Category Archives: Patrick B.


By: Rachel S. C’16

I never thought I would study abroad. I’m a transfer, so my time at Penn is already shorter than most, but as an International Relations major, I felt obligated to apply for an abroad program. I filled out the application very last minute, and was both excited and anxious when I found out I was accepted– now I had a big decision to make.

The great thing about Penn is that there are so many opportunities and activities going on at any time, but that also makes it easy to feel like you’re missing out on something. I considered the opportunity cost of going abroad– all the meetings and classes and late nights with friends I would miss– the financial costs, the academic planning and maneuvering I’d have to do, and I still had almost no idea if I was going the day before the deadline to respond.

My decision came down to a conversation I had with a fellow transfer. I explained to her my concerns and worries and excitement and fears about going to London, while she patiently nodded and listened. At the end of my long, long rambling, she gave me simple, clear advice: “Why are you worrying? You know what you want, and you should go with that.”

She was right. Penn is great because of all the opportunities it offers, and going abroad is one of them. I forgot that in the pull of Penn’s campus that I’d always wanted to study at one of the world’s oldest universities in a city rich with history and food and culture that I’ve always loved. Next semester in London, I’ll try to remember that advice: you know what you want– why aren’t you going for it?

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Filed under Interview Program, Patrick B., Rachel S., Student Perspective

A Long-Expected Party

Author: Patrick Bredehoft


Diligence is the mother of good luck.

~Benjamin Franklin

Today, the Interview Program staff is preparing for a party.  Or rather, 52 parties.  Between April 3rd and 27th, alumni from around the world will be hosting local events to welcome the newest cohort of admitted students to Penn.  These events are sponsored by generous Penn alumni from dozens of interview committees (from Phoenix to Pakistan), and while each event will undoubtedly have a slightly different flavor, the common celebration of a Penn education is sure to be a constant.

We’re also doing our part to ensure that each admitted student event is stocked with red-and-blue party supplies, by shipping boxes of Penn-themed gear to more than 15 states and 20 countries.  So, if you happen to hear a chorus of “Hurrah, hurrah, Pennsylvania” coming from somewhere in your town during the month of April, don’t be surprised.  In fact, we’d encourage you to join in the celebration, and to help us welcome Penn’s Class of 2018 to the four incredible years that lie ahead!


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Filed under Interview Program, Patrick B., Sweeten Alumni House, Uncategorized, Volunteering

New Growth

Author: Patrick Bredehoft

To have dragons one must have change; that is the first principle of dragon lore.

~Loren Eiseley

Penn’s campus (and West Philly in general) has been awash with change lately.  This weekend, the winter’s endless snowstorms gave way to a flood of sunshine, and alongside the swollen banks of the Schuylkill, the renewed clamor of construction projects was suddenly everywhere.  And it’s not just the ever-growing River Walk—the Cira South building is slowly rising over Chestnut Street, and across Penn Park, Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine is getting a brand new student facility.

Closer to campus, other construction projects abound.  The wholly-renovated ARCH building is gorgeous, and almost as beautiful as the removal of the ARCH construction boardwalks that forced pedestrians onto one another’s heels as they tried to cut through campus at 36th Street for the past several months.  Hill Field has vanished behind the high construction fences that don’t yet offer a peek at the development of Penn’s newest residential house for undergrads.  Plans are in the works on the Perry World House for international initiatives, alongside a host of other projects that promise a long summer of construction cacophony.

As for the dragons, we’ll have to wait and see—fresh snow is predicted for tomorrow…

Here Be Dragons

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Snow Dazes

Author: Patrick Bredehoft


When it snows, you have two choices: shovel, or make angles.  

~Author Unknown (so it might have been Benjamin Franklin)

Yesterday, all of those desperate calls to 898-MELT finally paid off: the university was closed due to unprecedented weather woes, this time from a foot of snow brought forth by winter storm Janus.

Patrick 1-23

Janus, the two-faced Roman god, was believed to preside over transitions: the beginnings and the ends of conflicts, births and deaths, past and future—his domain is any gate or doorway leading to an unforeseen route.  Since January 1st, this Penn traveler has already journeyed along plenty of new roads: I’ve already flown more than 35,000 miles in 2014, across the country and around the world, and most of it was to celebrate and promote the university.  Traveling with the Dean of Admissions and the AVP of Alumni Relations, we celebrated historic levels of interest from prospective students, alongside phenomenal engagement from alumni across Asia.  When one is sitting on a different airplane each day, finding the time to make (or keep) a New Year’s resolution seems almost beside the point.

This Janus-sponsored snow day is therefore a welcome opportunity to pause and reflect on the year that has passed, as well as the one to come.  Penn has much to be proud of, but there is also much more to be done.  How can we offer interviews all of these incredible new applicants to the university?  Is there some way we can get an army of sentient robots to help?  And why don’t meteorologists get a score based on the accuracy of their past weather predictions?

Ben did once comment that, “Some are weather-wise, some are otherwise.”  Here’s wishing for much wisdom and success in the New Year, and the occasional snow day to help us all ponder the open roads ahead.

Patrick 2-23

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Filed under Campus Life, Interview Program, Patrick B., Photos, Uncategorized

Great Outcomes

Author: Patrick Bredehoft

Well done is better than well said.

~Ben Franklin

As we look to the winter months ahead, I’d like to to acknowledge the extraordinary achievements of our alumni interviewers around the world.  In Early Decision this year, Penn admitted the most accomplished cohort of applicants in the school’s history.   Our alumni interviewers helped to make that possible.  In the span of just a few short weeks in November, Penn alumni interviewed more than 5600 Early Decision and QuestBridge applicants, covering all 50 US States and 78 countries on six continents.  The total interview coverage for Early Decision applicants was a tremendous 97%, compared with about 81% the year before.

Of course, there are many interviews still to come.  Penn’s Regular Decision applicant pool will likely include more than 25,000 students from over 140 countries, and our extraordinary alumni will work to reach as many of these students as possible throughout January and February.  We are enormously proud of the way our past Penn students contribute to future classes at the university, and we’re optimistic that this will continue to be a record-breaking year!


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Filed under Alumni Programming, Interview Program, Patrick B., Uncategorized, Volunteering

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Author: Patrick Bredehoft

Visits should be short, like a winter’s day.

~Ben Franklin

Without more than a whisper of warning, winter has come on quickly in Philadelphia.  The leaves put on an electric firework show for more weeks than we probably deserved this fall, soaking campus in hues of red, orange, and yellow from Homecoming through… well, yesterday, really.

Just like that, the leaves are down.  As students pack their bags for Thanksgiving break and pack their brains for midterms when then return, the trees are suddenly bare, leaving the ground momentarily reminiscent of a grand autumn.  And as the skies thicken into gray clouds and each new raindrop flirts with the possibility of flaking into snow, a chill hangs everywhere.  Even the squirrels seem restless.  The grass is bathed in gold for now, but for how long?

Of course, for those of us on campus, these are merely the harbingers of another season coming on in Philadelphia.  As we watch the students bustle out our windows and squint our eyes to imagine the first snowflakes sticking to College Green, it’s somehow reassuring to know that along with shorter days, winter is on the way.


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Filed under Campus Life, Patrick B.

Dylan-ology 101

Author: Patrick Bredehoft

I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.

~Bob Dylan

Before I came to Penn, I was an English teacher.  And while I loved working for Admissions (and now for Alumni Relations), there are days when I really miss teaching.

Luckily, Penn has provided a great solution.  Each year, I’m involved with two events at the Kelly Writers House that allow me not only the opportunity to re-connect with teaching, but also to explore a topic that I find endlessly interesting: the lyrics of Bob Dylan.

One of those events happened yesterday, when Al Filreis, Penn’s Director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (and one of the founders of the Writers House) invited me to co-host a lunch where were discussed Blonde on Blonde with a group of fellow Dylan fan(atic)s.  This lunch is an annual event, and each year we consider another Dylan album during that discussion.  The guests range from current students to current grandparents, from complete novices to Dylan idolaters, and highlights a score of professions and passions—but everyone gets to participate in the conversation.

The other way the Kelly Writers House supports my educational enthusiasms is by allowing me to lead an online book group each year.  This April, I’ll be facilitating a 10-day discussion on Dylan’s album Blood on the Tracks, which is certainly one of my favorites.

It’s an incredible feature of Penn that such opportunities are available not only to our students, but to the many staff members who work for the institution in one capacity or another.  Whether they attend a speaker series, take classes with world-class professors, work toward a new degree, or simply spend a few hours getting Tangled Up in Blue, one special aspect of Penn is that there’s always more to learn here.


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Filed under Alumnni Education, Patrick B., Uncategorized