Category Archives: View from Sweeten

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

It’s Cold Outside!

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @kierareilly

I work in Penn’s Los Angeles office, and I always enjoy returning to campus for some seasonal weather. When I was back on campus the last week in February for campus meetings and the annual Penn Alumni board retreat, I was treated to a real winter blast.

I left this in Los Angeles….

Sunny and warm in California (Manhattan Beach, CA)

Sunny and warm in California (Manhattan Beach, CA)

And arrived for a week of cold weather and some snow!

Snow falling as seen from my temporary office in the Sweeten Alumni House

Snow falling as seen from my temporary office in the Sweeten Alumni House

My Sweeten House colleagues were less than excited to see more snow given the harsh winter this year, but I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I even enjoyed bundling up in all my winter clothes that I never get to wear in Los Angeles, especially on Friday, when the temperatures were in the teens.

Cold temperatures!

Cold temperatures!

Bundled up in a sweater, a down jacket, a hat, a scarf and gloves! Brrr!

Bundled up in a sweater, a down jacket, a hat, a scarf and gloves! Brrr!

College Green looking magical in the snow.

College Green looking magical in the snow.

The next time I’m on campus, for Alumni Weekend, campus will be lush and green and in bloom for spring.


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Filed under Kiera R., Photos, View from Sweeten, West Coast Regional Office

My Top Penn List: Ten to Penn Holiday Edition

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

When I first moved back into West Philadelphia, I wrote my second Ten to Penn entry extoling the sights I enjoy on my trek to work through University City.

Now in honor of the holiday season, I share with you my newest and snowiest Ten to Penn from the snowstorm of December 10.



At the corner of 45th & Baltimore, morning commuters leave Milk & Honey with office for the trek



A house spruced up for the holiday season



A snow covered sign at Green Line Café suggesting folks to “warm up”



Bright gingko foliage is now covered in snow



Holiday lights still on from the evening against the falling snow



The first glimpse of campus – the Hill Pavilion of the Vet School – behind snow crusted trees



Walking along Woodland Walk, spying the snowy Quad



The Class of 56 Trolley making a lovely winter scene



The view of College Green from my West Philadelphia approach



My destination – a warm Sweeten House on a cold wintry day

I hope that this photographic journey reminds you of how you found Penn to be so special! May your Holidays be fantastic and best wishes for a Happy New Year! (Plan to come back for Alumni Weekend 2014, May 16-19 and enjoy the spring in Philadelphia.)

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Filed under Casey R., To Penn in Ten, Top Ten, View from Sweeten

Home Sweet Home

Author: Janell Wiseley

I have worked at Penn, more specifically the E. Craig Sweeten Alumni House for over 10 years, and every day I’m thankful that I do not work in your typical nine to five office building.   Sure, we have desks and a conference room, but we also have a fire place in the living room and comfy couches in the lounge.  It’s also been a part of the Penn campus for a long time…

In 1897 two events took place at the University of Pennsylvania which would culminate 85 years later in this building.

During that year the General Alumni Society filed its papers of incorporation with the County of Philadelphia, and the Delta Tau Delta fraternity established its Delta chapter at the University of Pennsylvania in a row house at 3533 Locust Street.

Woodland Avenue at the intersection of 36th and Locust Street

Woodland Avenue at the intersection of 36th and Locust Street

In 1914, Delta Tau Delta decided to rebuild its premises and acquired the two adjacent houses, 3535 and 3537, the latter having been briefly the home of the Lenape Club. The three structures were thrown together.  The firm of two young architectural alumni was retained for the new commission: Bissell, Sinkler &Tilden (E. Perot Bissell 1893 and John D.E. Sinkler 1898): the cost was $24,000. The house was occupied in May 1915.

The campus neighborhood in which the fraternity house stood was improved by the University’s post-World War II development programs.  The most dramatic change came in the mid 1950’s when the College Hall Green was created with the closing of Woodland Avenue and the construction of a subway system to carry the trolley cars that once crisscrossed the campus.

Further demolition in the area left the Delta Tau Delta House with a clear view of the Green, which was dramatically landscaped in 1979 as part of the Blanche Levy Park project.  In 1972 the office of the Dean of Students moved into the house when the fraternity closed its local chapter.

Nine years later the house was designated to be the new home of the alumni program.  The architectural firm of Dagit, Saylor, (Peter Saylor, AR’63) was commissioned to plan the renovations and refurbishing.

All of the funds for the renovation and refurbishing were contributed by Trustees, alumni, friends, classes and associations of the University.

E. Craig Sweeten Alumni House

E. Craig Sweeten Alumni House

On June 19, 1981, the Trustees approved a resolution naming the new Center in honor of Senior Vice President for Development and University Relations, E.  Craig Sweeten a member of the Class of 1937. On May 14, 1982, at the opening of the Class of 1937 45th reunion program, Mr. Sweeten raised the flag, officially opening the new Alumni Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

The alumni office had been one of the most peripatetic of the University departments.  Originally located in offices in downtown Philadelphia, the General Alumni Society moved to Irvine Auditorium on campus prior to World War II.  In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s there was a series of five moves that ended with the General Alumni Society and the Department of Alumni Relations in Eisenlohr Hall.

The new Sweeten Alumni House brings together under one roof the offices of Penn Alumni, the Regional Alumni Clubs, Multicultural Outreach, Classes and Reunions, the Alumni Interview Program and many other alumni programs.  It also provides facilities for alumni and student meetings and a reception area for returning alumni.

Text and pictures courtesy of University Archives.

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Summer Cooking

Author: Liz Pinnie

Summer is here and with it the bounty of our local farmers market!  Every Wednesday, I like to step out of the office and head over to the corner of 36th and Walnut to see the delicious produce.  Yesterday there were perfectly ripe Pennsylvania strawberries, rhubarb, greens, tiny zucchini and an abundance of mushrooms from a new vendor.  Seeing this fresh local produce gets me excited to clean off the grill, step outside, and get cooking!

Greens from the Farmers Market

Greens from the Farmers Market

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Sweeten Alumni House Staff Holiday

The Sweeten Alumni House staff took time out of their always busy day to celebrate the holidays with each other.  Each person pitched in and brought food for all to share . . . we had meatballs, sausage, buffalo chicken dip, cheese steak dip, many different salads, cookies, cake, and plenty of beverages!

We also had an Ugly Sweater Contest and our very own Jeanine McAdams won for best look!!

Our gift swap was really fun and everyone left with a little gift whether a joke or something nice  — nothing over $5.00 was the rule.  gifts

We have a wonderful group of people who work in Alumni Relations.  We had a wonderful afternoon!!

Happy Holidays to all of you!

holiday staff


Filed under Kristina C., Sweeten Alumni House, The Sweeten Life, View from Sweeten

Beat the Heat, Sweeten Edition

Author: Liz Pinnie

It’s summer in Philly, which means two things: 1. that Rita’s Water Ice consumption is up, and 2. that it is HOT as a just-baked biscuit in here!

In honor of this, I have asked my lovely co-workers to share some tips with myself (and thus all of you) about how they beat the heat during the work week**.

Ms. Marla Brown is full of great ideas (she’s an island fan, so she has lots of experience with 90 + temperatures) which include, but are not limited to, drinking lots of water, wearing natural fibers, focusing on cool thoughts- and using her vacation days, of course.

Janell has her fans set up to the perfect angle for maximum all day breeze blowing.  She also finds that nagging Liz (me) about the second floor temperatures is fun, and makes her feel in some small way, a little cooler.

One co-worker who shall remain nameless finds that the best thing you can do to beat the heat in the office is to wear next to nothing.  What can I say?  Sweeten is a fairly liberal place.

On the other side of the second floor, Kelly says “I would make frequent trips to Kiwi, but since I’ve been healthy for two days, I can’t.   So instead I go home and water my flowers and my feet”.  What a brilliant alternative, Kelly!

Members of the third floor find that a visit to me on the first floor does the trick, as it is a veritable tundra down here (ah, the joys of historic buildings).

And what do I do, you might ask?  I’m a big fan of sticking my head in the freezer for a few minutes.  I also find that if I eat something really hot and spicy for lunch, when I’m done the whole world feels a little cooler.

So there you have it, folks: Sweeten’s top survival tips for staying cool during the work week while stuck in the city heat.  Now go get some Rita’s (you know you want to).

**If any of you have been on the second and third floor of Sweeten, you’ll understand the irony.

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Filed under Liz P., The Sweeten Life, Uncategorized, View from Sweeten

Alumni Relations Staff Retreat

by Lisa Marie Patzer

Nicole Maloy, Trina Middleton, Marge Tinsley, Trey Popp , and Jason Strohl, did a great job organizing the 2012 Penn Alumni Relations Staff Retreat. They were very enthusiastic, donning stereotypical French artist attire, and speaking in various improvised accents.

Three Committee Members

Three Committee Members

The theme of the retreat was Arts & Culture and we spent the day off campus at the Fleisher Art Memorial.  We participated in several creative activities, including group map making, book binding, ceramic tile creation and self-portraits! Here are some of the pieces we made during the day:

Group Map of Philly1

Group Map of Philly 1

Book Binding

Book Binding (featuring cats)

Symbol and Word Exercise

Symbol and Word Exercise

Guided Drawing

Guided Drawing

Guided Drawing 2

Guided Drawing 2

The keynote speaker for the day was Dr. Richard Cooper.  He taught us tricks for improving our memories and organizing our thoughts.  As a test of how well we remember, we were asked to observe everything in the room at the beginning of the day.  Later, this still life was removed from the room and we had to try and remember what objects were present and where they were placed.  At least one person cheated and took a photo with their smart phone.

Still Life for Memory Test

Still Life for Memory Test

My favorite part of the day was seeing my co-workers express their creativity. The retreat was a great way to start the summer off on a positive, collaborative note.

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Filed under Lisa Marie Patzer, The Sweeten Life, Uncategorized, View from Sweeten

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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Filed under Alumni Weekend, Commencement, Liz P., Photos, Reunions, Videos, View from Sweeten

Continuing Education for Alumni: Tiesto…?

Author: Leigh Ann P.

On most days when I arrive at Sweeten Alumni House in the early morning hours, it is serenely quiet and peaceful on campus.  I can spend some time appreciating the fact that I work on this beautiful college campus in the middle of a major urban city.  The merry squirrels dart dangerously close around my feet, having grown accustomed to a life of hand-feeding by kind, unsuspecting humans.  Sometimes all I can hear at that hour are my own footsteps on Locust Walk.  That is, when I wear my super-loud boots. 

But most mornings are not Spring Fling ticket-distribution day.

My colleagues and I have seen signs, banners and sidewalk chalk for a few weeks advertising “Tiesto,” and by our powers combined, we deduced that he/she/they/it was/were for Spring Fling.  I like to think that working at a college keeps me young and hip, but this is a dirty lie.  (Do the kids still say “spaz?”)  I have no clue who or what Tiesto is.  It makes me feel even older knowning that a couple of years ago when Snoop Dogg was the Spring Fling headliner, it was the students who didn’t know who he was.  After all, the incoming students of the Class of 2016 were born after “What’s My Name?” was released. 

So thanks to the sleuthing of one N. Elizabeth Pinnie, we have learned that Tiesto is a Dutch trance DJ, and Penn students are willing to camp out on a weeknight for the chance to see him perform live, even sleep on the steps of Sweeten as my fellow Sweeteners are forced to step on their blankets and bags of Doritos just to make it through the front door.

Unfortunately for the students, they’ll have to wait until April 13th for their Tiesto dreams to become reality. You, on the other hand, can enjoy his jams right now!

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Filed under Campus Life, Leigh Ann P., Locust Walk Talk, Squirrels, The Sweeten Life, Traditions, Uncategorized, View from Sweeten