Category Archives: Videos

First Timer

by Liz Pinnie

This past Alumni Weekend was a time of firsts for me.  It was the first time I actually listened to the words of “The Red and The Blue”, the first time I saw the Alumni Parade, the first time I spoke to Ben Franklin, the first time I experienced the joy of the food selection in the reunion tents and the agony of my feet at the end of a 14 hour day.

Great Display of Penn Spirit at Alumni Weekend 2012

Great Display of Penn Spirit at Alumni Weekend 2012

I heard Kweder for the first (and second, and third, and fourth time), experienced a yPenn Highball (total blast), and ate multiple Insomnia Cookies after hours (thank you, Class of ’97 for your excellent party food choices).  However, my favorite first was being able to walk in the 2012 Commencement.
(Click here to see the University Flickr Photo Album)

When I signed up to “work” Commencement, I expected to chit chat with alums, help them put their caps on, and then sit patiently through too much pomp and circumstance.  I had it all wrong.  Yes- I did chit chat with alums, and yes, I did help them into their cap and gowns.  However, after doing this I looked around the room I was in and realized that I was surrounded by General Petraeus, Andrea Mitchell, Anna Deavere Smith, President Amy Gutmann, and the brilliant faculty of Penn.  As if hob-nobbing with that crowd wasn’t enough, after a brief breakfast, I trailed alumni downstairs in order to walk in Commencement.  “Walk in Commencement” doesn’t really do this justice:  I didn’t just walk.  I processed.  In full on cap and gown. Into Franklin Field.  In front of a thousands of parents in the stands, and a ton of students coating the field.  Carrying a very official looking flag.

As I entered the stadium, the roar of the crowd crashed into me; parents waved from the stands, students tried to high five me, and for a second as I walked up the central aisle, I’m pretty sure my face (expression was probably a cross between surprise and rapture) made it up onto the mega TV. screens that flanked the stage.

I felt way more important than I am, and like a total rock star.

As if this wasn’t enough, I was then ushered into fantastic front row seats to experience the beautiful 2012 Commencement ceremony, which included an inspiring talk by Geoffrey Canada.

The crazy thing is that if you are a Penn Alumni, you too can have this experience.  It’s like a two hour full body and mind revitalization; cheering fans, official regalia that makes you look very smart, great seats, rousing speakers- working and participating in Commencement is the bee’s knees.  So next year, if you’re looking to be inspired, or have always wanted to be on a megatron, let us know.  We’ll slap a cap on your head, a flag in your hands, and send you off into the cheering crowds for a day you won’t soon forget.


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Coming to Alumni Weekend? What an EGG-cellent idea!

Author: Lisa Vaccarelli, C’02, GED’10

With Easter weeks behind us, one might think the next opportunity for egg dying and decorating is months away.  Not so here in Alumni Relation.  Alumni Weekend is just one week away and we’re going all out to convince our alumni, family and friends that there is no better place to be next weekend.  Here’s a behind the scenes peek at the 48 hour countdown video we’ll be sending out next Wednesday.

More about all the fun and learning to be had on campus over Alumni Weekend here. Hope to see you there!

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My Top Penn List: Life Lessons from Dr. Gutmann’s Favorite Movies

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

In anticipation of next week’s commencement after Alumni Weekend, I’m  highlighting “The Top Ten Things You Can Learn from the Favorite Movies of Penn’s President,” from Dr. Gutmann’s address last year, complete with trailers! Happy viewing!

10: The Wizard of Oz teaches us that on life’s journey brains, heart, and courage come in handy.

9: From Casablanca, even if Humphrey Bogart never quite said it, dedicating oneself to a higher purpose and deep loyalties are values to treasure always.

8: As time goes by, The Social Network reminds us that virtual relationships are no substitute for real ones…And remember that nerds can get girls, but not if they’re also…<bleeps>.

7: True Grit teaches us that perseverance pays off.

6: Avatar teaches us to respect nature—and each other.

5: Titanic tells us that no ship—strategy or scheme—is unsinkable.

4: E.T. should remind graduates to “phone home.”

3: Silence of the Lambs gave a whole new meaning to having an old friend for dinner.

2: Julie and Julia reminds us that everything really is better with butter.

1: The King’s Speech teaches us to judge individuals not by their rank, but by their merit as well as it is not always the case that what you say is more important than how you say it.

The complete transcript of Dr. Gutmann’s address can be found here.

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International Pay it Forward Day

Author: C. Hennessy, The Penn Fund

Hey, Penn community, did you know that today, April 26, is International Pay it Forward Day? In celebration of this philanthropic holiday, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 20,000 alumni donors who have already given back to The Penn Fund this fiscal year. Your gifts help to fund the core priorities of a Penn undergraduate experience and make this campus one of the most vibrant and beloved in the Ivy League. Thank You!

Did you know that even the current senior class, the great Class of 2012, is paying it forward? With over 1,600 seniors giving back to date, the Class of 2012 is well positioned to be the first class in history to hit 1740 senior class donors. So today, on International Pay it Forward Day; join with us in supporting Penn. Your gift will directly fuel the fires of creativity, imagination, and innovation that make our students the best and brightest in the land.

Watch this quick video to learn more about what motivates the Class of 2012 to give back.

Make today – International Pay it Forward Day – the day you help to make a difference in the lives of undergraduates all across our Red and Blue campus.

On Pennsylvania!

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Teach Me How To Dougie

Author: Liz Pinnie

Yesterday I scurried through my Sweeten closing tasks (close windows, turn lights off, give self a pat on the back) in an effort to leave a few minutes early.  Why the hustle?  Because I wanted tickets to see First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden who are speaking at Penn today!  Now, there are a lot of fantastic things happening on Penn’s campus, and I recently haven’t been making the time to attend them because 1. I just moved into a new place and 2. I just moved into a new place.  However, for Michelle (am I allowed to call her that?  I feel like she’d be cool with a first name basis thing?), I am throwing caution (and laundry) to the wind and heading out to see her speak.  The reasons are two-fold.


To me, Michelle Obama is a fantastic role model for the modern woman.  She is an intelligent, strong, and graceful woman, and I am delighted that she is representing our nation as First Lady.  Additionally, that lady can move!  Please see below video:


I am thrilled about the initiative that Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are at Penn to present.  Both women have made a commitment to support our troops and their families through “Joining Forces”.  Joining Forces works to provide much needed support to the men, women, and families who make sacrifices every day in service to our country.  Today Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden come to Penn to speak about one of the initiatives of Joining Forces, which is a focus on education and treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.  According to White House data, PTSD and TBI affect approximately one in six of our veterans.  Though they are life altering disorders, they often go undiagnosed or untreated.  Today in a presentation in conjunction with Penn Nursing, First Lady Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will “announce a major initiative by more than 150 of America’s leading nursing organizations and more than 450 nursing schools in 50 states and territories to ensure our nation’s nurses are prepared to help meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans, and their families”.

I cannot wait to hear about this initiative, and to see a truly inspiring woman speak.

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View Video Related to MyHeartmapChallenge Below…

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Want to Win $10,000 and Save Lives by Using Your Cell Phone?

Author: Kelly Porter O’Connor

Thanks to the MyHeartMap Challenge team, an interdisciplinary group of Penn researchers, behind this six week long crowd-sourcing contest — now you can!

Led by Raina Merchant, assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and senior fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Eric Stone, C’99, WG’07,  The My HeartMap Challenge team has developed a free app you can install on your mobile phone.

Participants will take photos and geotag these life-saving Automated External Defibrillator (AED) devices to collect data for an updated app linking locations of all public AEDs in the city with a person’s GPS coordinates to help them locate the nearest AED during an emergency.

The contest is just a first step in what the Penn team hopes will grow to become a nationwide, crowd-sourced AED registry project that will put the lifesaving devices in the hands of anyone, anywhere, anytime.  The project is modeled after the DARPA Network Challenge, a crowd-sourcing experiment in which social media users raced to be the first to submit the locations of 10 moored, 8-foot, red, weather balloons at 10 fixed locations throughout the United States.

The stakes for the MyHeartMap Challenge are high: the person or team who finds the most AEDs during the contest will win $10,000, and their efforts could save lives in the critical minutes following cardiac arrest.  Many of you have probably read about recent incidents in Philadelphia where the use of an AED device has saved someone’s life.

AEDs are located all around us in plain sight –  at work, the grocery store, your Septa stop…All you have to do to participate is register online, download the app and start tagging. The contest and app launch at the end of January. With the launch close at hand, I encourage you to form a team to help kick-start this Penn based challenge, save lives and possibly win a huge chunk of change!

Check out the project’s website or friend them on Facebook to receive contest clues and learn more about the challenge and or find out more information about the value of these life-saving devices — used to restore cardiac arrest victims’ hearts to their normal rhythm.

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Penn Student Video

Author: Colin Hennessy

The significance of giving is not lost on Penn students. Every day, they pass the growing buildings, the new technology and stunning campus that are all made possible by the generosity of alumni giving. Most importantly, a large majority of Penn undergraduate students are on campus because of the student financial aid provided by gifts to The Penn Fund and undergraduate scholarship funds.

As a student worker for The Penn Fund, En Hao, C’13, knows a lot about the impact of annual alumni giving. That knowledge led him to create a Thank You video for all fiscal year 2012 donors to The Penn Fund. Sent earlier this month, En’s video is a delightful look at the appreciation that Penn students feel towards those who came before them and continue to give back.

Learn more about En.
Make your calendar year end gift to The Penn Fund.

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Homecoming Weekend Recap (in Video!)

Author: Raymond R.

What a great Homecoming Weekend! I walked around campus with my iPhone and the video below captures what happened. Call it a “handheld homecoming” — a quick, pocket-sized excursion through the weekend that alums might like to share.

So much was happening, right from the start! The black-tie glamour of Friday evening’s Alumni Award of Merit Gala…The peaceful, early morning solemnity of the Lenape Land dedication ceremony at Penn Park…

Throughout the weekend, I was struck again and again by how warm and connected our alumni are, and how enthused they feel about tapping into the “real life” at Penn — all  of the great things that are available on campus every day: our history, traditions, and diversity, our brilliant faculty and professionals, daily illuminating lectures, expressive arts, and a beautiful urban campus of architectural masterpieces as well as Penn Park. In addition, we share a genuine sense of community and service, always remain energized and forward-looking, and, of course, we get to interact with students, students, students!

No wonder we call this place (one that unites us like family) “home”…

If you returned to campus last weekend, you might already feel a bit nostalgic… If you weren’t here, perhaps this short peek at what turned out to be our best attended Homecoming Weekend ever will inspire you to come back to Penn next fall — or maybe even next week!

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My Top Penn List: The Class of 95’s Top Singles

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

I jetted up to Boston for an alumni event with Eric Furda this Monday. While that event will be a future Locust Walk Talk entry, some of the particulars of the day inspired me to pursue a nostalgic topic for my Top Penn list today.

I had scheduled 6:05am flight to Boston. I rushed to the gate and learned there was a major delay with the flight. While I was waiting in line at the counter to learn about the delay’s impact on my travel I saw a fellow classmate and reunion planning committee member, Christine, heading down to her gate for an early morning flight too. We said “Hi” and waved, like two ship passing the night.

While finally en route, I cursorily scanned the invite list, so I didn’t notice that surprised that laid in store for me. Finally in town and at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, I set up the event and I remained oblivious to my future good fortune. As I was checking in attendees, someone called my name and I knew that she wasn’t reading my name tag. It was one of my Class’s Vice Presidents, Ari. We caught up a little as I checked her in and directed her into the reception.

Before the Dean arrived, I looked up and saw yet another classmate. I shared with Clé, who was on the reunion planning committee also, that I saw Christine in the morning. We also had a nice moment to chat before the program started and I was generally energized by seeing three of my classmates unexpectedly that day.

At the end of the program, I was able to chat a little longer with my classmates and we all were pleased about our very mini-reunion. Musing on our last quinquennial reunion, we all had remembered how good the song list was. I know from my days in Classes and Reunions how diligently our student volunteers, College House Alumni Ambassadors (CHAA) , worked to come of with a good list of songs for our DJ to use to plan the reunion’s music. I remember in one meeting that we, the committee, suggested that the CHAA students look up the top singles from our last year at Penn. That would be a great source of songs that would be evocative of our senior year. They did it and it brought us back to 1995.

Reminiscent from seeing my classmates, I looked up the 10 Billboard Hot 100 songs for our last year at Penn. This list ranks the best-performing singles in the United States on a weekly basis. Ending with the best performing single of our senior week, I give you the last Ten Hot 100 number-one singles for the Class of 1995.

10. “Bump n’ Grind,” R. Kelly

9. “The Sign,” by Ace of Base first hit the best single list on March 12, 1994, and ran for four weeks until R. Kelly dethroned it.  After a month of “Bump n’ Grind,” “The Sign” came back an bumped R. Kelly from the number-one position and earned the top spot in time for the Class of 1994’s senior week.

8. “I Swear,” All-4-One held on for eleven weeks as number one during the summer before our senior year.

7. “Stay (I Missed You),” Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories

6. “I’ll Make Love to You,” Boyz II Men ruled the airwaves for 14 weeks, defining our fall semester.

5. “On Bended Knee,” Boyz II Men

4. “Here Comes the Hotstepper” Ini Kamoze

4a. “On Bended Knee,” Boyz II Men took a break for two weeks for “Here Comes the Hotstepper” and resurged back on the list. Our senior year was the year of Boyz II Men; their two singles were on the list for a total of 17 weeks!

3. “Creep,” TLC

2. “Take a Bow” Madonna, and, if you know me, you know that I’m very happy to include her!

As the class of 1995 donned its graduation robes and lined up in Superblock (now known as Hamilton Village), the Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles of the day was:

1. “This Is How We Do It” Montell Jordan, which is a great song for the Class of 1995, and this is the song that heralded us onto College Green as we marched in the parade for our 15th reunion.

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