Category Archives: Reunions

Class of 1993 – One Year Until We Celebrate (52 Weeks To Go)

By Lisa Nass Grabelle, C’93, L’96, and Kiera Reilly, C’93

Last summer, we started counting down the ninety-three weeks until our 25th Penn Reunion, and now, the weekend of May 12 – 15, 2017, we are at the one year mark until we celebrate the twenty-five years since our graduation from Penn.

We celebrated our first Alumni Day on Saturday, May 15, 1993, by marching down Locust Walk as a class to lead the alumni parade of classes. We gathered on College Green to listen to Penn President Sheldon Hackney and sing, “The Red and The Blue.”

Singing, "The Red and The Blue," on College Green, May 15, 1993

Singing, “The Red and The Blue,” on College Green for Alumni Day, May 15, 1993. Photo by Kiera Reilly, C’93.

On Monday, May 17, 1993, we processed from Superblock, down Locust Walk, and into Franklin Field for our Commencement.

The Commencement Procession across the 38th Street Bridge and down Locust Walk, May 17, 1993. Photo by Lisa Nass Grabelle

The Commencement Procession across the 38th Street Bridge and down Locust Walk, May 17, 1993. Photo by Lisa Nass Grabelle, C’93, L’96

Twenty-four years passed…

And we are now in full swing planning our class’ 25th Reunion for May 11-13, 2018! Our planning committee is growing by the day, and we’d love for you to join us.  Email us at or to join our Reunion Committee.

First Lady Hillary Clinton, Interim Penn President Claire Fagin, and Penn President Sheldon Hackney watch the Commencement Procession at Penn, May 17, 1993. Photo by Kiera Reilly, C'93

First Lady Hillary Clinton, Interim Penn President Claire Fagin, and Penn President Sheldon Hackney watch the Commencement Procession at Penn, May 17, 1993. Photo by Kiera Reilly, C’93

Our Reunion will be here before we know it – look for information about our hotel block very soon. In the meantime, be sure to save our the reunion dates on your calendar, and also save Monday, May 14, which is Commencement. The 25th and 50th reunion classes are invited to march in the Commencement procession, and it is very special to walk on Franklin Field again with the alumni classes. We strongly encourage you to participate if you can!

The Class of 1993 enters Franklin Field for Penn Commencement, May 17, 1993. Photo courtesy of Kiera Reilly, C'93

The Class of 1993 enters Franklin Field for Penn Commencement, May 17, 1993. Photo courtesy of Kiera Reilly, C’93

Graduates on Franklin Field for Commencement, May 17, 1993. Photo by Lisa Nass Grabelle

Graduates on Franklin Field for Commencement, May 17, 1993. Photo by Lisa Nass Grabelle, C’93, L’96.

Every classmate is invited to join us for a fun weekend of reunion planning back at Penn Reunion Leadership Conference (PRLC) on September 15- 16. The conference is actually one day on Saturday, September 16th, but we will have Class of 93 only planning on the 15th in the afternoon and then all go out that night. We welcome you to join us for either or both days.

We want to continue our trip down memory lane, and are looking for blog posts, photos, mementos or memories of our time at Penn. Please email us if you have something to share – we want to include as many classmates as possible in our future posts.

We are excited as we look toward this next year, and hope to make our reunion next May one that our entire class will not forget.

Let’s get ready to meet at the button!


Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown

The weekend of May 12 – 13, 2017, marked 52 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 13, 2018)! 

Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

  • Do you have old photos or mementos from our time at Penn? Photos of Spring Fling? Football at Franklin Field? Classes at DRL? We are taking a trip down memory lane and would love for you to share your memories with our class in a future post. Please email us!
  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
 Pinterest #93tothe35th Penn Reunion Class of 1993

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Filed under 25th Reunion, Class of 1993, Kiera R., Reunions

Memories of ’93 Reunions

By Kiera Reilly, C’93

The countdown to our 25th Penn reunion continues, as this weekend, August 5-6, 2016, marks 92 weeks until Alumni Weekend 2018 (save the date on your calendars for Alumni Weekend May 11 – 13, 2018!). #93tothe25th

I pulled out my 1993 folder in my filing cabinet and found old reunion invitations, reunion committee notes and printed class newsletters from the late 90’s. Most of our communication is now electronic, so it is nice to see these old printed pieces.

Here is a Penn Fund appeal letter from our Class Gift Co-Chairs Stephanie Fish and Lincoln Singleton in the Spring of 1997. The letter notes that 15,000 students are applying to Penn that year. Now more than 30,000 students apply for admission to Penn annually!

The other document is minutes from the Class of 1993 5th Reunion Committee meeting from our classmate Jennifer Rizzi who at the time worked in Alumni Relations. Those attending what was I think the first committee meeting on July 30, 1997 included: Michele Boisvert, Katie Faunce, Darren Fogel, Christine Lutton Foster, David Foster, Christine O’Connor and Jennifer Rizzi.


Here are some of our early class newsletters. The one on the right, from the Fall of 1997 is signed by our then-Class President Michael “Scoops” Rosenband. The newsletter on the left is from our current Class President Lisa Nass Grabelle (then Lisa Nass) in the Spring of 1999.



Pictured on the left is our Class Honor Roll for giving for our 5th reunion and on the right our newsletter featuring photos from our 5th reunion in May, 1998.


The printed invitation for our 10th reunion in 2003.


Mailings in advance of our 15th reunion in 2008.


The printed invitation for our 15th reunion featured photos pulled from our class yearbook.


A postcard in advance of our 20th reunion in 2013.


The invitation for our 20th reunion in May, 2013.

Did you save your reunion invitations or class newsletters? We would love to see other 1993 mailings from classmates! Please add a comment below or email us UPenn1993 (at)

If you are a member of the Penn Class of 1993, please join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups. We are also on Twitter, Tumblr, and recently joined Instagram.

And don’t forget to save the date of our 25th reunion on your calendar:

May 11 – 13, 2018!




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Filed under 25th Reunion, Class of 1993, Kiera R., Reunions

My Top Penn List: Alumni Weekend 2014 Tweets

By: Casey Ryan, C’95

First of all I’d like to acknowledge my amazing colleague, Jason Strohl, for running a few stories in lieu of mine because I was going to miss the deadline. Thank you, Strohly, for covering for me.

It’s been a month since Alumni Weekend. I wanted to share with you some of the most enjoyable tweets and pictures (with #PennAW) from the wonderful weekend. (Note: the opinions and views expressed through these Twitter, instagram and other social media accounts are the opinions of those individuals and do not reflect the opinions or views of the University or myself).

10. @yPennAlumni: The truest #PennAW button that ever existed. pennalumni @penn @penn2004 @penn2009

9. @Penn: For their 5th reunion, @Penn2009 had the right idea for their class gift. #PennAW #ArmyofAmys @yPennAlumni

8. @gsh1984: What a great time teaching social media basics with @KarenLGlass #PennAW photo

7. @CarlinAdelson: I saw people and it was terrific! #pennaw #by09

6. @heatherette01: A little blurry, but a gem #freshmanyear #roomielove #penn09 #pennaw

5. @IraHarkavy: Amazing day. Congrats to the Young Quakers, who competed against Harlem Lacrosse players at Penn Park #PennAW

4. @ErinnLCarey: This @penn alum from the class of ’54 still has his tuition bill! Grand total, including fees?? $342.50!! #PennAW

3. @PennMedAlumni: Our med alumni show off their #pennpride in a parade that leads into the newly completed #pennpark #maw2014 #pennaw

2. @thomaswnance: Best Friends Ever!! #PennAW #BenFranklinStatue @ College Green

1. @KieraReilly: Hi Ben! I bet lots of alumni will come by to say hi today. #PennAW

There were two honorable mentions:

@jgoldner: When do I get to throw toast? #PennAW”

@johnbudd: First stop at reunion: Abner’s. #PennAW

I hope to see you come back to campus for Homecoming, October 30-November 1 and Alumni Weekend 2015 May 15-18 and tweet away.


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Filed under Alumni Weekend, Casey R., Reunions, Top Ten

My 25 Year Penn Reunion: Living an “As Is” life in a world that only wants “So Perfect!”

Author:  Lisa Niver Rajna, C’89

Wandering on Madison Ave in Manhattan last week, I noticed paparazzi everywhere. After asking, a woman told us, with tears in her eyes, that JLo was eating lunch. I would have missed her. She did not look “So Perfect” but she is stunning. As I left New York City for Philadelphia for my twenty-five year college reunion, I have been thinking about what have I done and what do I want for the next twenty-five years!

In a life filled with product placement where JLo is lifting her Coca-Cola glass so many times per hour on American Idol, our lives have been given a structure that we might not purchase if it were not so insidious.

In As Is by Rachel Michael Arends, the story is told through several narrators and Arends is able to share deep perspectives about how people with different lifestyles lock themselves into their own cage about money, sexuality, and professions of what they think that want and should own and should do.

Through Arends’ intriguing characters, we are able to wonder and wander. Is it a good choice to be an artist? Is it okay to defer your dream to care for your father? Most of the interactions and characters would have accepted the decisions of their friend or family member if they had only been told. Fear made nearly every character in this book withhold their personal truth.

Hiding themselves made them seem like a cheap imitation of what they could have brought to the table. Choosing to be courageous and wish for what they really wanted and reach out to receive it often only comes after tragedy and hardship but hopefully Rachel Michael Arends’ novel gives you the hope to share your story and live a life painted fully without regrets.

Early in the novel, Gwendolyn says: “On television it can look glamorous, and perhaps some people would love this lifestyle. But I don’t,” I wondered what didn’t she like? And who was she really?

Wandering the parade and picnic at the University of Pennsylvania, I thought what would life be like if we did not pretend. Gwendolyn believes that Armand “actually enjoys being So Perfect all the time,” it gave me pause to think about who do I know who resembles that remark and do they feel like Gwendolyn that “it just seems wrong, incongruous, and unnatural,” and more of a cage than a life.

There were many buttons to wear at Reunion: “I met my wife at Penn,” “<3 Penn,” and “Don’t worry, I don’t remember you either!” Maybe several alums felt like Gwendolyn: “I find it scary and unnerving when strangers approach me as if we’re old friends. I don’t like to worry about what I wear, if my hair and makeup look good enough (according to Armand they never do), what I say, or how I say it. I prefer to stay at home behind our high fences, inside our security system.”

w/ Joyce Lim Twomey

w/ Joyce Lim Twomey


She has been told by Trey, her producer, “I’m lucky to have this job, that anyone in her right mind would want it.” At an Ivy League institution, in marriage or in many other settings, we are sold that line about being lucky. I went to medical school because I was smart in science. Like Gwendolyn I felt, “I don’t want to let anyone down…[but] I’m beginning to fear that I’ll be trapped in this mansion forever.” We sometimes become embroiled in a labyrinth or career and we seem to be stuck. Breaking out of the mold and consciously taking a different path can be a struggle but isn’t the freedom, to be who we really are, worth it?

When we become lost from our selves, we often need someone like Gwendolyn’s sister, Megan, to ask us: “What’s your plan? Are you going back there?” We all want to have someone in our life that we can tell as Gwendolyn does, “You’re like an island of sanity in the craziest day I’ve ever had.” It is possible we have those people already if we would only be honest with them about how we feel and what we need. Most of us keep our wounds and concerns a secret only sharing what we think looks “So Perfect” to the constant measuring up on Instagram and Pinterest.

When one character with a cane walks on a floor above Gwendolyn with a sliding sound, she muses, “It’s strange to think of carrying your damage on the outside where everyone can see it.” What if we shared our fears and foibles on Facebook and not just our fairytales that come true? Carrie, a character who is a fan of Gwendolyn on television but becomes a true friend in the story, shares, “The biggest thing I’ve learned over the course of this year is that life is one big surprise after another, and maybe I should loosen up and try my best to roll with it.” As I walked the parade on Saturday standing in between the two wonderful women who were my college roommates, I realized that I am so lucky in both an “as is” and “so perfect” way to have walked this road surrounded by people who know what I look life in real life and want to be friends anyway! Whether there are tears of joy or sadness, they have always run to my side, whenever I am ready to share this rollercoaster of life.

Arends’ character, Armand, realizes that “As Is,” could be his “motto for acceptance. Not an excuse to settle necessarily, but a reminder that at a certain point, you just need to say, OK, enough is enough! I’m sick of chasing the dream of perfection and that’s not a failure.”

Gwendolyn does believe in fate, as she says, “You have to. I just saw a falling star out the window and I wished for you. When I looked up, there you were!” In some ways like the movies, we want to say, “I wished for you” and for the person to appear. What if you are really wishing for yourself to stand up, take up space and live your dreams? I wish for you that you are inspired to pause and think about your own parade and find a path that leads you to yourself and the fulfillment of your best dreams.

w/Barbara Yorke

w/Barbara Yorke

About the Author: Lisa Niver Rajna (CAS 1989) was honored to walk in graduation on May 19, 2014 with her classmates from twenty-five years ago! Learn more about her journeys at and

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Filed under 25th Reunion, Alumni Perspective, Alumni Programming, Alumni Weekend, Campus Life, Commencement, Lisa Ellen Niver, Memories of Penn, Penn Alumni Travel, Penn Park, Reunions, Traditions

Congratulations to the Class of 2014

Author: Janell Wiseley




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Filed under Academics, Alumni Programming, Alumni Weekend, Alumnni Education, Campus Life, Commencement, Janell W., Leaving Penn, Locust Walk Talk, Memories of Penn, Reunions, Sweeten Alumni House, Traditions, Uncategorized, View from Sweeten

Come back to campus this May 16 – 19, 2014

Author: Kelly O’Connor


Come back to campus this May 16 – 19, 2014 to catch up with friends and celebrate all things Penn!

Registration opens Monday, March 3rd.

Check the Alumni Weekend website for event details and updates.

New for 2014 – The Parade of Classes and Alumni Picnic will be held at Penn Park!


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Filed under 20th Reunion, 5th Reunion, Alumni Benefits, Alumni Perspective, Alumni Programming, Alumni Weekend, Campus Life, Class of 1993, Class of 1995, Commencement, Events, Family Programming, Kelly P., Memories of Penn, Reunions, Uncategorized

Los Angeles Alumni – Already Excited for Alumni Weekend 2014

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

Alumni Weekend 2014 seems so far off. With fall colors decorating campus and cool temperatures descending for Homecoming, it is hard to imagine the campus will be full of full green trees and thousands of alumni in only six months.

This week, spearheaded by the Class of 1989, Los Angeles-area alumni from the classes of 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, and 1999 gathered at the home of Penn Alumni President Julie Beren Platt, C’79, PAR’05, PAR’08, PAR’12 and her husband Marc, also C’79, PAR’05, PAR’08, PAR’12, for a pre-reunion party.


This same reunion cycle partied five years ago in anticipation of their reunion, also at Julie and Marc’s home, so 1989 Reunion Chair Lolita Jackson, ENG’89, decided that everyone should gather again, and they did! The Class of 1989 had the largest showing at the gathering, no surprise since they’ll be celebrating their 25th reunion in May. The other classes enjoyed gathering early in the reunion year, and mingling with other local alumni.

The Class of 1989 had a strong showing!

The Class of 1989 had a strong showing!

Julie welcomed and thanked everyone for attending – and said that she is looking forward to her 35th reunion. Lolita Jackson and Beth Kean then took over a Penn trivia contest – there was a friendly competitive spirit in the audience and a few hecklers – but it was all in good fun.

Julie Platt welcomes everyone while Lolita Jackson, ENG'89, and Beth Kean, ENG'89, look on.

Julie Platt welcomes everyone while Lolita Jackson, ENG’89, and Beth Kean, ENG’89, look on.

Penn trivia contest - hotly contested!

Penn trivia contest – hotly contested!

At 8:00, the Class of 1989 headed out to an after-party (it seems that after graduating, the “after” parties become earlier…) and the rest of the group left for home soon after.

If the enthusiasm and energy of these Los Angeles alumni is any indication, Alumni Weekend 2014 will be a smashing success – and one you won’t want to miss!

Hurrah 1994!

Hurrah 1994!

Looking good 1999!

Looking good 1999!

Connect with your class on Facebook to be informed about other pre-reunion gatherings and Alumni Weekend details:

Class of 1979

Class of 1989

Class of 1994

Class of 1993 (yes, we’re already thinking about our 25th in 2018!)

See all the photos from the event here.

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Filed under Alumni Weekend, Class of 1993, Kiera R., Photos, Reunions, West Coast Regional Office