Category Archives: Lynn Carroll

Human Guinea Pigs Wanted (and Appreciated)

Author: Lynn Carroll, C’93

Has someone you care about been touched by a disease or illness?  Most of us have someone in our lives who has struggled with a serious condition, and we give money when we can, whether to research leukemia or cancer or heart disease.  Some want to help in a more tangible way, but how?

Consider participating in a research study at Penn.  Some studies need healthy “control” subjects as well as individuals who exhibit certain symptoms.  It’s critical to learn all the facts about a study before volunteering, so please do your homework first.  Who knows?  You could contribute to a groundbreaking discovery, like the recent “killer T-cells” story!

Learn more by following these links:\





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Filed under Academics, Alumni Perspective, Lynn Carroll, Research

Why Do College Friendships Endure?

Author: Lynn Carroll, C’93

I’ve enjoyed getting to know alumni from the classes of the 1930s all the way through to recent graduates.  Mildred CW’44 had lunch with the same group of classmates every month for more than 50 years.  Dick C’59 comes to Penn every year to get out on the ice with his hockey teammates.  The “alumni song” at the end of a Bloomers show brings on more tears than an episode of “Parenthood.”  Much has changed about college—and Penn—in the past century, but one thing is universal:  college friendships that stand the test of time.

Why are these friendships so intense and enduring?  What makes that person we sit next to in Psych 101 so important to our lives, whereas a decade later, coworkers of 5 years or more are mere acquaintances?

Some various theories – feel free to weigh in with your opinions!

–          While at college, we become who we are; those who share the journey with us earn a special place in our hearts

–          From age 18-22 we are open to new ways of looking at the world, and therefore more likely to be “imprinted” by those around us, similar to infant birds

–          As we grow older, we are more guarded and cautious in our relationships, and are unwilling to allow others to see us as vulnerable

Do you still have friends from your days at Penn, and do you expect they’ll remain your friends for your lifetime?  Give them a shout out in the comments, and then forward a link to this blog their way.  They’ll probably do the same for you in 25 years or so.penn-best-friend-button


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Paving the Way

Author: Lynn Carroll, C’93

Each staff person in Alumni Relations has their own group of alumni constituents—Kiera handles Penn Regional Clubs in the west, Nicole works with multicultural and LGBT alumni…you get the idea. My niche is simple: if an alumnus is over 65, I take care of that person.

These alumni attended Penn before the Ivy League existed; they remember Locust Walk when it was still a busy street.  I have heard such wonderful stories… Franklin Reinauer W’38 told me how the fellows would wear white tie and tails to elegant formal dances like the “Ivy Ball.”  Bernie Lemonick W’51 told me that Franklin Field would fill with 80,000 fans to cheer Penn’s nationally-ranked football team. Mildred Kunzig Keil CW’44 shared that her classmate and friend was paralyzed by polio right after graduation, and that she and her Penn friends had lunch and played bridge with her once every month for 50 years afterward.

Their tales of life after graduation are equally fascinating.  Many served in or attended to those wounded in World War II, and some came to Penn after the war on the GI Bill, older and a bit sadder than a typical college student.  Many of the women broke overwhelming gender barriers. Elizabeth Farquhar Flower GR’39 was the first woman to earn tenure in the College of Arts and Sciences.  Gloria Twine Chisum GR’60 became the first African American woman elected as Term Trustee.  Judy Zander Gross CW’41 hand-delivered a report she had researched and written to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who commented, “it is surprisingly good for a woman.”  (It was the 40s—she saw the remark as a compliment!)

Working with them is a privilege I cherish, because I have the opportunity to absorb their wisdom and filch a little of their inner peace.  Many tell me that attending Penn was an opportunity for which they will always be thankful.  They often speak of the approaching end of their lives with a serenity I admire, saying (with a twinkle) that they plan to be buried wearing a red and blue Penn tie, or that they hope someone sings “The Red and Blue” at their memorial service.  At first I would brush off these remarks with the discomfort of youth – “you won’t need that tie for a long time!” – foolishly denying them acknowledgement of their loyalty.

Now, I understand that it’s important to share their reflection on a life well-lived, and the role Penn played in that life.  Now, I understand the obstacles they overcame.  Now, I thank them for paving the way.

If you would enjoy learning more about these inspiring alumni, explore these sites. (audio archive coming soon)

Kappa Kappa Graduates, 1930

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Penn Students United For A Better…(What are we for again?)

Author: Lynn Carroll, C’93

Penn has more student groups than you can shake a stick at.  A quick glance at the Penn Registered Student Groups site  showed 629 groups, listing everything from the Alexander Hamilton Society to Zymurgists of Penn Dental (link:  If you put two Penn students in a room for 2 minutes, they’ll form a group and start fighting over who gets to be president.

Despite the fleeting nature of student activities, some groups have stood the test of time, like Mask and Wig or the Penn Band.

Lookin’ fine in ’89 (1889, that is) and talkin’ jive in ’25!

Alas, most student groups don’t have such long legacies.  In a salute to all the groups whose presidents, mission/vision/values statements, and bylaws have faded from memory, I thought I would highlight a few that we miss oh, so fondly.  They are presented in roughly chronological order; feel free to add your own elegies in the comments.

Zelosophic Society: Looked like a hip, happening group of fellows back in 1904, I bet they were the cat’s pajamas!  I wonder what happened?

Students for a Democratic Society: An anti-war student activist group that made a significant impact nationally by organizing the 1965 March on Washington.

Save Open Space: This group protested the building of hideous Meyerson Hall at 34th and Walnut in the ’60s, now (ironically) home to the School of Design.  Unfortunately for them (and for the architectural beauty of campus), they were unsuccessful.

Albino Squirrel Preservation Society: And I quote…  “We, the members of the University of Pennsylvania chapter of the international Albino Squirrel Preservation Society network, affirm our dedication to the constant pursuit of squirrel equality.”  I couldn’t have put it better myself.

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Maria Popova, C’07, Curator of Interestingness

Author: Lynn Carroll, C’93

Maria Popova, C’07, is an “interestingness hunter-gatherer obsessed with combinatorial creativity.” She blogs at and tweets prolifically @brainpicker (to 200.000+ followers, I might add).  Chosen as one of the 100 Most Creative People In Business for 2012 by Fast Company, she ravenously consumes the printed—and electronic—word, curates a selection of gems from mountains of past and present information, then adds her insights as an editor – completing this process three times each day for her blog.

When not writing for her blog, the Atlantic, or Wired UK, she is a “Futures of Entertainment” fellow at MIT.  One of my favorite posts of Maria’s is Words to Live By:  5 Timeless Commencement Addresses which includes snippets from, or links to, Commencement addresses by J.K. Rowling, Steve Jobs, Robert Krulwich, Meryl Streep, and Jeff Bezos.  Enjoy her blog, and don’t blame me if you’re not even the slightest bit productive at work for the rest of the day.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Profile, Lynn Carroll

A Brief History of ADHD Medications and Penn

Author: Lynn Carroll, C’93

Seventy-five years ago, Penn neurology professor Matthew Molitch started it all with research funded by Smith Kline & French.  His 1930s study, “The Effect of Benzedrine Sulfate on Children Taking the new Stanford Achievement Test,” tested teenage boys in a New Jersey home for delinquents, some of whom were given the stimulant Benzedrine, some who received a placebo.  He found that the boys who scored lowest on the test initially made the largest improvements after taking a higher dose of the drug.

Fast forward to today, and ADHD medications are routinely prescribed to children and youth, many of whom have demonstrated symptoms for years and find the medication immensely helpful. Alumnus Alan Schwarz, C’90, recently wrote a well-researched, thoughtful article for The New York Times about students who use (or abuse) ADHD medications to “focus during tests.”  As a math major who wrote for the DP, Schwarz is ideally suited to asking the right questions, sifting through the data, and expressing results in compelling language.

“Now I have to worry about this, too? Really? This shouldn’t be what they need to do to get where they want to, ” said Dodi Sklar, after listening to her ninth-grade son, Jonathan, describe how some classmates abuse stimulants. Photo by Lisa Wiltse for The New York Times.

Just behind the Quad in the Goddard Building, psychology professor Dr. Martha Farah is asking questions about some of the same issues as director of the Center for Neuroscience & Society.  Neurology professor Dr. Anjan Chatterjee M’85 is also a leader in neuroethics in the area of brain enhancement, or as he calls it, “cosmetic neurology.”  The Gazette featured their work in a 2009 article, “Are Better Brains Better?

Penn researchers continue to ask questions and seek answers.  Dr. Farah and her colleagues are asking questions like Are Prescription Stimulants “Smart Pills”? Dr. Chatterjee continues to grapple with where exactly the line is between neurological treatment and enhancement.  Drs. Anthony Rostain and J. Russell Ramsay head Penn Medicine’s Adult ADHD Treatment and Research Program.  The first National ADHD Youth Leadership Summit will be held July 7 in Houston Hall.  Stay tuned, as the next 75 years should prove to be very enlightening.

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Gone But Not Forgotten

By Lynn C.

For Classes and Reunions staff, each May represents two weeks of sleep deprivation immediately followed by two days of perpetual frenzy.  I’m relieved, exhausted, and pretty much an emotional basket case by Sunday morning.  This year I lent a hand at the Memorial Service for all alumni on Sunday, and my thoughts were full of those alumni (and sadly, students) who are gone, but never forgotten.

Tears streamed down my face as I thought of those who have impacted me. Some left this earth while I was a student: Matt, Jen… Many I knew in my role as a staff person:  Warren, Jack, Maryanna, Franklin…  Some passed away long ago, but I am privileged to hear stories about them from friends and classmates: George Munger, Joe Burk, Rosemary Mazzatenta, Michael San Philip, Michele Huber, Bryan Giles, Kyle Ambrogi, Owen Thomas…  Chaplain Chaz Howard urged us to remember the friendships, the late-night talks, and especially the laughter.  In that moment, I could almost hear it.

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Filed under Alumni Weekend, Lynn Carroll, Memories of Penn

The Quad

Author: Lynn Carroll, C’93

A number of alumni have great memories of living in the Quad.

The rooms are small but cozy, and you really get to know your roommates.  If you’re lucky, a roommates parent comes by, bringing yummy treats.

Perhaps more than any other campus housing, you never feel completely alone in the Quad.  There are always hall mates, neighbors, and friends close by!

Useless trivia:  Did you know that a gargoyle that does not spit water is actually called a “boss,” and that the Quad has more than 160 of them adorning the entire structure?


Filed under Alumni Perspective, Lynn Carroll, Memories of Penn

Photo of the Day

Author: Lynn Carroll, C’93

Spring in the urban jungle…


Filed under Alumni Perspective, Campus Life, Lynn Carroll, Photos

From Wharton to Drexel and Beyond

Author: Lynn Carroll, C’93

Do you recognize this guy?

Hint:  His name is Mario and he lives really close to Penn…

This sculpture can be found at 33rd and Market Streets, and is known by most as “the Drexel Dragon.”  The sculpture was created by alumnus Eric Berg, W’68, GFA’74.  You can see some of his other bronze sculptures nearby, such as an African warthog for the Philadelphia Zoo, a Sea Turtle for Camden’s Adventure Aquarium, and “Philbert” the pig at Reading Terminal Market. You can view his incredibly detailed, lifelike work here.  Eric is living proof that you can still earn a living as an artist, even if you got your first degree from Wharton!

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Campus Life, Lynn Carroll, The Arts, The Arts at Penn