Category Archives: Casey R.

#BeWellPenn95: Social Wellness, an introduction

by Casey Ryan, C’95

95 sign

As Jordana Horn Gordon, Nicole Maloy and I have shared before, Penn has launched an initiative called Wellness at Penn.

This program affirms wellness as a core priority and necessary driver of life on campus. It offers opportunities to reflect and engage on issues of wellness, stress, mental health, resilience, happiness, personal and academic goals, and the meaning of success. And it defines wellness as an ongoing holistic process with multiple dimensions.

As alumni, we are still members of the Penn community where we live in Philadelphia or Perth and everywhere in between. Jordana, Nicole and I are encouraging you, our fellow classmates, in the ramp-up year to our 25th reunion to take some time to #BeWellPenn95 and work on some of the wellness dimensions.

While the three of us have picked one each of the eight tenets, we encourage you to follow us for tips about improving your mental/emotional, physical and social wellness as well as adding any pillars to your wellness routine.

As the same proclaimed social butterfly, I am planning to provide ideas and tips for improving one’s social wellness.

First, what is social wellness?

Social Wellness refers to one’s ability to interact with people around them. It involves using good communications skills, having meaningful relationships, respecting yourself and others, and creating a support system that includes family members and friends.

In this particular blog article, I am not going to overwhelm you with several tips; I will give you just one meaningful one as we are preparing for our reunion in 2020.

Catch up with an old friend from Penn.

We live in a busy world and some of us have jobs that take us to the far-flung corners of the earth and others of us have responsibilities that require our attention from when the alarm goes off to when our heads hit pillows. We do have technological escapes like Facebook and Instagram that do give us a tenuous feeling of connectedness. In the meantime, let’s try to improve our in-person relationships. Evaluate your core network. If you have Penn peers in that group, congrats! If not, think about a classmate whom you’d like to hear from. Either way, make some time to connect.

The interaction doesn’t have to be long. Now, I’m a dyed in the wool extrovert and I can spend hours with a friend moving among busy locales – hopping from coffee to lunch to a happy hour – chatting all the time. Not everyone has the inclination to do that or the time. So the opposite social appointment would be to commit to a fifteen-minute chat on the phone to check in and catch up.

Here are a few rules of thumb. Regardless of where you fall on the extrovert-introvert spectrum, know your limitations and mutually set expectations. Before making a commitment, be sure that you can realistically meet that expectation, taking into account everything from travel time and prior commitments to health and self-care.

Start with a fifteen-minute call with Penn friend. Send him or her an e-mail (feel free to look up your friend on Quakernet, https://quakernet.alumni.upenn.edu), or a Facebook message. Make arrangements to chat within ten days of your contact. Commit to the call. If you feel comfortable, post on our Reunion Facebook that you caught up with an old friend afterward and share your experience.

Looking toward the future, I know that a lot of social wellness activities can be tied into the other pillars of wellness, for example, finding a workout partner combines social with physical, while joining a book club can combinate social with mental/emotional. Don’t be surprised if future tips combine more than one tenet.

Like all of the wellnesses, cultivating social wellness is an ongoing process that requires attention throughout our entire life.  So, we’re here for you and feel free to interact with the class page on Facebook, as well as you can connect with me personally on Instagram and Twitter at @IrishWombat.  

#BeWellPenn95,

Casey Ryan, C’95

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Casey R., Class of 1995, Uncategorized

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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Locust Walk Talk: Renewing the dreams of past glories

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

Many of you may remember my blog entry over a year ago where I shared with you the story of my rugby team, Philadelphia Gryphons, working on going to Australia, (Locust Walk Talk: What Penn’s Taught Me After Graduation). The anniversary party was only the beginning of this trek. We were able to reinvigorate our alumni and our current players to work together to create that important network of support to bolster the team and to implement new programs.

Good Game

Good Game

The club has implemented seasonal boot camps for new and interested players to learn some basic rugby skills in order to introduce them to a scrimmage with the veteran players at the end of the two hour camp. The board has institutionalized our first Saturday socials, which typically are social gatherings at our sponsor bars to increase the team’s visibility among the community and city; we supplement bar nights with outings to rugby tournaments, marching in Philadelphia’s Pride Parade, and hosting viewing parties for European matches to flesh out our calendar for the year. The fall season will be the Gryphons’ inaugural season for our new recruit/veteran mentorship program. We have initiated Alumni Days, for the first match of the season, to increase attendance at our games. Finally, the Gryphons are working to establish both a day to give back to urban youth and to regularize a Founder’s Day celebration to commemorate the team’s anniversary.

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Gryphons at the Anniversary: Joe, GEd’14; Tony, Gr’13; and Marc.

Due to this diligent work, we were successful in getting ourselves off to Sydney – raising over $15,000 to help defray some of the costs of the trip.  Starting yesterday, twenty-one Gryphons, supporters, partners and spouses will start making their way down to Australia for the Bingham Cup. With Anthony Chieco, Gr’17; Joe Ciesielski, GEd’14; Phil Cochetti, C’06; Joe Cruz, C’97, CGS’04, GEX’12; Chris Hatfield, CGS’02; Ted Panczyszyn, Penn staff; Dan Stringer, NU’13, GNU’16; and myself, over a quarter of the team and support staff going to the tournament has a Penn connection. In short, very little of the Gryphons’ success would have been possible without the team’s collective Penn experience.

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More Gryphons at the Anniversary: Phil, C’06, and Ken signing the team ball for the raffle

Personally, the Gryphons have been a huge labor of love for me – helping me maintain the work/life balance that we strive for. The team has taught me leadership, patience and perseverance. Most importantly, it’s been the source of several amazing friends over the years – especially during the times in life when it’s typically more difficult to make new ones.

Marching in Philadelphia Pride

Marching in Philadelphia Pride

And speaking of new, you also may know that I am leaving Penn. I’m graduating from my tenure at Penn to go over to University of the Sciences, about 9 blocks southwest of Sweeten House, as Director of Alumni Relations. Founded in 1821, University of the Sciences is a leading science and top pharmacy college in Philadelphia. In fact, it is America’s first pharmacy school. While I’m leaving Penn, I won’t be too far and, as an added bonus, USciences’ president is a proud Penn alumna, Helen Giles-Gee, CW’72, GEd’73, Gr’83. In addition, another teammate of mine, Greg Wallace, PCP’14, is USciences alumnus and I’ve already been cultivating him to return to reunion weekend this year.

Bingham Cup Sydney 2014 rules social media. Anthony, Gr’17, was the 1000th person to LIKE Bingham Cup Sydney 2014. From the Facebook page, “From the looks of it Anthony plays hard! An official Bingham Cup ”Play Hard” T-shirt is coming your way mate!”

It’s been a pleasure sharing my Penn experiences with you as a staffer over the last two and half years. I have already promised to work on my reunion as my 20th comes up in 2015 and I will be joining the Penn Club of Philadelphia. When I settle into my role at USciences, I will approach the interview program about helping out. Lastly, I have promised our communications staff that I will post quarterly on the blog as an alumnus.

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#tbt, Sydney 2005

In the meantime, feel free to check up on my trek through Australia – Perth to Syndey – via stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok at https://tagboard.com/CJinOZ/183930#featured.

This tournament is getting major media attention in Australia. Here are two South Sydney Rabbitohs, brothers Sam and Tom Burgess, who have backed the Bingham Cup and have called for an end to homophobia in sport in Australia. The Rabbitohs are partially owned by Russell Crowe.

Truly Red and Blue,
Casey

Me and Lex Ruby Howe, C’07, WEV’09, WEV’10, GEd’12, my favorite Aussie at Penn. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Casey R., Leaving Penn, Lex. H., Locust Walk Talk, Penn Club of Philadelphia

My Top Penn List: Alumni Weekend 2014 Tweets

By: Casey Ryan, C’95

First of all I’d like to acknowledge my amazing colleague, Jason Strohl, for running a few stories in lieu of mine because I was going to miss the deadline. Thank you, Strohly, for covering for me.

It’s been a month since Alumni Weekend. I wanted to share with you some of the most enjoyable tweets and pictures (with #PennAW) from the wonderful weekend. (Note: the opinions and views expressed through these Twitter, instagram and other social media accounts are the opinions of those individuals and do not reflect the opinions or views of the University or myself).

10. @yPennAlumni: The truest #PennAW button that ever existed. pennalumni @penn @penn2004 @penn2009 http://bit.ly/1qL0ha2

9. @Penn: For their 5th reunion, @Penn2009 had the right idea for their class gift. #PennAW #ArmyofAmys @yPennAlumni https://twitter.com/Penn/status/468109660705533952

8. @gsh1984: What a great time teaching social media basics with @KarenLGlass #PennAW photo http://i.instagram.com/p/oGZXu0iYBh/

7. @CarlinAdelson: I saw people and it was terrific! #pennaw #by09 http://twitter.com/CarlinAdelson/status/468016479414521856/

6. @heatherette01: A little blurry, but a gem #freshmanyear #roomielove #penn09 #pennaw http://Instagram.com/p/oHqXqcP-46/

5. @IraHarkavy: Amazing day. Congrats to the Young Quakers, who competed against Harlem Lacrosse players at Penn Park #PennAW http://twitter.com/IraHarkavy/status/467807661560692736

4. @ErinnLCarey: This @penn alum from the class of ’54 still has his tuition bill! Grand total, including fees?? $342.50!! #PennAW http://twitter.com/ErinnLCarey/status/467785572665540608/

3. @PennMedAlumni: Our med alumni show off their #pennpride in a parade that leads into the newly completed #pennpark #maw2014 #pennaw http://twitter.com/PennMedAlumni/status/467707493502943232/

2. @thomaswnance: Best Friends Ever!! #PennAW #BenFranklinStatue @ College Green http://Instagram.com/p/oGsoFHKLYo/

1. @KieraReilly: Hi Ben! I bet lots of alumni will come by to say hi today. #PennAW http://4sq.com/S30uFU

There were two honorable mentions:

@jgoldner: When do I get to throw toast? #PennAW”

@johnbudd: First stop at reunion: Abner’s. #PennAW http://twitter.com/johnbudd/status/467425812912685056

I hope to see you come back to campus for Homecoming, October 30-November 1 and Alumni Weekend 2015 May 15-18 and tweet away.

 

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Filed under Alumni Weekend, Casey R., Reunions, Top Ten

Locust Walk Talk: Road Tripping with Craig Carnaroli, W’85

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

“How many miles did we actually drive?” asked Tara, Director of Penn Alumni Regional Clubs.

“The Enterprise receipt clocked us in at 601.”

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The Menger Bar in San Antonio

***

We landed in Houston on a Sunday morning and headed straight to our hotel to get our supplies and we embarked for the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston.  Our hosts, Kathleen Kopp, CW’74, PAR’16, and Alfredo Perez, PAR’16, were warm and friendly. They decorated their home in Penn Red and Blue and made sure that there were touches of Philadelphia throughout the house.

Craig Carnaroli in Houston event

The club and its members were so thrilled to meet Craig. After an hour of socializing, Craig started his program – highlighting the Penn Compact 2020: Building on a Decade of Progress. The Penn Compact 2020 takes the tenets of Dr. Gutmann’s original Penn Compact and transforms them into a sustainable plan for the next decade focusing on the ideas of inclusion, innovation and impact.

The Board of the Penn Club of Houston

The crowd of over 60 alumni and friends were enthralled with the stories that Craig told to highlight the pillars of Penn vision for the decade:

  • Four freshman engineering students who entered PennApps and designed a mobile application with great potential in the classroom.
  • The eight year old girl who under the care of Penn professor, Carl June, had a lentivirus injected into her to carry modified t-cells in to her system to fight her leukemia.
  • The undergraduate student from rural Pennsylvania who is the first in his family go to college and thought that Penn was only a dream until he realized that he qualified for financial aid and made his wish reality.
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Taco Cabana, a true taste of Texas

After his talk, Craig did us the honor of delivering the 2013 Alumni Club Achievement Award to the Club for their outstanding work in transitioning club leadership.

San Antonio Alumni Event March 10, 2014 (1)

Bob Weidman, President of the Penn Club of San Antonio and Craig Carnaroli

We drove Interstate 10 to San Antonio as the sunny day turned rainy, but ended as overcast.  We made it to our hotel, the Hotel Menger, across the street from the Alamo. We stopped by the Menger Bar for a soda, so we could read up on Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders who would recruit from the bar. Onward to Paesanos in Lincoln Heights for a delightful evening with club, including a current student and his parents.

San Antonio Alumni Event March 10, 2014 (9)

The Penn Club of San Antonio with their 2012 Alumni Club Award of Merit plaque

The traffic between Alamo City and Austin was horrendous due to SXSW, but I drove like a local on the frontage roads to bypass the congestion as we approached the Capitol and then University of Texas. Our hosts in Austin, Jay Srinivasan, WG’96, and Jakes Srinivasan, WG’94, promised Saltlick BBQ and a taste of what “Keep[s] Austin Weird.” Our Penn Austinites were inquisitive about the plan for the South Bank of as a dynamic, mixed-use incubator.

Austin Alumni Event March 11, 2014 (1)

The event in Austin

Finally, we entered Dallas, as the end of our epic travels to the home of Laurie Suttenberg Corson, C’82, W’82, PAR’17 and Charles Corson, PAR’17.  En route, we drove past Dealey Plaza and the former Texas School Book Depository building.  The crowd of nearly 70 alumni and friends showed Craig their hospitality and were inquisitive about the great vision for Penn.

Dallas Alumni Event March 12, 2014 (11)

Craig in Dallas

At all of our events, our Texas alumni were so excited to have Craig visit with them and take the time out of his schedule to make these events happen.  The exuberance was palpable and it infected all three of us.  Traffic didn’t stress us. The poor weather wasn’t a bother. The long journey went by so quickly.  We were energized because we couldn’t wait to meet the next Club of Penn Alumni because the last one invigorated so much.

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Some Texas souvenirs – pink cowboy hats!

It was a fantastic trip to the Lone Star State and we were so grateful to meet so many of our Texas Penn Alumni.

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More Texas souvenirs, in a rest stop in Italy, TX

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Locust Walk Talk: Road Tripping with Craig Carnaroli, W’85 (preview)

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

Twenty years ago, I went on an epic road trip to New Orleans, where I happened to turn 21.  It was a  26 hour drive from Philadelphia through the South, including Atlanta which was two years away from the Centennial Olympic Games. The week was full of discovery, highways and laughter.

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Oh yea, between Austin and San Antonio there’s a stretch of highway where the legal limit is 85 mi/hr

This year, to engage our alumni in Texas, we are visiting the Lone Star State to bring a Penn update to our outstanding alumni there.  Yes, Craig Carnaroli,W’85, the Executive Vice President; Tara Davies, Director of Regional Clubs and I are driving through the great state of Texas!

The Highway in Austin

This epic trek starts on Sunday, March 9 and runs until Thursday, March 13, hitting Houston, San Antonio, Penn Austin and Dallas.  During our trip, Craig Carnaroli will meet with our proud Penn family to discuss the University’s position in the current environment of higher education as well as new and exciting ventures happening on campus.

I’m taking requests for souvenirs

If you are in the area, please join us at one of our stops in Texas:

  • Houston – March 9, 5:30 – 7:30 pm hosted by Kathleen Kopp, CW’74, PAR’16, and Alfredo Perez, PAR’16
  • San Antonio – March 10, 7:00 pm at Paesanos Lincoln Heights
  • Austin – March 11, 7:00 pm  hosted by Jay Srinivasan, WG’96, and Jakes Srinivasan, WG’94
  • Dallas – March 12, 6:00 – 8:00 pm This event is at capacity.

I look forward to the stories from the road in later entries.

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Locust Walk Talk: Instagramming a Warmer Day

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

So Philadelphia’s been looking like the Planet Hoth lately with the constant battering of these storms lately.

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So I thought that I would brighten up our day with a few Penn pics from warmer Instagram days.

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Just remember we’re halfway through Winter and Spring comes next month.

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Filed under Campus Life, Casey R., Locust Walk Talk