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.







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Penn Serves LA Helps Rescued Rabbits

Penn Serves LA assisted at a bunny rescue adoption event on March 12, 2016. Here is the report of their day by Denise Winner, W’83

Rabbit 4 the bunny

Did you know there are more than 5,000 bunnies seeking homes in the Los Angeles? And, did you know that rabbits can be house trained and make wonderful pets? Penn Serves spent an afternoon nuzzling, cuddling, playing and socializing with the abandoned bunnies. Alumni nestled in the crates with one to three bunnies, each bunny having its unique personality – bashful, adorable, playful, and super huggable!

The Los Angeles Rabbit Foundation battles the escalating over population of bunnies. Its mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and place abandoned rabbits. Weekly, the Foundation hosts rescue events at Centinela Feed in Los Angeles. The rescue is always looking for volunteers. And, for those of you interested in trying out a bunny, consider fostering a rabbit. For more information, contact

Penn Serves LA has many terrific projects for all ages on the calendar for the coming months.

Upcoming Penn Serves LA events:

About Penn Serves LA

We invite the Penn community in Los Angeles (alumni, parents and kids) to join us at a future event, to help spread the word and to help us plan future activities. Join us, meet new Penn people, demonstrate what service means to your kids and friends, and help fellow Quakers make a little bit of difference in our complex city!

If you have an established nonprofit that you would like us to consider for future events or announcements, please let us know. We are looking for new nonprofits to serve in meaningful ways.

Questions? Want to join our email list? Reach us at Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

The Penn Serves LA Team

Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16 | Denise Winner, W’83 | Christine Belgrad, W’85, PAR’15 | Leanne Huebner, W’90 | Kiera Reilly, C’93 | Aileen Level, C’99, GED’00 | Irene Park, C’05 | Jeff Weston, C’05

Read about our previous events:

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Filed under Alumni Programming, Penn Serves, Penn Serves LA, Volunteering

Dispatches from Penn Alumni Travel

For more information about Penn Alumni Travel, click here.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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Penn and Wharton Alumni Schmooze at the Sundance Film Festival

By Kiera Reilly, C’93
This Saturday, Penntertainment, Wharton Club of Southern California, Penn Club LA and Penn Wharton Club of Utah (with Ivy Entertainment) host the 4th Annual Penn/Wharton Sundance Schmooze in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival.
If you are in town for the film festival or for skiing and snowboarding, or if you live in the area, please join us. Advance registration is required.
image001The 4th Annual Penn/Wharton Sundance Schmooze (with IVY Entertainment)

Meet up with fellow alums in Media, Entertainment, Arts & Technology! Network with old and new friends who are working or playing in Park City. This year we have also opened it up to the IVY Entertainment group!

Organizers: Barbara McCullough, Matt Rosler, Evan Eneman, Art Warsoff

When and Where:
Saturday, January 23, 2016 • 11:00 am – 1:00 PM (MST)

The Spur Bar & Grill
352 Main Street
Park City, UT 84060

Cost: $20 Includes Admission, 1 drink + light appetizers

Spread the word and invite your Penn and Wharton friends!

Re-Cap of the 3rd Annual Penn/Wharton Sundance Mixer (2015)


Penn and Wharton Alumni at the 3rd Annual Sundance Schmooze

Thank you to Matt Rosler, Barbara McCullough, and Caroline Waxler for this review. To see all the pictures from last year’s event, visit this Facebook page.

Alumni made a strong showing at the Sundance Film Festival this year, taking a break from deal-making, movie-going, promoting—and skiing!— to attend the 3rd Annual Penn/Wharton Sundance Mix & Mingle. Over 200 people showed up on Saturday, January 24th, at the fabulous Spur Bar and Grill on Main Street in Park City, Utah, for an afternoon of schmoozing with their fellow Quakers at the event sponsored by Penn Club Utah, Penntertainment, Penn Club LA, PennNYC, and Wharton SoCal.


Since the festival attracts creatives and business types from the worlds of media, entertainment, the arts and technology, the Penn gathering was filled with amazing conversations. From what we hear, there were more than a few connections—and potential deals—that resulted from the event.


Among the alums in attendance were: Allen Fischer, partner at Principato-Young Entertainment; Marc Simon filmmaker and attorney at Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard; Adam Tsekhman, actor (Tsili); Claude Ellis, CEO of vegan meal replacements company Naturade; Sara Braca, senior brand manager of Sabra; Frances Reagan Copinga, managing director of Reagan Outdoor; Steve Corbato, Ph.D., interim Chief Information Office of the University of Utah and the former co-president of the Penn Club Utah; Paul Zane Pilzner, international economist and bestselling author; and Scott Kaplan, head of distribution at Filmbuff.


Slava Rubin,Wharton ‘00, CEO of the film funding site Indiegogo, stopped by after a press conference announcing his company’s groundbreaking partnership with the video-sharing site, Vimeo. Rubin was being trailed by a PBS film crew doing a special on the highlights of Sundance 2015. We couldn’t agree more than the 3rd Annual Penn/Wharton Sundance Mix & Mingle was one of the highlights.


Many of the attendees expressed interest in the joining the ranks of the planning committee —Barbara McCullough, Evan Eneman, Caroline Waxler, Matt Rosler—for next year’s event. If that’s you, to, please contact us at We have big ideas for next year including panels and a larger program. W are looking forward to seeing even more alumni in Park City for the festival next year!


As we will be planning future LA Penntertainment events, please be sure to join our community by registering on our site & social media channels to keep up with the latest news, jobs, alumni advice and contests:

Penntertainment membership | Follow Penntertainment on:
Facebook | Twitter| Linkedin | Instagram | Vine

Penn Club of LA | Wharton Club of Southern California | Ivy Entertainment



For the complete photo gallery of last year’s event, please visit here.

RSVP for the 4th Annul Penn/Wharton Sundance Schmooze here! We hope to see you on Saturday!

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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!

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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.

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PennServes Picks Packs of Peppers at Westside Food Bank

Penn Serves LA visited the Westside Food Bank in Santa Monica on October 24 to lend a hand. Here is the report of their day by Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16.
18,000 pounds of fresh pears, apples and peppers arrived yesterday, to everyone’s surprise, at the Westside Food Bank.  In a few days it would rot… Quakers to the rescue!
Feeling pumped following last night’s under-the-lights football win over Yale, over twenty-five members of the Penn family met at the Westside Food Bank to pitch in for another worthy and enjoyable Penn Serves LA project.  The food bank distributes 4.5 million pounds of food each year to 70 local social service agencies.  Half of this food is donated through collection drives by churches, synagogues, schools, the mail carriers, etc., and in addition, the Westside Food Bank purchases an average of $16,500 worth of nutritious food each week.  We were shown a moving video about the work of the Food Bank, the grateful recipients, and the importance of distributing healthy foods:  more produce and protein, less sugar and fat.
We were shocked to learn that the beautiful food we gleaned and packed today would have been thrown out by farmers were it not for the Food Bank’s efforts to collect healthy produce to assist our food insecure friends in LA.  They pay a small amount to have this food trucked in, and whenever it arrives they need to quickly sort it and box it so that people can “shop” at local agencies for wonderful farm fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Quakers built and filled boxes and worked in the hot sun to get the job done.  As usual, we had all ages and all schools represented.  The time flew by and the last box of peppers found its way into the cooler – we took care of 18,000 pounds of produce and felt good knowing a few thousand people would enjoy healthy snacks this week because of our efforts.

About Penn Serves LA

We invite the Penn community in Los Angeles (alumni, parents and kids) to join us at a future event, to help spread the word and to help us plan future activities. Join us, meet new Penn people, demonstrate what service means to your kids and friends, and help fellow Quakers make a little bit of difference in our complex city!

Upcoming Penn Serves LA events:

If you have an established nonprofit that you would like us to consider for future events or announcements, please let us know. We are looking for new nonprofits to serve in meaningful ways.

Questions? Want to join our email list? Reach us at Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

The Penn Serves LA Team

Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16 | Denise Winner, W’83 | Christine Belgrad, W’85, PAR’15 | Leanne Huebner, W’90 | Kiera Reilly, C’93 | Aileen Level, C’99, GED’00 | Irene Park, C’05 | Jeff Weston, C’05

Penn Serves LA has many terrific projects for all ages on the calendar for the coming months.

Read about our previous events:

See the video about the WestSide Food Bank:


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