Category Archives: Campus Life

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

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


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.


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.


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.


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

Sharing Memories with Classmates

By Kiera Reilly, C’93

Photo contributions from Penn 1993 classmates: Sonia Biswas, Derek Braslow, Allison Brody, Frank Cacurro, Eli Faskha, Allison Feder Fliegler, Debbie Frank, Amy Frary, Lisa Grabelle, Leila Graham-Willis, Mike Hardy, Debbie Jaffe, Stephen Jung, Joe Kopcha, Valerie Broadwin Mutterperl, Amy Raslevich, Eliza Schleifstein, Lauren Siegel Shannon, Allyson Wagner Sonenshine, Wendy Spander, Julie Avila Stuckman, Jennifer Warren, Katrina Cooley Weller, and Joel Yarbrough

As we move closer to our 25th Reunion, classmates are digging through old photos and sharing them in our class Facebook group (if you’re Penn’93 and you have not joined yet, you are missing out on the fun!)

There isn’t a theme to this post, other than fond memories of our time at Penn.  Below are photos from parties, from gatherings, from Sorority formals, photos that show our class together with smiles on our faces. Some photos in the back show us what campus used to look like, or of buildings or establishments that no longer exist (we’re still looking for photos of the old bookstore, the Palladium, and Troy’s).


Thank you to all of our classmates that shared their photos and memories with us. We are looking forward to making more memories on campus at our 25th Reunion. We hope you will Meet us at the Button May 11 – 14, 2018!

Penn 1993 on SEPTA

On a SEPTA bus

Random photos of classmates doing random things.


Sorority photos from Allison Feder Fliegler


Here’s a picture of friends from my freshman hall and friends not from our hall, gathering at Karen’s parent’s house outside of Philly for an end of the year barbecue.

Penn 1993 freshman hall-mates

Freshman hall-mates and friends photo courtesy of Kiera Reilly

Frank Cacurro shared these photos from parties at Phi Kap.




Photos from Jennifer Warren.


Julie Avila Stuckman shared this photo of friends in the High Rises.

Penn 1993 high rises

Julie Avila Stuckman with With Catherine Donaldson-Evans, Sonia Verma Parekh and Jennifer Yang Weedn.

The Penn Band


Penn Band tubas

Warwick Penn 1993

Warwick 2nd floor, photo courtesy of Lisa Grabelle

I love this photo of Hey Day since it’s alongside the stores on 38th Street that were next to the old Penn bookstore. This photo is taken looking north towards Walnut Street.


More Hey Day photos from an old reunion power point slide show.

Eli Faska shared this photo from a paintball outing: A Paintball outing in Jim Thorpe, PA, with Joseph Esses W’93, someone I don’t remember his name, Joseph Cohen, W’94, Eli Faskha, W’93 ENG’93, and Elias Maloul C’94.

I included the “I don’t remember” because I think as all of us look through our photos, we are all saying to ourselves, “Who is THAT?”

Penn 1993

Another great source of memories is Poor Richard’s Record – has anyone looked through it lately?

Poor Richard's Record 1993

Poor Richard’s Record 1993 photo courtesy of Eli Faska

Outside of Franklin Field, photo from Allison Brody.

Penn-1993 Franklin-Field

Outside of Franklin Field Emily Leong, Karen Grimm Berry and Voula Tsoutsiplides Koutsoris photo courtesy of Allison Brody

Fun photos with friends and a homemade Eagles shirt, photos from Derek Braslow.

Pictures of buildings from Jennifer Warren.

Another Franklin Field photo, this from the upper stands courtesy of Wendy Spander.

Franklin-Field Penn-1993

Upper stands at Franklin Field, photo courtesy of Wendy Spander: Julio Arias, Julie Greene, Josh Astrof, Rachel Cytron

Photos from the DP banquet Senior Year from Wendy Spander.

Photos from Mike Hardy.

Third floor English House group photo from Freshman year courtesy of Stephen Jung.

English House 1989-1990

Third floor English House freshman year courtesy of Stephen Jung

Photos from Joel Yarbroughl – one looks to be a freshman dorm hall, and the other is from Hey Day 1993 for the Class of 1994.

Lauren Siegel Shannon shared this group of photos and it makes me laugh because of the phone cords!


photo courtesy of Lauren Siegel Shannon

Photos from a Sphinx outing into Center City.

Allyson Wagner Sonenshine shared photos of Off the Beat and Kappa Alpha Theta’s sorority formal.

Debbie Frank shared a photo of a photo collage with photos of many classmates and many pictures from Hey Day.

Penn 1993 #93tothe25th

Photo collage from Debbie Frank

Sonia Biswas shared these photos and this story: Joseph Ayers and I have been friends since the first weekend of Freshman year when we lived on the fifth floor of English House. In 2010, we were both deployed to Afghanistan, and Joe transited my base. We were able to spend a few minutes catching up at the crack of dawn before Joe headed out to his base. From hanging out at Penn to working hard and reminiscing in war zones #EH54ever!

Katrina Cooley Weller shared this photo of her with Volleyball teammates Stephanie Bell Loller and Gina Herrera Duggan.

Penn Volleyball

Penn Volleyball teammates from Penn 1993

Debbie Jaffe shared this photo from Spring Fling – interesting to note the footwear everyone is wearing.  The second photo provides lots of background dorm decor, and the third is hanging on College Green.

Love this photo of Penn cheerleader Dana Batles Smith.

Penn cheerleader

Dana Matles Smith photo courtesy of Joel Yarbrough

We love these photos from Valerie Broadwin Mutterperl of classmates in the Quaker spirit!

Stephen Jung shared this photo of the Community Service Living Learning Project retreat.

Penn 1993

Community Service Living Learning Project retreat photo courtesy of Stephen Jung

Amy Raslevich shared this photo and the caption: Bringing the concerns of Wharton Democrats (all four of us) to Harris Wofford.

penn 1993 Amy Raslevich and Harris wofford

Amy Raslevich and Harris Wofford

Amy Frary shared these photos which show a lot of backgrounds of interest.


Joe Kopcha shared photos highlighting the fashions of the day – acid wash jeans, mock turtlenecks and those belts.

Eliza Schleifstein shared a photo of her hallmates in Warwick 1.

warwick 1 at penn

Warwick 1 photo courtesy of Eliza Schleifstein

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion #93tothe25th

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown

The weekend of April 20-21, marked 3 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 2018)! Meet us at the Button!

Register NOW to attend our 25th Reunion!

Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
  • Donate to The Penn Fund in honor of our reunion! We want to break the 25th reunion participation giving record and every gift matters!
  • 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!
  • Book your hotel room or AirBnB now! See our class website for details.
  • Tag all of your social media posts #penn1993 and #pennalumni!



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

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

Scenes from Freshmen Move-In…(87 Weeks To Go)

By Kiera Reilly, C’93

Our countdown to our 25th Penn reunion continues as this past weekend, September 9-10, 2016, marked 87 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 13, 2018). #93tothe25th Follow along with us: we are on Social Media! Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

I was visiting family and friends back east a few weeks ago, and the day I visited campus happened to be a freshmen move-in day. There were new families wandering all over campus, and it was buzzing with activity.

This video of Locus Walk from was taken in front of the Sweeten Alumni House. It’s busy as usual with new students and their families walking through campus. You can hear the Penn Band in the background (they’re playing in Perelman Quadrangle, behind Houston Hall).

I wandered over to Houston Hall, following sounds of the Band, and listened to them playing. Can you guess the song?

The Penn Band plays.

Later in the afternoon, new Penn families were gathered on College Green waiting to hear Penn’s President and Provost address them. While they were waiting, the Penn Glee club sang a medley of Penn songs.

Do you remember moving to campus to start our freshman year twenty-seven years ago?

We are collecting photos for an upcoming post on our freshman dorm rooms and roommates. Please share your photos with us by emailing them to

We hope to see you back on campus in 2018 for our 25th reunion!

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Filed under 25th Reunion, Campus Life, Class of 1993, Kiera R., Video, Videos

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 Ellen Niver, 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 Ellen Niver (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