Category Archives: Jason S.

Let’s Go Swimming

By: Jason S.

I walked to work today. It is already hot out. I really wish I had time in my day for a quick dip in the pool over at Pottruck, but unfortunately I am too busy writing this blog post. The next best thing, however, is looking at old pictures of people frolicking in the water at Penn. Here’s a picture circa 1905 of folks having a great time at the Weightman Hall pool.


As I was poking around the university archives page, I noticed a dashing man in a mustache featured several times over. This was George Kistler, swimming coach for Penn from 1897 to 1934. He was the world champion of the open water mile in 1887, and apparently swam from Philadelphia to Chester in the Delaware river at one point. I’m not sure if I would want to do that even if I could, but hey, hats (and mustaches) off to you, George.




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Filed under Jason S., Penn Athletics, Penn in the Summer

Did you know that the Penn Bookstore has a rewards program for Alumni?

By: Jason S.

Well you do now. And the first perk is 25% off spirit gear for just signing up. So go out and get that Penn hat you’ve always wanted. It’s Friday and you deserve it.



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Filed under Alumni Benefits, Jason S.

Where is it?

By Jason S.


Can you identify this new oasis of greenery on Penn’s campus? Hint: Once home to parked cars and food trucks, this  parklet now provides a welcome rest space for weary travelers walking from campus across the South Street Bridge.

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Filed under Jason S., Sustainability at Penn

Penn Connects 2.0

Author: Jason S.

Although we are still a week away from welcoming the newest members of the Penn community to campus, areas from Locust Walk to Shoemaker Green are abuzz with activity, working towards fulfilling the vision set forth by the Penn Connects plan when it was first introduced in 2006. 2012 brings us exciting new construction projects like the renovation of the ARCH, as well as much progress on the Singh Center for Nanotechnology, both of which are slated to be completed sometime in 2013. To read more about the second phase of this initiative and to view a high resolution version of the map above, visit the Penn Connects website.

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Filed under Campus Life, Jason S.

Alumpics Day 6-Community Service

Author: Jason Strohl

It it day 6 of the Ivy+ Alumpics, and the topic is Community Service. Make sure you visit the Penn Facebook page and “like” today’s photo. Every person counts!

Members of Penn’s Class of 1981 brought their families together for community service with Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Project.


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Filed under Ivy+, Jason S., Photos

In the year 2040…

Author: Jason Strohl

While looking through old yearbooks for pictures to accompany Sweeten’s holiday card this past winter, I came across the photo above in the yearbook for the Class of 1939, presumably captured during that year’s Alumni Day. While there is no holiday theme and the picture was unsuitable for our card, I scanned it anyway because it fascinated me. Even now, in 2012, 2040 seems far away and futuristic; the stuff of robotic butlers and flying cars and meals served in pill form. In 1939 or 1938, whenever this photo was taken, 2040 must have seemed even farther away. Sadly, the photo was uncaptioned, so we will never know who this little boy was, who he became, and the things he accomplished. However, I would like to think that in 2010 he attended his 50th Penn reunion, and in 30 years  he will return for his 80th reunion. I would also like to believe that  I will be here to greet him, myself an old man at that point. So, my friend, I ask you, in 2040 I will be back…will you?

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Filed under Alumni Weekend, Jason S., Yearbook Fun

The Secret Lives of Sweeten Staff, Part I

Author: Liz Pinnie

In my short time here at Sweeten, I have come to see the skill and passion with which my colleagues do their jobs.  However, one of my favorite aspects of said colleagues (beyond the fact that they bring in chocolate for everyone to share) is learning about the many fascinating things they do when they leave our doors.  As I began research for this article I realized that there was too much information for just one blog post, so today we’ll focus on half of our impressive third floor in Part One of… The Secret Lives of Sweeten Staff.

First off, we have our multi-talented Director of Multi-Cultural Outreach, Nicole Maloy.  A few years ago, she happened to walk by a Shotokan Karate Dojo, went inside, and discovered a new passion.  Nicole says that Karate has increased her awareness and has taught her how “to relax and focus completely- both mentally and physically- on one thing at one moment in time.”  Today, Nicole is a black belt in Karate, and though she knows she can crush any opponent, Nicole appreciates that Shotokan teaches one to end a conflict rather than start one.  Beyond her Shotokan black belt, Nicole is also a fantastic high jumper and a champion salsa dancer- but more on that later!

Love our Twitter feed? Use our website?  If so, you have Sweeten’s own Internet guru, Lisa Marie Patzer, to thank.  As Assistant Director of Communications at Sweeten, Lisa Marie is constantly keeping us up-to-date with the ever changing technology of the web and social media.  This interest continues and expands once she leaves work.  As a new media artist, Lisa Marie spends time and her artistic talents looking at the effects of new media in our world and how it relates to the human experience.  In this capacity, she enjoys “exploring the political, social and interpersonal implications of new media technologies.”  Lisa Marie’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and can next be seen in the collaborative piece she is creating for her MFA from Temple in Film and Media Arts, where she “investigates the performance of identity in online and off-line social communities.”

Another treasure tucked away on the third floor is the quiet and unassuming Jason Strohl.  By day, Jason is our Assistant Director of Communications, and my personal food truck knowledge source.  By night, he takes to the stage as bassist of Wigwam’s, one of Philly’s favorite post-punk bands.  If you go to check out his band at one of the local venues you might not recognize Sweeten’s very own Clark Kent; Jason is far too active onstage to wear his glasses.  When Jason’s not performing or working, you can find him in the back bays of New Jersey, where he likes to sit for hours drinking soda and fishing for bass.  In fact, he typically arranges an annual Fishing Derby (which sounds like just about the best way to spend a spring Sunday).  If you’re in the fishing mood, make sure you pick up a bag of Sea Life Gummies for your trip (a Strohl good luck charm) and if you’re in the mood for post punk, check out Wigwam’s at Johnny Brenda’s on April 6.

Impressed?  You should be!  And guess what- I’m not even half way through our staff.  Among others, we’ve still got a hidden DJ, two published authors, a marathoner, two bridal show models, a civil engineer, and a cheerleader to go!  Can you guess who’s who?!   Stay tuned for next month’s Part Two of…..The Secret Lives of Sweeten Staff [insert dramatic music here].


Filed under Jason S., Lisa Marie Patzer, Liz P., Multicultural Outreach, Nicole M., Notable Alumni, The Sweeten Life

Campus Landmarks: The Class of 1956 Trolley

Situated directly across from the Quad at 37th and Spruce Streets, the class of 1956 Trolley is one of the most remarkable nostalgic pieces on campus. Created in the style of trolley that used to rumble down Woodland Avenue in front of College Hall throughout much of Penn’s history, the trolley car serves not only as the entrance to the 37th Street Septa station, but as a reminder that in the not so distant past campus was even more urban than it is today. Donated as part of the class of 1956’s 50th reunion gift in 2006, a plaque inside the trolley tells its story as such:

“The Class of 1956 Trolley is a replica of the Peter Witt Trolleys that carried generations of commuting students to Penn from all parts of the region and also provided convenient access from campus to cultural and other attractions in Center City Philadelphia.

With noisy steel wheels and clanging bells, these trolleys created a constant interruption to campus life and were an unforgettable part of the Penn experience. Operated by the Philadelphia Transportation Company (a precursor to Septa), routes 11, 34, and 37 ran through the Penn campus on Woodland Avenue and Locust Street for nearly 65 years. In 1956 they were relocated underground, enabling the University to begin conversion of the university to a unified and attractive landscape environment. Woodland Avenue and Locust Walk became the first pedestrian walkways through the campus.

The Class of 1956 Trolley was fabricated by the Gomaco Trolley Company in October of 2006. The original Peter Witt trolleys were manufactured by J.G. Bell from 1923-1926.”

Trolley Tracks in front of College Hall. Date Unknown.

The Class of 1956 Trolley. The Quad is visible in the background.

Controls at the front of the trolley appear much as they did in the original Peter Witt cars.

Benches inside the trolley allow a weary passenger or passerby a place to have lunch or enjoy the view.

The actual entrance to the 37th Street station provides access to trolleys heading eastbound towards Center City.

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Filed under Campus Life, Historical, Jason S.

On the Road Again with Engaging Minds in New York

Author: Jason Strohl

On Friday, December 3, I had the pleasure of joining over 400 alumni at the most recent Engaging Minds event at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Four of Penn’s brightest professors engaged the audience in discussions ranging from how corporations benefit from data mining our digital identities to the attempt to control the ever-growing cost of healthcare in the United States to a quiz designed to measure confidence levels in decision-making.  If you were unable to attend, videos of each of the lectures are available on the Making History website, along with additional information about each of the speakers. Also, check out the Engaging Minds page for a preview of events coming to San Francisco and Los Angeles in early 2012. We hope to see you there!

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Filed under Academics, Jason S.

The Frankly Pennies

Author: Leigh Ann P.

Surely you all read my previous post about party culture at the Sweeten House.  If not, I’ll wait. 

Finished?  I’m sure you were wildly entertained!  Did you leave a comment?

Last week our fearless Frankly Penn blog founder, Aimee LaBrie, hosted a fabulous soiree (can it be a soiree if it’s at 4 PM?) honoring all of us blog contributors – both of the frequent kind and of the once-in-a-lifetime kind.  Aimee created awards for each and every blogger and presented them at the event along with personalized gifts.  Everyone is so excited about their awards, and a few people around Sweeten have displayed them proudly in their workspaces.

Nicole is so excited about her award, she has it displayed right beneath her office nameplate!


Can you spot Lynn’s award among all of her daughter’s artwork?

Lisa V. doesn’t ever want to spin her chair around and NOT see her Frankly Penny.

Mine is covering up my William + Kate tea towel.  Am I finally tired of them?

Jason’s only regret is that the certificate is too small for the frame he had picked out for it. 

Hoopes’s award is displayed proudly on his credenza, along with his blogger pride pencil!  No wonder he’s proud: who else has an award featuring a cat climbing a ladder?

This is the best award Cecilia has ever received!

Have you ever received an award for anything?  Let us know in the comments!  If you want to be awarded next year with a Frankly Penny, you could be!  All you have to do is contribute to the Frankly Penn blog.  Contact Aimee LaBrie at for more information.

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Filed under Aimee L., Awards, Cecilia R., Hoopes W., Jason S., Leigh Ann P., Lisa Marie Patzer, Lisa V., Lynn Carroll, Mari M., Nicole M., Photos, The Sweeten Life