Category Archives: Kelly G.

Take Part in Giving Tuesday

Author: Kelly Graf

#Giving Tuesday is the newest addition to the flurry of daily activity throughout the Thanksgiving weekend. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday lead you to the best deals, Giving Tuesday leads you toward philanthropy during this giving season! The Penn Fund has partnered with this effort to encourage our alumni to embrace a new tradition this fall.

Today – Giving Tuesday – is your opportunity to honor your Penn education by making your annual philanthropic commitment to The Penn Fund.

Your support will directly and immediately impact current and future undergraduate students at Penn. Make your gift today online or by calling 800.237.2655.

Thank you for celebrating #GivingTuesday with us!


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Happy New Year!

Author: Kelly Graf

While most of us celebrate the new year with Auld Lang Syne and champagne in January, The Penn Fund toasts a new beginning every July 1 as a part of our new fiscal year. June 30 completed our year long annual campaign for fiscal year 2012 with record numbers for dollars and truly impressive results from our proud Penn alumni donors. Thank you to those of you who made fiscal year 2012 a success. We look forward to reporting more numbers this month.

A new year brings new opportunities! For those of you who have not made your commitment to The Penn Fund, this year you can commence that tradition with a gift in support of undergraduate education. Visit The Penn Fund website to learn more.

Have a wonderful, healthy and happy fiscal year 2013!

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The Year Isn’t Over Yet…

Author: Kelly Graf

This is what I, and many of my annual fund colleagues, can be heard saying throughout the month of June. With the excitement of Alumni Weekend and Commencement a month behind us, many believe the “year” is done and we are now just waiting for another reunion cycle and another freshman class to start things up again.

Alas, the fiscal year goes straight through to June 30. For Penn Funders like myself, this means we still have 22 days to reach our donor and dollar goals! These goals are not just arbitrary numbers we strive to reach but rather milestones that make a difference for students and alumni. The dollars directly support our undergraduate students – their financial aid, residences, campus, and classrooms. The donors represent the strength of our alumni support and are used to help determine rankings in national publications.

This year, our goal is 27,000 donors to The Penn Fund. Join us today and help us to reach this impressive goal! Your gift before June 30 will help to demonstrate the power of Proud Penn Alumni.

The year isn’t over yet – commemorate your time at Penn today!

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Alumni Weekend 2012: From the Best View

Author: Kelly Graf.

The Penn Fund had a table at the Penn Fair this past Alumni Weekend. It proved to be the best view in the house (er, Green?). We had front row seats to the Alumni Parade and watched as hundreds of alumni strode past so proud to don their red and blue. First, the Old Guard made their way down Locust Walk indicating the start of the parade.

As the parade picked up, the 25th reunion tent opened and beckoned in the Class of 1987.

Proud Penn Alumni gathered to celebrate and commemorate the special day.

The Class of 1972 followed in their footsteps with hair photos and tie dye.

Overall, it was a festive day with reunion and non-reunion classes alike celebrating in festivities and celebrating their alma mater. On Pennsylvania!

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Top 5 Reasons to Love Penn in December

Author: Kelly Graf

There are thousands of reasons to love Penn all year long. But today, with the holiday and winter seasons upon us, I choose to focus on the best aspects of Penn during the festive month of December! Below is a list of five reasons to enjoy Penn this month. Feel free to add more to the comments (or to deride or applaud my choices as well). Happy December!

1. Locust Walk Decorations. Nothing can top the magical feeling of walking down locust walk in the evening and see the lights shine in the trees. It truly feels like you are miles away from a city and in your own Winter Penn Wonderland.

Photo Courtesy of the Wharton School

2. Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum. The Garden Railway Display is returning again this winter as the Holiday Garden Railway Display at Penn’s Morris Arboretum. Visitors of all ages will be wow-ed by a quarter mile of track featuring seven loops and tunnels with fifteen different rail lines and two cable cars, nine bridges (including a trestle bridge you can walk under), and bustling model trains, all set in the lovely winter garden of the Morris Arboretum. The buildings are all decorated for the holidays with lights that twinkle along the tracks and around the surrounding landscape.

3. Winter Break. Who doesn’t love time off? Students trudge through finals in the first two weeks of December, furiously studying for their end-of-semester exams. Then, they are set free for a full-month to vacation, visit home and take a break from studying. Their excitement can be felt across campus! Most faculty and staff also enjoy a week-long break from the campus to regroup and come back stronger than ever in the New Year.

4. Ivy Stone Society December Drive. The Penn Fund launches its 3rd Annual Ivy Stone Society December Drive this month – an initiative focused on reaching at 4,200 Ivy Stone Society members in the month of December. ISS members are undergraduate alumni who have made a gift to The Penn Fund for three or more consecutive years .These loyal donors are the backbone of Penn’s philanthropic support.

5. Amazing Resources Available at Penn. I am always amazed by the different facets of the University that offer valuable information and resources. This holiday season, for example, the Vet School offers up a four-page PDF educated pet-owners on how to keep their animals safe during the holidays.

But don’t take my word for it…Come back to campus this holiday season and see for yourself the wonders of Penn in December.

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Five Years at Penn

Author: Kelly Graf

This past Tuesday marked exactly five years since I began my career at Penn. Five years! Ok, so it’s not exactly a lifetime, but it has encompassed a lot of really amazing experiences. Because I try to keep things all about me, I decided to look through these five years and find one of the most exciting developments at Penn for every year that I have worked here. ***Please note that I do not take credit (at these not all) for these accomplishments, though the timing does seem coincidental.

  • 2007:     The Making History campaign was launched. A little over a year after I started at Penn, the University launched its biggest campaign in history with an ambitious goal of $3.5 billion. I celebrated the launch on College Green with thousands of Penn students, staff and faculty.
  • 2008:     The Perelman Center opens. The $302 million, 500,000-square-foot outpatient facility was truly magnificent to see built as I passed every day on my way home. Today, it serves as home to 12 clinical specialties whose staff will work together in multidisciplinary teams aided by state-of-the-art medical technology.

  • 2009:     Vincent Price named provost. After a bittersweet departure with former Provost Ron Daniels, the University community was thrilled when Vice Provost Price was formerly named as Daniels’ successor in serving as the University’s “chief academic officer.”
  • 2010: >George A. Weiss Pavilion completed.  With more than 8,000 square feet of workout space, the two-story fitness center offered an east campus alternative to the Pottruck Center.

  • 2011: Penn Park opens.  What was a huge parking lot full of postal vehicles is now an inviting, specious landscape full of sporting fields, green space and recreational activities. It is truly breathtaking to see the transformation that Penn has accomplished there.

I can’t wait to see what the next five years brings to Penn, thanks to gifts and support from our loyal friends and alumni.

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The Penn Fund Honor Roll Is Live!

Author: Kelly Graf

Today, The Penn Fund is proud to announce the posting of the fiscal year 2011 Class Honor Rolls.

These listings honor those who have made a commitment to the advancement of the University of Pennsylvania with a gift to The Penn Fund as well as gifts to other areas of the University during fiscal year 2011 (July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011). Following the University’s mission of sustainability, the honor rolls are posted only online in order to save paper and printing resources. We hope you will enjoy finding your name and those of your classmates and friends.

Thank you to all of you who made your annual gift this year in support of Penn and its students! Your generosity at any level is already making a difference on campus and in the lives of Penn students.

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Happy New Year!!

Author: Kelly G.

It may at first seem odd to celebrate what is usually a snowy, cold, and glittery holiday in January, we at The Penn Fund are very excited to celebrate the end of our 2011 fiscal year and the beginning of fiscal year 2012.

Thank you to all of our Penn undergraduates and friends who took the time between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011 to make an annual gift to The Penn Fund in support of Penn students! Our reunion classes had record-breaking years and we are looking forward to announcing our total numbers in the coming weeks, including higher than ever numbers of Benjamin Franklin Society and Ivy Stone Society members.

While we also broke through dollar records this year, it is the participation that the University is most excited about. Knowing that 25,000+ undergraduate alumni come together every year and contribute whatever they can to The Penn Fund – in support of the students who follow in their footsteps – truly demonstrates the amazing commitment of Penn alumni.

Therefore, I wish all of you a very happy new year and I hope you will join The Penn Fund in fiscal year 2012 in support the immediate priorities of undergraduate education at Penn.

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Alumni Voices

Author: Kelly Graf

One of the perks of my job at Penn is that I get to meet and learn about some of our very dedicated and generous proud Penn alumni. Every other month, I interview one of our Ivy Stone Society members for the Society’s newsletter, the Ivy Stone Insider. Every interview reveals fascinating details about the individual including why they came to Penn and why they give
back to the University. Today, I am happy to share one of these profiles with you!

Name: Caroline Finger
School/Class Year: C’07

Where Are You Now?
I currently live in New York City and work for an affordable housing redevelopment non-profit. I’m also working towards a Master’s degree in Real Estate at NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate.

What made you choose Penn when you first enrolled?
Choosing Penn was a simple decision. As a legacy, my positive experiences stretch as far back as I can remember, and I had the Penn wardrobe as a child to reflect that. However, my decision to ultimately choose Penn was far more individualized. As a prospective student-athlete, I knew Penn would provide the perfect balance between top-notch academics and competitive athletics, with an administration, faculty and coaching staff that took both pride in and supported their student-athletes. This coupled with the University’s location within one of the nation’s most celebrated cities made my decision to choose Penn extremely easy.

Your history of giving definitely makes you a Proud Penn Donor. When did you first start giving to The Penn Fund and what prompted you to make The Penn Fund a priority?
My first gift to The Penn Fund was made as part of the Class of 2007’s gift drive. The beauty of Penn is that it is an expansive University with a diversity of experiences to be had by all students. Rather than focus all of my giving towards the particular experiences which positively benefited my time as an undergraduate, I find it important to support The Penn Fund, whose mission is aligned with the overall undergraduate student experience.

What has inspired you to continue giving every year?
Although I’ve graduated, the University continues to afford me many services and opportunities, and my connection to Penn continues to grow. I view my giving to The Penn Fund as not only a thank you for the University’s continued support but also as a personal pledge to current and future Penn students and graduates to help provide them with the benefits that have been made available to me.

What is your favorite memory of Penn?
It is impossible to pin-point a singular favorite memory of Penn. Aside from attending my first basketball game at the Palestra at the age of 4, other memorable moments were my first regular season game freshman year at Franklin Field wearing the Penn uniform as a member of the Penn Women’s Lacrosse team, my summer semester abroad in Florence and living in such close proximity to all of my closest friends. However, of all of those memories, it is hard not to include the graduation ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences where the large screen flashing the name and major of each graduating student froze on mine for approximately 10 minutes.

What advice do you have for current students at Penn?
College has its stressful and challenging moments, but it should not be defined by those moments. If, for whatever reason, you find yourself overwhelmed, pull the lens back and realize that you are at an amazing university, living in a remarkable city and among life-long friends. Your undergraduate years should not be entirely about the books, so try to absorb as much of the full Penn experience as possible to ensure you have the best time. Be mindful that in a few years you will undoubtedly wish you could do it all over again, so make sure to enjoy it while it lasts.

How would you advise Penn students to give back and how would you stress the importance of it?
First and foremost, giving to Penn is not measured by a dollar amount. There are many different ways to give back to the University and each way is just as important as the next. It is evident that Penn’s support systems have been largely provided to its students and graduates through the generosity of its alumni; and as recent graduates it is imperative to continue and build upon that mission.

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Proud Penn Voices

Author:  Kelly Graf

Alumni Weekend 2011 is just a week away and the buzz on campus is both hectic and exciting. Tents are starting to pop up on Hill Field; golf carts are whizzing around delivering supplies; and the meetings, oh the meetings!

With four Alumni Weekends under my belt, I often find myself simply ‘going through the motions’ and not really thinking about what this day means to Penn and its proud Penn alumni. Until Saturday. Every year, as I step onto campus the Saturday morning of Alumni Weekend, I am immediately filled with a sense of pride and anticipation. I man The Penn Fund booth at Penn Fair on College Green and I ask any alumni passing to share their stories with me.

This is Proud Penn Voices – a video project using Flip cameras and curious staff members (including yours truly) to document the memories of our Penn alumni. The results are always either hilarious, touching, meaningful or all of the above. I have heard stories from our Old Guard alumni about lighting trolley tracks on fire (yes, there was once upon a time a trolley that rode right through campus). I have listened to couples reminisce about going on their first date to Smoke’s or a fraternity dance. I have even heard young alumni refer to faculty members who motivated them and inspired them to be greater than they thought possible.

These are the moments when I realize how special Penn truly is. These people share their stories with me out of the kindness of their hearts and their love for Penn (ok, we give them a free t-shirt too). And the stories they tell – whether meant to be funny or sincere – are never less than inspiring and are always full of Penn Pride.

To check out some of The Penn Fund’s Proud Penn Voices videos, visit here.

Want your own free Proud Penn Voices t-shirt? Visit The Penn Fund booth on College Green during Alumni Weekend and share the love!

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