Category Archives: Uncategorized

Where in the World is the Penn Alumni Travel Program?

Catch up with Penn Alumni Travel and plan your next trip!

Treasures of Peru (June 6-16, 2017) with Professor David Kazanjian

Peru

Click here for trip photos.

Penn alumni and friends joined Penn Professor David Kazanjian on a journey through Peru. The group started in the metropolis of Lima before flying to Cuzco and the Sacred Valley. After a lecture from Professor Kazanjian on the Spanish conquistadors, the group got to explore Incan civilization and the effects of Spanish rule first hand with visits to Ollantaytambo and a traditional Spanish hacienda, before visiting the crown jewel of Inca engineering: Machu Picchu. The group ended the tour in Puno and Lake Titicaca where they learned about the Uros Floating Islands and life at 13,000 feet. For more information about this trip or any Penn Alumni Travel trip, please click here. 

Survey Quotes:

“We trusted Penn to fulfill our dream of visiting Machu Picchu and they delivered a trip that exceeded all our expectations while representing Penn in the best possible way, and honestly, one of the best parts was our fellow travelers who provided the nicest feeling of comradery! We’re already looking at future destinations!” – Susan Carew, Penn Spouse

“[A highlight was] not just Machu Picchu, but the overall wonderment that every day (sometimes twice or three times a day) we would see or experience so many things we had never seen or experienced before.”– Richard Leisner, L’70

Southern France (May 23 – June 4, 2016) with University Curator Lynn Marsden-Atlass

sofranceClick here for trip photos. 

Penn alumni and friends traveled through Southern France with University Curator Lynn Marsden-Atlass, a specialist in 19th– and 20th-century French art. In addition to several formal lectures, Marsden-Atlass treated the group to personal tours through museums filled with art by Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, among others. Alumni and friends toured medieval cities, enjoyed private wine-tastings at vineyards, and saw remnants of the once-great Roman Empire. For more information about this trip or any Penn Alumni Travel trip, please click here. 

Survey Quotes:

“It is a real pleasure to have been able to travel as part of a group that is interested in the arts and history and which got along so well. And it is a special treat to be accompanied by a Penn scholar.”– David Moskowitz, W’71

“This tour was an absolute pleasure… The travel arrangements were excellent: a comfortable bus and congenial driver, outstanding tour guides, lovely hotels with amazing food, and an interesting and diverse itinerary. Perfect for art buffs and lovers of good food and wine.”– Dimi Berkner, CW’64

  

El Camino de Santiago (June 3-15, 2016) with Professor Thomas Max Safley

caminoClick here for trip photos.

Penn alumni and friends hiked the Camino de Santiago with Professor Thomas Max Safley, an expert on early modern European history. The Camino, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a 1,000 year-old pilgrimage route to the spiritual capital of Santiago de Compostela and one of Europe’s most famous walking trails. Along the way, alumni and friends enjoyed lovely scenery, medieval towns, and (of course) fine Spanish cuisine. In Burgos and Leon, the group marveled at majestic gothic cathedrals. In Silos, they experience Gregorian chant performed by the world-famous monks. At the end of the hike, the group experienced the Botafumeiro ritual, a famous incense-burning ritual in the cathedral itself. For more information about this trip or any Penn Alumni Travel trip, please click here.

Survey Quotes:

“A trip through Penn can open a new world of travel. The faculty component really made this experience all encompassing.”– Gretchen Gall

“This trip was a perfect way to experience [the Camino], with many opportunities to walk part of it combined with a historical tour across Northern Spain. The trip was very well organized with attention to every detail, good hotels, fine meals, terrific guides and a wonderful group of travel mates of all ages.”– Jane Barnsteiner, NU’70, GNU’73

The Great Journey (June 25-July 5, 2016) with Professor Rebecca Bushnell

great journey

Click here for trip photos.

Professor Rebecca Bushnell hosted Penn alumni and friends on a “Grand Tour” of Europe. The group enjoyed stunning scenery in Switzerland before cruising the Rhine River and visiting beautiful Alsatian Strasbourg. Along the way, Professor Bushnell introduced the group to past authors who described these scenes for an 18th-century audience. For more information about Penn Alumni Travel visit: www.alumni.upenn.edu/travel.

Across Spain and Portugal (June 14-30, 2016) with Professor Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw

spainClick here for trip photos.

Penn alumni and friends traveled across Spain and Portugal with Art History Professor Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw. After arriving in Lisbon, Portugal, alumni traveled to Oporto and enjoyed a cruise on the Douro River. Crossing into Spain, the group visited the pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela then traveled along northern Spain to points of interest including Leon and Bilbao where they visited the Guggenheim Fine Arts Museum and learned about the collection from Professor Shaw. For more information about Penn Alumni Travel visit: www.alumni.upenn.edu/travel.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Strategic Volunteer Opportunity

Strategic volunteer opportunity for Penn alums in NYC, Philadelphia and Silicon Valley. Apply by 8/19 to join us this Fall.

Over 100 Penn alumni put their professional skills to work this year to make a positive impact on their cities. They joined PennPAC (Pro bono Alumni Consulting) to volunteer as strategic consultants to nonprofits in New York and Philadelphia. In teams of alumni curated by PennPAC, they supported organizations serving a broad range of clients from children seeking a best start to their education to adults seeking legal aid. Projects varied from the development of marketing plans to market entry strategies.  During our most recent round, which concluded in May, six nonprofits were supported via 8-10 week consulting engagements, while two were supported via one-time ImPACt volunteer events.

pennpac

PennPAC project team celebrating their project completion.

This Spring was PennPAC’s 10th project round.  Over the past five years, PennPAC has brought together Penn alumni-volunteers from almost every school at Penn and from a wide range of ages and careers. From newly minted accountants to retired marketing executives, from architects to lawyers, PennPAC draws a varied, intelligent group of enthusiastic, energetic alums seeking to make positive change in their cities. Volunteers work as consultants on 8-10 week projects, attend one-time ImPACt volunteer events, and also support PennPAC via special projects.

Since PennPAC’s founding in 2011, Penn alums have volunteered to provide over $2.5 million in consulting services to over 40 nonprofits, all while having fun, expanding their networks and fine-tuning their professional skills.  As Volunteer JC Ibarra (WH 2012) shared during his project: “It is satisfying to have an outlet to deliver impact for a good cause…PennPAC is my first significant extracurricular commitment post graduating from Penn, and I can’t think of a better way to spend some free time.” Volunteer Elise Udolf (CAS 1982) echoes the sentiment: “I found working with our team extremely rewarding. Not having the same areas of expertise as some of my teammates, I found the experience enlightening and very interesting.”

Penn alumni also serve as the daily PennPAC management, marketing and operations team. Jackie Einstein Astrof (CAS 1993) is the Founder and Executive Director, Anne Turner (WG  1994) is as the Chief Operations Officer, Jeannette Chang (WH 2008) is the Vice Chair of Volunteer Relations and Bleema Bershad (WH 1995) is the Director of Communications.

Join us!  Volunteer with PennPAC:

  • NYC – Learn more and apply by 8/19 to join us for 8-10 week projects beginning October 2016 (time commitments begin at 3-5 hours/week) or subscribe to our email list to hear more about our one-time ImPACt volunteer opportunities and other events
  • Philadelphia – Leadership opportunities available, contact philly@pennpac.org for more information.
  • Silicon Valley – Learn more about joining the founding team here.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Relationships Matter

By Howard “Howdy” Freedlander, Col’67 and PAR’02

I learned first-hand on a lovely Wednesday evening, June 29, 2016, that relationships underscore the essence of giving.

The occasion was a pre-50th reunion gathering at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) to view a guided tour of a new exhibit, Embracing the Contemporary: The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Collection of Contemporary Art.

The guides were Keith, W’67, and Kathy, CW’69. Keith is a friend and co-gift chair of our Class of 1967’s 50th reunion, as he has been for at least five past reunions. As President of the Class of 1967 since 2002, I I have been fortunate to work with Keith and observe his work ethic and fundraising prowess. I’ve gotten to know and like Kathy, an emeritus trustee of the University of Pennsylvania.

Back to relationships and their transformative effect.

Art became an immediate part of Keith and Kathy’s lives. When Keith graduated from Penn, Kathy gave him an antique print of Penn. When he entered Harvard Law School, she bought him another Penn print. When they became engaged, she gave him a Miro print.

Their loving relationship began with art. It continues. Their collection of contemporary art is a prized part of PMA and, even more broadly, the tapestry of Philadelphia’s cultural offerings.

As they learned about what they liked and didn’t like, the Sachses took a serious leap in their search for art in the early 1980s when they approached Paul Rosenthal, a former curator of 20th-century art at PMA and sought his advice. This connection to PMA was a critical one, though the Sachses have long been involved with the museum as trustees, committee chairs, guides and co-curators.

As a group of roughly 30 of us dutifully followed and questioned Keith and Kathy through their special exhibit and other galleries containing their art, we learned that this couple has had long-term relationships and friendships with some of the artists, including Jasper Johns, well-known in the contemporary art world. In fact, Keith relentlessly sought one of Johns’ pieces, finally acquiring it after 15 years of effort.

sachs_2

Keith Sachs describes his efforts to acquire Jasper Johns paintings.

Also during our tour, another thing became readily evident: Keith and Kathy’s loving relationship. Each yielded comfortably to each other in telling a personal story or explaining an artist’s thinking and creativity. You could feel their enthusiasm. You could observe their thoughtful approach to collecting art for four decades.

sachs

Kathy Sachs, foreground, and Keith Sachs (pointing) lead a group of Penn ’67 alums on a tour of a special exhibition of contemporary art collected by Keith and Kathy and promised to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

What we saw at PMA has been part of the Sachs’ home in Rydal, PA. The art and their home have been one of the same. Another personal relationship.

The promised gift of more than 100 paintings, sculptures, prints and videos is one based on multiple relationships: between Keith and Kathy, between the Sachses and the museum, between the Sachses and the artists, and, on a macro level, between this generous couple and a city they love, Philadelphia.

And it all started at Penn.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Medical Anniversary

– Howard “Howdy” Freedlander, Col’67 and PAR’02

howard_freedlanderAs I mark the one-year anniversary of my prostate cancer surgery, I feel thankful, mostly for the peace of mind I’ve enjoyed for 12 months. The cancer is gone, thank God.

I’ve learned, however, that periodic tests drive or disturb mental calm. In the first year after surgery, one undergoes quarterly blood tests to determine your PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level. At the risk of discussing science that I don’t completely understand, PSA levels can determine your propensity for cancer. In my case, with my prostate removed, the test indicates if the cancer has vanished, or possibly recurred.

An academic test seems far less momentous than a three-lettered blood test. The grade you seek is “undetectable.” It’s comparable to an A-plus. So far, my four tests—as required in the 12 months following surgery–have shown no evidence of cancer. In consequent years, the tests are every six months.

While I might seem light-hearted about the PSA tests, I am not. My medical journey in the spring of 2015 began with PSA results that indicated significant concern. These results led to a biopsy, which produced even worse news. I realize that test results can change over time.

I think about a close friend who underwent monthly tests following a brain-tumor operation. I tried to imagine his fear, the foreboding. His fortunes were not as cheerful as mine. His cancer recurred. Consequently, he had to withstand another intrusive brain operation. He died Tuesday, June 7, 2016. I grieve the loss of this friend.

One of the best things that has occurred during the past 12 months has been the opportunity to provide advice to friends dealing with prostate cancer, or its probability. “Advice” is probably a bit inaccurate. I listen. I ask questions. And I relate my experience. Different options exist for the treatment of prostate cancer, considered one of the most curable cancer diseases.

Very recently, a Penn classmate and close friend, called to say that his PSA was elevated. Like me, he had many questions and concerns. We had a candid conversation. His medical situation sounded eerily familiar. He promised to call me back after he and his wife met with a urologist and charted a course of action. We spoke Saturday, June 4. His urologist did not believe that my friend faced a cancer diagnosis.

I’ve taken other calls from friends. Mind you, I am no expert, just a survivor so far. After answering perfectly good questions, I then offer the main lesson I learned during my time of anxiety: the path you choose has everything to do with your personality. Surgery is immediate. Radiation takes longer. Both are successful. I was too impatient to await the results of three months of radiation. I sought peace of mind, quickly.

Fortunately—or maybe unfortunately—a large number of men are out and about in every community in the United States, having experienced the treatment of prostate cancer. As I learned, one simply has to call a member of this non-exclusive men’s club to seek advice and find solace. I had no idea about the extent of this unstructured support group.

During my career, I worked hard to establish expertise. I wanted to be a valuable and valued employee. I had hoped to contribute talent to a project or mission. I never imagined that a medical calamity was a desirable source of expertise. Life keeps intervening in sometimes difficult ways.

I live with some of the after-effects of prostate cancer surgery. I won’t elaborate. My candor has limitations. The inconvenience is bearable. I keep my eye on life and its longevity and potential for happiness.

I monitor my PSA tests. I keep in touch with my surgeon and family physician. And I try to provide support to friends who are facing the prospect of prostate cancer. I want to help, just as people whom I knew only through referrals helped me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Dispatches from Penn Alumni Travel

For more information about Penn Alumni Travel, click here.

25466234892_bf71743f9b_b

The Amazon (February 12-21, 2016) with Professor Michael Weisberg

Images: https://www.flickr.com/photos/upennalumni/albums/72157664876618939

In February, Penn alumni and friends joined Professor Michael Weisberg, a specialist in the philosophy of science, for a river cruise down the Amazon River. Passengers enjoyed daily hikes and lessons about local flora and fauna. Professor Weisberg enhanced their experience with talks about evolution and Darwin.

Survey Quotes:

“Michael’s presentations were interesting, informative, and entertaining. He entertained a wide variety of questions and responded intelligently and gracefully.”- John Cooke

24457786284_466742ef86_k

Tahiti and French Polynesia (February 4-14, 2016) with Professor Michael Gamer

Images: https://www.flickr.com/photos/upennalumni/albums/72157664723367406

In February, Penn Alumni Travel sailed through French Polynesia with English Professor Michael Gamer. While enjoying clear blue water, lush forests, and a beautiful cruising ship, alumni were treated to lectures by Professor Gamer about the voyages of Captain James Cook and the images of French Polynesia in popular British literature.

Survey Quotes:

“Michael Gamer is an excellent representative and ambassador for the University of Pennsylvania. His scholarly and entertaining lectures added significantly to the cruise as they were directly on point with the history of Captain Cook and his discovery of French Polynesia. Michael’s easy and outgoing personality made him a delight to be around.” –Susan Kaufman, SW’85

“Michael brought passion and enthusiasm into his briefings. He held my interest and the material was invaluable.”- Anonymous

“There were many highlights to our trip. The Tour Directors went above and beyond to ensure that all needs were met; the staff who presented lectures were enjoyable and loved what they were doing; the staff on the ship was exceptional and could not do enough to make our stay memorable; and we enjoyed meeting so many great people and our relationships will continue even after this trip. Thanks.”- Anonymous

25257959783_b8c818f5a7_k

Moroccan Discovery (February 26-March 10, 2016) with Professor Roger Allen

Images: https://www.flickr.com/photos/upennalumni/albums/72157665907134972

Last month, Penn Alumni Travel embarked on a voyage across Morocco with Professor Roger Allen of Near Eastern Languages and Literature. Professor Allen, a Moroccan “Commander of National Merit,” delighted guests with surprise guests including the Moroccan Minister of Religious Affairs. Highlights included a stay in Marrakesh and a sunset camel-ride through the Sahara.

Survey Quotes:

“Roger is extremely knowledgeable– about Morocco, Penn, and numerous other areas. He added a whole new dimension to the tour.”- Frank Homburger, W’74

“We had a truly wonderful experience with the Penn Alumni Tour to Morocco. It included a fascinating itinerary, top-notch hotels, great meals, a very small group of travelers, a remarkable faculty host, a very helpful alumni relations representative, and highly knowledgeable tour guide. A great value!”- Frank Homburger, W’74

25351223304_9ca76a88a4_k

Mystical India (February 28-March 15, 2016) with Professor Larry Silver

Images: https://www.flickr.com/photos/upennalumni/sets/72157666281916645/

Penn alumni and friends recently returned from a tour across northern India, visiting such highlights as Old and New Delhi; Agra, home of the Taj Mahal; Jaipur, the “Pink City”; and Varanasi, India’s holiest city. Alumni also visited Ranthambore Tiger Preserve and were treated to several up-close encounters with these majestic cats. Professor Larry Silver gave lectures on Indian art throughout, and passengers were joined by local Penn alumni during their time in Delhi.

Survey Quotes:

“A wealth of knowledge and delightful to be with! I would take any Penn trip where Larry was the faculty host.”- Shelly Ziegelman, GR’86, GFA’86

“Another brilliant trip with Penn Alumni Travel! When we start to plan a trip, we always check with Penn first. Thoughtful itineraries, excellent guides, wonderful travel companions.”- Marti Rosenberg, CW’72

“After my first Penn Alumni trip I will never travel any other way. I appreciate the hours of planning that went into our trip and the incredible educational content.”- Shelly Ziegelman, GR’86, GFA’86

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

PCoB at the Pops

On December 2, 2015 the Penn Club of Boston kicked off the holiday season at the opening night of the Boston Holiday Pops. A New England tradition for over 30 years, the Holiday Pops features the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Keith Lockhart joined by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

Penn alumni of all ages gathered at Symphony Hall, which is widely regarded as one of the top concert halls in the world, prior to the performance. The group was seated in the orchestra section and enjoyed the cabaret table style seating, which allowed for the easy exchange of stories about Penn over refreshments. The festive atmosphere and the holiday decorations enhanced the experience.BostonPopsHoliday2010_thumb2

Opening night began with Christmas classics such as the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah and Christmas Canticles. Justin Hopkins, baritone and narrator, treated the audience to a telling of The Christmas Story accompanied by illustrations from the works of New England native Tomie dePaola.

Other holiday favorites performed included Baby It’s Cold Outside and I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm. Boston Public Radio host and Penn Alum Jim Braude along with co-host Margery Eagan recounted ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, which culminated in a visit from Santa Claus himself. The evening concluded with a spirited sing-a-long in which the entire audience participated. A great time was had by all who attended and a visit to the Holiday Pops in 2016 is already being planned – email info@pennclubofboston if you are interested!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Night with the Chicago Sages

By Carolyn Bioarsky, CW’63

The Penn Club of Chicago Sages became immersed in Indian religious culture and paintings on Thursday evening, December 10 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. We had an SRO (Standing Room Only) group attend an Art 140-style lecture by Penn’s W. Norman Brown Professor of South Asia Studies Michael Meister. Meister, who is in Penn’s Department of History of Art and the Director of Penn’s South Asia Center, provided an introduction to Indian Temple Art to prepare us for a tour of the newest exhibit at the Chicago Institute of Art on Krishna Indian paintings. Penn continues its reputation for its wonderful art historians.

At the conclusion of the lecture we ambled across the street to The Chicago Art Institute where Madhuvanti Ghose, the Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan and Islamic Art, provided a tour of the new exhibit for us. It was a large and fascinating exhibit and Madhu was more than willing to answer questions about the Indian Hindu Sect whose paintings were on exhibit. We all learned a great deal about the young blue god Krishna who played with the gopis, stole buttermilk and raised a mountain in his hand.

Afterward 24 of us went over to the restaurant across the street where we shared impressions of the exhibit and questioned Michael and Madhu further about Krishna and the Nathwarda sect whose paintings we viewed. The food, wine and service was excellent which was to be expected as this is the restaurant owned by Alpana Singh, the former host of Chicago’s “Check Please” television series and a well known Sommelier. It was an informative evening enjoyed by all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized