Category Archives: Josh D.

A Day in the Life: Doug Eagar

Author: Joshua Durando

Today’s post is the first of a series I will be calling “A Day in the Life”. The motivation for this series came while I was traveling to New York at the end of last semester for Engaging Minds. While speaking with a colleague they mentioned someone’s name who I had never met before. If we are being honest, I wasn’t even sure I had heard their name before. “Who is that?” I asked, half expecting them to start with something like “You wouldn’t know them, but…” That is not what I got, however. This name, the name I thought I had a good reason for never having heard before, belonged to a person at Penn – a colleague in DAR. It struck me then, that even after a year, I had a lot to learn. I still had people to meet and learn about. I spent the rest of the day casually thinking about how I could network more with my colleagues. I thought about going to coffee, maybe grabbing lunch – I started to get excited about who I might meet and what I might learn about them. That was the moment it really hit me. What exactly would I learn about them? How many people that I met with would have a cool hobby or a second life outside of what they do at Penn? Boom. The idea was born. Instead of wondering if these cool hidden gems about their lives would just pop up into my day-to-day conversations with them, I would just start asking. My hope is that through my networking and learning, I’ll be able to give you, our alumni and friends, an inside look at some of the great people who work in DAR.

For my first profile I didn’t have to go too far – his office is right across the hall! Doug Eagar is an IT Support Specialist in DAR. In addition to being the awesome person who sets my computer straight when it decides it wants to get a little sassy with me, or bringing my internet back to life after it decides to say “Bye Josh! See ya! Bye!” Doug also plays in a band. That’s right folks, a rock star who saves the internet. He’s basically a superhero and he’s right here with us at Penn. I hope you enjoy learning more about Doug as much as I did!

Q: When did you first start playing music? Has it always been a hobby of yours?

A: It first became a hobby in the 7th grade and after I graduated high school I officially started playing with other musicians.

 

Q: What instrument do you play?

A: Drums and most things that are percussion related

 

Q: What is your band’s name? Any fun stories about how you came up with it?

A: Pulp Groove – the name is more a label of what we are doing. We play covers but we try to keep it upbeat and always have the crowd dancing. We have had much more interesting names in the past such as Four Stories High, Cow Poetry and Toxic Toast.

 

Q: How did you get involved with the band you are in now? How long have you been playing with them?

A: In 1996 I met a few guys and we had an original band named Mellon’s Mockingbird. We played the Philly scene for a few years before calling it quits. One of the guys in that band is now the guitarist in Pulp Groove so I have been with him for over 15 years. We have a bass player that has been with us for just over two years and we just added a keyboard player as of two days ago.

 

Q: How many gigs do you play a month?

A: We average one or two, but the summer gets a little busier and we sometimes play three to four a month.

 

Q: If you could open for any band, play any stadium, play at any event, what would your dream gig be?

A: I’ve always wanted to play Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. I hear the acoustics are great and it would be so awesome to play in front of thousands of people and be a part of the landscape like that.

 

Q: If people wanted to catch a show, where could they most likely find you?

A: We only have one place that we have been playing regularly for the past 10 years and that is Duke’s in Springfield. It’s a great local tavern with great music and friendly people. We try to stay with that theme though. We cater to local venues where music is enjoyed and people just go out to have a good time. We also play benefits about two or three times a year as well as a few private parties.

 

Q: Other than your own band, who are some of your favorites/who are you inspired by?

A: I’m always inspired by bands that have remained a solid unit over a period of time such as U2. One of the hardest things to find are like minded musicians that you can stay with and eventually call family. There are not a lot of bands you can say that about.  

 

Q: Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

A: My other passions are astronomy and reading and once the warm weather hits I ride my motorcycle. Of course my number one love is my family – my daughter and especially my wife. Without the support of her I could not do what I love. Even though music for me is part time it does take up plenty of time and a lot of Saturday nights. It means so much to me that she understands what a huge part of my life this band is. She truly is an amazing woman.

 

Final Fun Fact: Doug’s wife, Susan, also works at Penn. She is a member of the Programs and Special Events team (along with me and 9 others) and I can confirm that she is pretty great.

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Filed under A Day in the Life - DAR, Campus Life, Josh D., Uncategorized

A Year in Review

Author: Joshua Durando

Every year, right around this time, we are all reflective on the year we’ve had, and look forward to what’s to come. We’ve learned lessons, grown another year wiser, and made resolutions to help make this year better than the last. For me, January not only signified a new calendar year, but also marked an anniversary – 1 year at Penn. That’s right; January 7th was the one year anniversary of the man who wrote his first blog post about the pet fish he keeps on his desk. For all inquiring minds, Pippen is alive and well.

He was feeling a bit shy today.

He was feeling a bit shy today.

The past year has been incredibly busy (having to keep a fish alive and all), but also incredibly rewarding. I’ve learned a lot over the last year and can honestly say Penn has come to feel like a second home. Working in Programs and Special Events (P&SE), I have the unique opportunity to meet alumni from all across the country at a host of different events. Helping to plan events like Making History at Penn Park, Penn Spectrum, or yPenn Highballs allow me the opportunity to see Penn in many different ways. After reflecting on all of the events I have worked on over the last year, I think my favorite would have to be the Time to Shine 11 city tour which took place throughout the fall. The tour, meant to celebrate the end of the campaign and the exciting new frontiers at Penn, was probably the best way to indoctrinate a new employee into Penn’s vibrant culture. How could I not fall in love with this place? In every city you, our alumni, were so excited to hear about what Penn had accomplished and where it was going. Not only that, you were also excited to hear about me. Where did I work? When did I start? How was I liking it? Everyone was so welcoming, assuring me that I was “going to love it”. You weren’t wrong. The enthusiasm for this place is contagious.

Though the tour is over, 2014 does not fall short when it comes to opportunities to engage with Penn. I know all of us in P&SE are excited to plan fabulous events that allow you to come back to campus or celebrate Penn when we come visit you in your city. There are tons of exciting new events on the horizon including Penn 2 U’s, a series of yPenn events, and of course, all of the Alumni Weekend activities. So I guess the question really is: will engaging with Penn make it on your list of resolutions for 2014? Keep your eyes peeled for invites and save the dates coming your way. And of course, always check Frankly Penn for recaps and fun pictures.

We hope to see you in 2014!

 

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Filed under A Day in the Life - DAR, Campus Life, Josh D.

What’s Happening at Penn this Summer?

Author: Joshua Durando

With the craziness of the academic year behind us and only a few weeks left before the frenzy of a new school year starts, I decided to take a walk around campus today to see what’s going on. While my summer has been a tad slow, the campus is still abuzz with activity, with new construction happening all over campus.

ArchIf you’ve visited Sweeten Alumni House recently, the scene above might look familiar to you. The renovations on The ARCH are coming along nicely.

If you continue just down Walnut Street, you’ll encounter another large project: the new Nanotechnology building.

Nanotech

Both spaces are going to be absolutely beautiful and will undoubtedly aid in making campus even more dynamic.

Have you made your plans to see all that’s new and happening at Penn over Homecoming Weekend? It’s never to soon to start planning for Homecoming Weekend featuring arts & culture, happening November 8 through the 10, 2013. You can keep up with the most up-to-date information here. Hope to see you all there!

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Filed under Campus Life, Homecoming Weekend featuring arts and culture, Josh D.

My First Alumni Weekend at Penn

Author: Josh Durando

I just reached my four month benchmark here at Penn and even though I feel like an old vet, there are still a lot of “firsts” I encounter on a day-to-day basis. Just last week I had my first “the copier hates me and I don’t see any paper jam, and it is totally doing this on purpose, and the world is going to end” melt-down since I started working here. Although for that 3 minutes it seemed like nothing else would ever matter again beyond the machine so obviously being wrong about the paper jam (it wasn’t, by the way, there was totally paper stuck in there that I practically had to use a map to find), there have been more significant “firsts” in my time at Penn. The most paramount of these “firsts”, arguably, was experiencing my first Alumni Weekend. As a recent graduate (2008) I’ll be attending my first milestone reunion at my alma mater this fall, making Penn’s Alumni Weekend quite literally my first.

Being an event planner, it is sometimes my job to envision things – see a space, understand the flow of an event, know the logistical process – even though I haven’t seen it, done it, or lived it before. With over 30 events in three days, most of which take place in a single day, I’m sure you can imagine why Alumni Weekend might be a tough thing to envision. Nevertheless, I tried to prepare myself for what was on the horizon, and make sure I had all the details in order for the reunion parties I was planning.

15th

The 15th reunion Mardi Gras-themed party.

While it is sometimes hard to break the temptation to get caught up in the minutia of what you are doing – that centerpiece isn’t quite right, that decoration is crooked – it is important to step away and see the bigger picture. For me, it was important to have faith that the parties I planned would be fun, and go off without a hitch, and to get around campus to see if Alumni Weekend was what I envisioned it would be. It was. In fact, it was better. There is something about the delicate ballet of bringing many moving parts together that make the success of an event, or in this case a series of events, that much more rewarding and special.

I loved seeing the diversity of the events. From the beauty of the 50th reunion at the Barnes, to the fun of playing casino games at the 25th, to the playfulness of a theme party at the 15th or 5th reunions or the excitement of going to a talk by Tori Burch, Alumni Weekend covered all the bases. I think what I loved most, however, was that even if it wasn’t your reunion year, you were welcomed back to campus and still had great events you could take part in like the parade and picnic, or Franklin Fest.

Just a few of the fun giveaways available at the parade.

Just a few of the fun giveaways available at the parade.

From one event to the next, it was smiling faces happy to be back on campus reconnecting with old friends. I loved watching it all happen and being a part of it. With the “first” now behind me, enabling my self-proclaimed ‘vet’ status, I am excited for what is to come. I look forward to more firsts, and exciting new experiences, but even more so, I’m hungry for seconds.

 

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Filed under Alumni Weekend, Campus Life, Josh D.