Category Archives: Lillian G.

Favorite Dining Options on Campus

Author: Lillian Gardiner, GEd’11


It’s taken me well over 2 years on campus to get a grip on all the yummy food offerings. So why don’t I save you the trouble and offer some of my tried-and-true favorites:

1. Joe’s Café, Steinberg-Dietrich. You may not find this on your own, but it’s a beautiful, well-lit space to have lunch inside. They offer sandwiches, soups, & salads, and a lot of healthy snacks like yogurt, hummus, and protein bars.

2. 1920 Common’s: Just past the bridge coming from Locust Walk. Featuring a recently renovated Starbucks, a gourmet grocery store, and a LOT of hot food options. If you have a sweet tooth, I’d poke around here.


3. Farmer’s market! Wednesdays during the spring and summer in front of the bookstore. It’s hard to miss, but you should make a point of getting some fruit, fresh baked bread, and a Popsicle from the Lil’Pop Shop stand.


4. Finally, food trucks. I’ll just list my favorites and you can look them up. Try Twitter for their locations and FB/websites for details: Delicias, Kim’s Oriental, Tyson Bees, Cucina Zapata, Lil’Dan’s, Pitruco.

Happy dining!


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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Campus Life, Food Fiends, Lillian G.

Penn Student, Again!

Author: Lillian Gardiner, MSEd’11, Program Director, Institute for Law & Economics, University of Pennsylvania Law School

When I finished my Master’s program, I thought I’d never go back to school. But after a very short period of time, I actually found myself missing the classroom and having a teacher.


Now, I’m taking my first class as an alumna (and Penn staff member) and am still amazed that this is one of the benefits included in being a graduate of Penn.

As alumni, we can take courses through Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies. There’s a wide variety of course offerings, with many classes offered in the evenings.

I’m currently enrolled in the Sociology of Bioethics, taught by Collette Joyce. The goal of the course is “to understand the nature of the bioethics profession and its modes of argumentation, and to explore the cultural, social, political, and professional underpinnings of bio-ethical debates.” Class meets for three hours once a week on the evening. The readings have been challenging but manageable with my work commitments. I love  being back in a classroom, learning for the sake of learning and not worrying about my grade.

If you’re local, hopefully you can take advantage of this option at some point. See you in class!

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Our Little Lentil

Author: Lillian Gardiner, GEd’11

Lentil is something of an Internet sensation. Born with a cleft palate and cleft lips, Lentil received help from oral surgeons at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine and John Lewis and Alexander Reiter of Penn Vet’s Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service.

I drove an hour to meet this little guy at the Hope Veterinary Clinic in Malvern where he hosted a kissing booth. It was worth it!


Read more about Lentil in the Penn Current here or you can find him on Facebook to see what the fuss is about.

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Save the Date for Penn Spectrum, Sept. 20-22, 2013

Author: Lillian Gardiner, GEd’11

From September 20-22,  2013, Penn  will host Penn Spectrum, the University’s second weekend-long alumni conference devoted entirely to celebrating diversity. Through this conference, sponsored by the Office of the President and Penn Alumni Relations, Penn seeks to engage diverse undergraduate and graduate alumni from all walks of life, and to provide a new opportunity for them to reconnect with one another and their alma mater in a meaningful way.

Though any interested alumni may attend, Penn Spectrum will focus on programs of interest to Asian, Black, Latino, Native American, and LGBT communities, the populations served by the existing volunteer coalition of the Penn Alumni Diversity Alliance. This has made Penn the first among its peers to bring together alumni of color and LGBT alumni at one conference to affirm not only individual group affinity and identity, but also cross-cultural collaboration and understanding.

Registration for the conference will open next week. You can find that and more on the Penn Spectrum website.

Stay tuned for more details and specifics to follow.




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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Lillian G., Multicultural Outreach, Penn Spectrum

A Hot Day at the Morris Arboretum

Author: Lillian Gardiner, GEd’11

Morris Arboretum, owned by Penn, is 92 acres of lush gardens about 30 minutes north of the University. After 3 years of telling myself I should go see it, I finally made the trek out there on July 4.

I was blown away by the beauty and peacefulness of the place. There were art displays throughout, along with rose gardens, a swan pond, a log cabin, and a toy train exhibit. Check out their website for upcoming classes, lectures and events. Penn Card Holders get in for free, so no excuses!


That’s me! Just chillin’ in the canopy 50ft above ground.

photo 1

Blue eggs in a nest from the Out on a Limb tree adventure.

photo 2

Stone stairway nestled behind a rose garden.

photo 3

Part of the super cool Garden Railroad.

photo 5

Just walked through the grotto below a statue of Mercury. Look at the state of wonder I’m in.

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Bio Pond, Worth the Walk

Author: Lillian Gardiner, GEd’11

If you need a destination for your lunch time walks this summer, or are looking for a quiet place to sit and read, check out what is commonly referred to as the Bio Pond. It’s actually named Kaskey Park on the Penn campus map.

I stumbled upon it on a recent walk. I had heard about it but I never go that far south while on campus. Like many things off the beaten path, this one is well worth visiting.

This turtle, Delilah, lives at the Bio pond with her many friends. She shares the space with Hugo, the gigantic gold fish.

This turtle, Delilah, lives at the Bio pond with her many friends. She shares the space with Hugo, the gigantic gold fish.

See Delilah sunning on her rock. Duffy the duck also lives here with his family.

See Delilah sunning on her rock. Duffy the duck also lives here with his family.

So much more to see–these are just two of the idyllic moments I had on this enjoyable trip.

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Celebrating Diversity at Alumni Weekend

Author: Lillian Galindo Gardiner, GEd ’11

It may not be your reunion year, but there are other fun reasons to come back for Alumni Weekend this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Online registration is now closed, but you can still register on-site this weekend.

The Multicultural Outreach Team in Alumni Relations has worked with alumni leaders to plan some exciting opportunities for reconnecting with friends and celebrating the diversity of our Penn alumni.

Read on for details on events hosted by the Penn Alumni Diversity Alliance!



3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
University of Pennsylvania Asian Alumni Network: Reception
Houston Hall, Ben Franklin Room, 3417 Spruce Street
Meet with UPAAN at our alumni weekend reception to meet fellow alumni, reunite old classmates and connect with past, current, and future members of the Asian & Asian-American community at Penn. Alumni, bring your memories, Students, bring your energy. Refreshments will be served. Following the reception, please join us in a joint panel discussion in collaboration with our fellow Diversity Alliance groups on the topic of faculty diversity and initiatives.

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Association of Native Alumni: “A Tribute to Bob Preucel”
Houston Hall, Bishop White Room, 3417 Spruce Street
“A Tribute to Bob” (Robert W. Preucel), Department Chair, Sally and Alvin V. Shoemaker Professor, Anthropology: Curator-In-Charge, American Section, University Museum; Director, Penn Center for Native American Studies. With best wishes for a continued stellar journey at Brown University, we are remembering our time with Bob at Penn by sharing an archive of videos, stories, pictures, individual and collective memories. We recognize his work to develop the Center for Native American Studies and his ongoing support. Although Bob will not be joining us at Alumni Weekend, please gather with your fellow ANA alumni and Native students to pay tribute to him.

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Association of Latino Alumni: Networking Reception
Houston Hall, Golkin Room, 3417 Spruce Street
Join ALA at our alumni networking reception, the first of two events that will focus on the evolution that is sweeping campus. While you reconnect with fellow alumni and reunite with old classmates, meet current students and Latino faculty. Refreshments will be served. Following the reception, please join us in a joint-panel discussion with our fellow Diversity Alliance groups on the very current and relevant topic of faculty diversity and initiatives.

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
PennGALA Networking Hour
Houston Hall, Brachfeld Room, 3417 Spruce Street
PennGALA and the LGBT Center welcome you to network with fellow alumni during Alumni Weekend. Learn what other alumni are up to and the paths they’ve taken since graduating. You’ll also hear about the LGBT Center and the ways students benefit from its presence on campus today.

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Black Alumni Society Reception
Houston Hall, Platt Rehearsal Room, 3417 Spruce Street
During the Alumni Weekend festivities, we welcome you to enjoy a reception hosted by the Black Alumni Society. This will be a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with friends and reminisce about your time at Penn. We will also acknowledge the 40th Anniversary of the W.E.B Du Bois College House with a few words from House Faculty Master, Rev. William Gipson, who also serves as Associate Vice Provost for Equity and Access at Penn.

4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Penn Faculty Panel: Co-Sponsored by the Penn Alumni Diversity Alliance
Houston Hall, Class of ’49 Auditorium, 3417 Spruce Street
Please join us for a panel discussion featuring Penn Professors Dr. Eric J. Schelter, Dr. Emilio Parrado, Dr. Grace Kao, and Dr. Tukufu Zuberi, who will discuss what achieving diversity means to them. Following the panel, there will be time for audience Q&A.

6 PM – 10 PM
Taste of Penn Spectrum: A Celebration of Diversity
Location: Tent on College Green
Spend an evening surrounded by friends, food, and music celebrating Penn’s cultural diversity. Enjoy the company of the Penn Alumni Diversity Alliance: The Association of Latino Alumni, The Association of Native Alumni, The Black Alumni Society, The James Brister Society, PennGALA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Alumni Association), and The University of Pennsylvania Asian Alumni Network. All alumni are welcome to attend.

Special note: on Sunday, May 12 at 10:30am, join the Greenfield Intercultural Center at 3708 Chestnut Street for an alumni celebration in honor of their new Native American community garden!

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Filed under Alumni Profile, Alumni Weekend, Lillian G., Multicultural Outreach

A Recap of the James Brister Society Awards Evening

Author: Lillian Gardiner, GEd ‘11

Last Friday was the James Brister Society’s 18th Annual Student and Faculty Leadership Awards Reception held at Du Bois College House. The event honors faculty and students who exemplify excellence, leadership, and commitment to diversity at Penn.

Grandparents, parents, siblings, and friends of the awardees came from near and far, some by airplane, to take part in the celebration. A surprise performance by Penn Masala got the night started. The presenters often knew the awardee well which made for many lovely and sometimes tearful speeches. The winners’ acceptance speeches were equally touching, with students acknowledging the important role played by their family, friends, and Penn’s Cultural Centers in their experience at Penn.

This year, the student recipients were Lisa Doi, C’13, Angel Contrera, W’13, Dawson Kaaua, WG’13, Aya Saed, C’13, Michelle Ming-Shih Leong, EE’13, Spencer Stubbs, NU’13 and the faculty recipient was Dr. Salamishah Tillet, an Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies.Named after the first person of color to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1881, the James Brister Society is comprised of alumni leaders who seek to improve the quality of the campus experience for students, faculty and administrators of color.

The faculty member and six student winners were selected from among a slate of candidates by the alumni boards and steering committees of the Penn Alumni Diversity Alliance. Each winner is presented their award by an alumna/us.

As one of the hosts of this event, I was technically working. But it hardly felt like work to be part of such an affirmative and special evening.

Enjoy the photo gallery recap below.

UPANN Student Award Winner, Michell Ming Shih Leong with Jenny Fan and Friends.

UPANN Student Award Winner, Michell Ming Shih Leong with Jenny Fan and Friends.

BAS Student Award Winner, Aya Saed, C'13 with Onyx Finney.

BAS Student Award Winner, Aya Saed, C’13 with Onyx Finney.

ANA Student Award Winner, Dawson Kaaua, WG'13 with Vanessa Iyua.

ANA Student Award Winner, Dawson Kaaua, WG’13 with Vanessa Iyua.
ALA Student Leadership Award Winner, Angel Contera,l W'13 with Patricia Martin and Gil Casellas.

ALA Student Leadership Award Winner (on the right), Angel Contera,, W’13 with Patricia Martin and Gil Casellas.


Watching as Spencer Stubbs, NU13, receives the Penn GALA Award.

Spencer Stubbs (center), NU’13, about to receive the Penn GALA Award.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Events, Lillian G., Multicultural Outreach

What’s Going on at Penn…and Why Do I Never Know About It?!

Author: Lillian Gardiner, GEd’11

Does it ever feel like all this cool stuff is happening on campus and you don’t know about it until after the fact? I hate opening up the DP only to discover that my favorite actor, writer, or well-known politician was on campus the night before. All the while I had been sitting at home playing Words with Friends…

In case you have not yet felt left out, let me tell you about some cool people on campus this year that you may not have known about:

Bill Clinton. Photo credit: Justin Cohen, from the DP.

Bill Clinton. Photo credit: Justin Cohen, from the DP.

John Legend. Photo credit:  Sam Sherman.

John Legend. Photo credit: Sam Sherman from the DP.

Malcolm Gladwell. Photo credit: Kathryn Landsman from the DP.

Malcolm Gladwell. Photo credit: Kathryn Landsman from the DP.

Junot Diaz. Photo credit: Imran Cronk from the DP.

Junot Diaz. Photo credit: Imran Cronk from the DP.

The author of Black Hawk Down

Richard Gay, W’90 Executive Vice President of Strategy and Operations for MTV & VH1

While I was unaware of some of these people being on campus, rest assured not everyone slipped by me. I heard Barry Scheck, Executive Director of the Innocence Project, speak as part of the Year of Proof  series. At the Kelly Writers House,  I listened to George Anastasia, a 38-year veteran writer for the Inquirer and Pulitzer-nominated mob reporter, talk about crime writing. I have tickets to SPEC Connaissance’s  “A Conversation with Jason Sudeikis” on the 19thand plan to hear my friend Jessica Ho, doctoral candidate in demography and sociology, discuss her research on the role that deaths at younger ages play in explaining the low life expectancy rate in the United States through the Lightbulb Café Series.

In my effort to overcome the lack of a single event calendar at Penn, I’ve accumulated a long list of event pages from sources around Penn’s campus. Enjoy!

1. Penn Institute for Urban Research

2. Penn Museum Great Battles (see Emilie Kretschmar’s post for more details)

3. Annenberg

4. Penn Alumni Education

5. The Veritas Forum

6. Institute for Law and Economics

7. Penn Women’s Center

8. Population Studies Center

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Filed under Academics, Alumni Perspective, Lillian G.

5 Things You May Not Know About Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

Author: Lillian Gardiner. GEd’11

You know there are libraries on campus, right? Well, there’s this big one called Van Pelt-Dietrich Library that I think you should check out the next time you visit Penn.  All you need to gain entrance is your Penn ID card. Obviously, the library houses an impressive collection of books, but it also offers so much more.

If you know where the “button” is, or the quad, or the LOVE statue, or even Dunkin Donuts, then you can find Van Pelt-Dietrich. Once you’ve found it, here are my top 5 ways to utilize this amazing, free resource:

5. Movies: With nearly 18,000 movies available on DVD, Van Pelt is bound to have something you want to watch. It may not have every title, but check here first and get your movie for free before Netflixing it or buying it off Amazon. Enjoy classics like The Princess Bride and Casablanca.

4. Periodicals: Not only does Van Pelt receive daily newspapers such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, it also carries regularly published journals from all over the world. Peruse the periodical section for specific subject matters in a number of different languages.

3. Foreign Language Magazines and Tools: You’ve been telling yourself for years that someday you’ll pick up your Spanish again. You’re not alone. Although I have yet to find a copy of People in Espanol, I’ve worked on my vocabulary and grammar skills by reading articles in Spanish and German. Just 10 minutes a day helps spark my memory.

2. Photo Archives: Search the vast database of image archives by artist, geography, or subject. This is particularly useful when there’s a painting you’ve seen but can’t recall the artist, or when you discover a genre that strikes you and you want to see what else has been created in that vein.

Max Schmitt in a Single Scull (The Champion Single Sculls).

Max Schmitt in a Single Scull (The Champion Single Sculls).

1. Very Comfortable Lounge Chairs: I’ve heard that Van Pelt offers the most comfortable chairs in certain pockets of the library, guaranteed to make you fall asleep. Not that I’ve ever done this. But if you feel the need to rest, there are numerous floors on which you may find a lone chair or quiet area to “rest your eyes” (and hopefully not awake with your mouth wide open).



Filed under Alumni Benefits, Alumni Perspective, Library, Lillian G.