Philadelphia for my twenty-five year college reunion, I have been thinking about what have I done and what do I want for the next twenty-five years!

In a life filled with product placement where JLo is lifting her Coca-Cola glass so many times per hour on American Idol, our lives have been given a structure that we might not purchase if it were not so insidious.

In As Is by Rachel Michael Arends, the story is told through several narrators and Arends is able to share deep perspectives about how people with different lifestyles lock themselves into their own cage about money, sexuality, and professions of what they think that want and should own and should do.

Through Arends’ intriguing characters, we are able to wonder and wander. Is it a good choice to be an artist? Is it okay to defer your dream to care for your father? Most of the interactions and characters would have accepted the decisions of their friend or family member if they had only been told. Fear made nearly every character in this book withhold their personal truth.

Hiding themselves made them seem like a cheap imitation of what they could have brought to the table. Choosing to be courageous and wish for what they really wanted and reach out to receive it often only comes after tragedy and hardship but hopefully Rachel Michael Arends’ novel gives you the hope to share your story and live a life painted fully without regrets.

Early in the novel, Gwendolyn says: “On television it can look glamorous, and perhaps some people would love this lifestyle. But I don’t,” I wondered what didn’t she like? And who was she really?

Wandering the parade and picnic at the University of Pennsylvania, I thought what would life be like if we did not pretend. Gwendolyn believes that Armand “actually enjoys being So Perfect all the time,” it gave me pause to think about who do I know who resembles that remark and do they feel like Gwendolyn that “it just seems wrong, incongruous, and unnatural,” and more of a cage than a life.

There were many buttons to wear at Reunion: “I met my wife at Penn,” “<3 Penn,” and “Don’t worry, I don’t remember you either!” Maybe several alums felt like Gwendolyn: “I find it scary and unnerving when strangers approach me as if we’re old friends. I don’t like to worry about what I wear, if my hair and makeup look good enough (according to Armand they never do), what I say, or how I say it. I prefer to stay at home behind our high fences, inside our security system.”

w/ Joyce Lim Twomey

w/ Joyce Lim Twomey


She has been told by Trey, her producer, “I’m lucky to have this job, that anyone in her right mind would want it.” At an Ivy League institution, in marriage or in many other settings, we are sold that line about being lucky. I went to medical school because I was smart in science. Like Gwendolyn I felt, “I don’t want to let anyone down…[but] I’m beginning to fear that I’ll be trapped in this mansion forever.” We sometimes become embroiled in a labyrinth or career and we seem to be stuck. Breaking out of the mold and consciously taking a different path can be a struggle but isn’t the freedom, to be who we really are, worth it?

When we become lost from our selves, we often need someone like Gwendolyn’s sister, Megan, to ask us: “What’s your plan? Are you going back there?” We all want to have someone in our life that we can tell as Gwendolyn does, “You’re like an island of sanity in the craziest day I’ve ever had.” It is possible we have those people already if we would only be honest with them about how we feel and what we need. Most of us keep our wounds and concerns a secret only sharing what we think looks “So Perfect” to the constant measuring up on Instagram and Pinterest.

When one character with a cane walks on a floor above Gwendolyn with a sliding sound, she muses, “It’s strange to think of carrying your damage on the outside where everyone can see it.” What if we shared our fears and foibles on Facebook and not just our fairytales that come true? Carrie, a character who is a fan of Gwendolyn on television but becomes a true friend in the story, shares, “The biggest thing I’ve learned over the course of this year is that life is one big surprise after another, and maybe I should loosen up and try my best to roll with it.” As I walked the parade on Saturday standing in between the two wonderful women who were my college roommates, I realized that I am so lucky in both an “as is” and “so perfect” way to have walked this road surrounded by people who know what I look life in real life and want to be friends anyway! Whether there are tears of joy or sadness, they have always run to my side, whenever I am ready to share this rollercoaster of life.

Arends’ character, Armand, realizes that “As Is,” could be his “motto for acceptance. Not an excuse to settle necessarily, but a reminder that at a certain point, you just need to say, OK, enough is enough! I’m sick of chasing the dream of perfection and that’s not a failure.”

Gwendolyn does believe in fate, as she says, “You have to. I just saw a falling star out the window and I wished for you. When I looked up, there you were!” In some ways like the movies, we want to say, “I wished for you” and for the person to appear. What if you are really wishing for yourself to stand up, take up space and live your dreams? I wish for you that you are inspired to pause and think about your own parade and find a path that leads you to yourself and the fulfillment of your best dreams.

w/Barbara Yorke

w/Barbara Yorke

About the Author: Lisa Niver Rajna (CAS 1989) was honored to walk in graduation on May 19, 2014 with her classmates from twenty-five years ago! Learn more about her journeys at and

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Filed under 25th Reunion, Alumni Perspective, Alumni Programming, Alumni Weekend, Campus Life, Commencement, Lisa Ellen Niver, Memories of Penn, Penn Alumni Travel, Penn Park, Reunions, Traditions

Congratulations to the Class of 2014

Author: Janell Wiseley




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Filed under Academics, Alumni Programming, Alumni Weekend, Alumnni Education, Campus Life, Commencement, Janell W., Leaving Penn, Locust Walk Talk, Memories of Penn, Reunions, Sweeten Alumni House, Traditions, Uncategorized, View from Sweeten