Tag Archives: Architecture

The ’93-second Survey Results

By Kiera Reilly, C’93

In January, we asked classmates a few questions about their memories of Penn and our upcoming reunion. As luck would have it, this short quiz only took classmates 93 seconds to complete! The results have been tabulated, and we are excited to share them here.

Have you visited Penn since we graduated in 1993?

  • Yes, 77.53% of respondents had visited campus and within the last five years.
  • Yes, 20.22% had visited campus but more than five years ago.
  • Only 2.25% had not visited campus since we graduated.

Have you attended any of our Class of ’93 Penn Reunions?

  • 21.35% said they had never attended a reunion.
  • 28.09% said they attended at least one reunion.
  • 35.96% had attended more than one reunion but not all reunions.
  • And a dedicated 14.61% have attended all of our Penn reunions.

Are you planning to attend our 25th Reunion on campus May 11 – 14, 2018?

  • 4.49% had no interest (and that makes us sad).
  • 7.87% are interested but unable to attend (which bums us).
  • 19.10% were on the fence? On the fence? How about on the button? Meet us there!
  • 68.54% are planning to attend and can’t wait to see everyone in May!

Haven’t registered yet? You can register here!

If you are planning to attend the reunion, have you reserved a hotel room?

  • 15.66% live locally so do not need a room.
  • 4.82% are staying with friends.
  • 21.69% had yet to reserve a room (remember this survey was done in January).
  • 57.83% had reserved a room already (in January!!).

Who are you most excited to see at our reunion in May?

  • 47.36% were excited to see their roommates
  • 32.89% were excited to see fraternity or sorority sisters
  • 32.89% were most excited to see friends from student groups
  • 15.79% looked forward to seeing friends from their major
  • 13.16% hoped to see performing arts friends.
  • 5.26% were excited to see sports teammates
  • 3.95% were excited to see old flames

What is your favorite building on campus?

This was a free-form response, so we were curious to see what everyone wrote.

Some of the more interesting answers:

“my wife.” ??? um, maybe this refers to the question about who you’re most excited to see?

“Subway” – interesting choice, but going down the stairs to take the trolleys into Center City was a new experience for many of us freshman year.

“Does Smokes count?” Yes, yes it counts, and we think this is one of our favorite spots (though technically not “on campus”).

Smokey Joe's at Penn

Smokey Joe’s

Twenty-two percent of classmates listed the Quad as their favorite building.

Lower Quad at Penn in the snow

The lower Quad in the snow

The most popular building on campus (according to 38.96% the Class of 1993) is the Furness Building . Classmates may recall that it was closed for restoration for a bit while we were students.

Fisher Fine Arts Building Frank Furness Penn


Here are some of the other buildings mentioned by classmates as their favorites.

Receiving five votes

The Palestra! That’s fitting since our Ivy Stone is on the front side of the building

College Hall – probably the most iconic building on Penn’s campus

College Hall at Penn

College Hall

Receiving three mentions each

Irvine Auditorium

Irvine Auditorium at Penn

Exterior of Irvine Auditorium at the corner of Spruce and 34th Streets


Wharton School Steinberg-Dietrich Hall

The Wharton School’s Steinberg-Dietrich Hall

Receiving two mentions

The old Bookstore

We can’t seem to locate a picture of the old Bookstore (that was at Locust Walk and 38th Street). The building was demolished to make way for the Wharton School’s Huntsman Hall building in recent years.

Huntsman Hall Wharton School at Penn

Huntsman Hall occupies the area between Walnut Street and Locust Walk along 38th Street, where the Penn bookstore stood when we were students

Van Pelt

Not our favorite building but two people liked it. We should note that inside has been remodeled and it is worth looking inside when you are back for reunion to see how the space has been transformed. And the Button is in front of Van Pelt, so we’ll all be seeing it in a few weeks.

Van Pelt Library at Penn and the Split Button

Van Pelt Library and the Button

Houston Hall

Houston Hall at Penn

Houston Hall, the nation’s oldest student union building

These buildings received one vote or mention

DuBois College House

DuBois College House at Penn

W. E. DuBois College House – note the large building in the background – those are private off-campus apartments across Walnut Street

Locust Walk (not a building but we’ll accept this)

Locust Walk at Penn

Locust Walk

The chapel / Women’s Center

The current location of the Women’s Center was a fraternity when we were students. We think the women’s center was located in the Palladium building at one point? Does anyone remember?

Penn Women's Center

Penn Women’s Center at 36th and Locust Walk

Towne Building

Towne Building at Penn

Towne Building

Moore School

Moore Building at Penn

Moore Building at the corner of 33rd and Walnut Streets

Tannenbaum Quad

We were confused by this since there’s The Quad, which is a dormitory, and then there’s Tanenbaum Hall which houses the Biddle Law Library for the Law School.

Tanenbaum hall at Penn

Tanenbaum Hall is part of the Law School

University Museum

The Museum’s Middle Eastern galleries re-opened recently and are worth a visit if you have time while on campus. Note in the photo below Penn Tower behind the Museum. Penn Tower is no longer…you’ll have to visit campus to see what’s there now.

University Museum at the University of Pennsylvania

The University Museum

Franklin Field

Franklin Field at Penn

Franklin Field


There are so many old buildings to re-visit during Alumni Weekend, but there are many new additions to campus too. Most of these favorite buildings remain, but it is worth spending time taking a building tour during the weekend or wandering around on your own to see how Penn’s campus has changed since 1993.

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion #93tothe25th

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown

The weekend of April 6 – 7, marked 5 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 2018)! Meet us at the Button!

Register NOW to attend our 25th Reunion!

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

  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
  • Donate to The Penn Fund in honor of our reunion! We want to break the 25th reunion participation giving record and every gift matters!
  • 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 upenn1993@gmail.com!
  • Book your hotel room or AirBnB now! See our class website for details.











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

We Shall Find a Way in 1893 (40 Weeks To Go)

By Kiera Reilly, C’93

We shall find a way, or we shall make one!

A famous phrase seen and referenced often at Penn. You may recognize the phrase, or the phrase in its original Latin, Inveniemus viam aut faciemus. But do you remember where you have seen this written on campus?

It is on the arch of the Class of 1893 gate that straddles the walkway between Houston Hall and Williams Hall. How fitting that a Penn class that graduated 100 years before us (the original Penn ’93), is responsible for enshrining this quote on campus.

The Penn Current featured a story of the gate in April, and I knew we had to share more about this gate with our class in the countdown to our reunion year. The old photo below shows College Hall in the background. Houston Hall is to the right of the gate, and Williams Hall is the building that is now to the left.

Class of 1893 gate university of pennsylvania, photo from University Archives #93tothe25th

The Class of 1893 Gate – Photo Credit University Archives and Records Center. The latin inscription across the arch translates to, “We will find a way or we shall make one.”

From the Current article:

Marking an entrance into campus from Spruce Street, and tucked between Houston and Williams halls, sits the Class of 1893 Memorial Gate. Designed by two members of the class—Elliston P. Bissell and William C. Hays—the gate has a brick and terracotta base with arched ironwork that spells out the class motto in Latin: Inveniemus viam aut faciemus. (This translates to mean “We will find a way or we shall make one.”)


Bissell and Hays were part of the first class in Penn’s School of Architecture, and designed the gate in 1900. Hays, in fact, was already familiar with sketching ideas for campus structures: He won first place in the competition to design a student union for Penn, Houston Hall. (Milton Bennett Medary, Jr. won second place and the two designs were combined, with Medary’s design being the exterior.) In 1904, Hays took a position at the University of California and, over the years, worked as architect and consulting architect on many of that university’s buildings on the Davis, San Francisco, and Berkeley campuses. After the San Francisco fire of 1906, Hays was on the team that supervised the rebuilding of much of the destroyed city.

After graduation, Bissell worked first with the firm Cope and Stewardson, and then opened his own firm, Bissell and Sinkler, where he worked until his retirement in 1936. In his career, Bissell helped to restore buildings in Independence Square, designed residential buildings in Gloucester, N.J., and Chester, Pa., and helped to restore Elfreth’s Alley and estates in Germantown. For years, Bissell was also a member of the Committee for the Preservation of Historic Monuments and a chairman of a state survey of historic buildings.

For more information about this and other historical aspects of Penn, visit the University Archives website.

And as Paul Harvey might say, “now you know the rest of the story!”

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown

The weekend of August 4 – 5, 2017, marked 40 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 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 upenn1993@gmail.com!
  • Join our reunion committee – email Lisa Grabelle at lisagrabelle@yahoo.com.
  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

Important hotel update! Overwhelming response from our great class has sold out the Downtown Marriott Class of 1993 room block for Saturday night. There are alternative hotels. We recommend booking ASAP! Please see our class website for additional details.

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

My Top Penn List: National Register of Historic Places on Campus

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

As a member of the GAN alumni network staff, I contribute periodically to the Did You Know?, the weekly Penn update to our Regional Alumni Club Leadership.  We review Penn news, read local newspapers, scan recent and upcoming news magazine shows and more for the leads for our stories that we start off with our stylized phrase: “Did You Know…”, like in the following:

Did you know… that Philadelphia is the site of one of only 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the US? Independence Hall was bestowed this honor since it was “directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.” Obviously the “works of outstanding universal significance” are the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, all of which have influenced lawmakers, politicians and governmental charters around the world.

Independence Hall

I bring this up because I was recently watching Anderson Cooper 360° and someone made a passing reference to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I figured that I should read up more on World Heritage Sites, having been to a few like the above mentioned Independence Hall, Great Barrier Reef and Delos.  Since I was using Wikipedia for my research, I searched on so many links, and, as was mentioned in a prior entry, I ended up on an interesting reading journey. I eventually landed on the entry on the National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania from my starting point of the Independence Hall Wikipedia article.

Independence Hall is the centerpiece of the Independence National Historical Park, a United States National Historical Park.  This NHP, in turn, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Did you know what else is on this register? The University of Pennsylvania Campus Historic District.  This is a significant part of campus is bounded by portions of Woodland and Hamilton Walks, Convention Boulevard,  32nd, Walnut, 36th, Spruce, and 39th Streets. This area comprised of 28 contributing properties.

The Fisher Fine Arts Library, Interior (number 9)

Here are my favorite ten historic contributing properties:

10.          The Quadrangle (a.k.a. University Dormitories) – 1895-1910. The popular dormitory building just had to be on my list.

9.            The Fisher Fine Arts Library (a.k.a. Furness Library) – 1888-1891, and Duhring Wing, 1914-1915. This library is one of the pure architectural gems on campus designed by Frank Furness.

8.            Irvine Auditorium – 1926-1928.  Though there is a false story about the blueprints being an alumnus’s failed thesis, this building holds a grandiose charm.

Towne Building (number 3)

7.            Veterinary School and Hospital – 1906, 1912. Another quadrangular historic building of note on Penn’s campus that hosts Pennsylvania’s only veterinary school (also mentioned in yesterday‘s post).

6.            Richards Medical Research Laboratories – 1964. Like Furness, the Richard Labs are notable for having a famous designer, Louis Kahn.

5.            University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (a.k.a. University Museum) – 1895-1899; additions, 1912, 1929, 1979, 2002. The original proposal for the museum had planned for the building to be 3 times its size, but it was

250 S. 36th Street, "The Castle" (number 2)

4.            Franklin Field – 1904, 1925. The first double tiered collegiate stadium needs to be on this list.

3.            Towne Building – 1903. The astronomy class that I had in this building always had a feel of being the stereotypical Ivy League setting, so I needed to include the building.

2.            250 S. 36th Street (a.k.a. “The Castle” -Tau chapter of Psi Upsilon Fraternity) – 1897–1899. The lead house on Locust Walk dominates many traditional shots to demonstrate college life.

Irvine Auditorium, Interior (number 8)

1.            College Hall – 1871-1872. The oldest building on the register which house the Office of the President and of the Secretary is the administrative and symbol heart of campus.

An honorable mention goes to the building that houses Alumni Relations, E. Craig Sweeten Alumni House (aka Delta Tau Delta), 1914.

College Hall (number 1)

For a complete list of all 28 buildings, visit Wikipedia’s University of Pennsylvania Campus Historic District entry.


Filed under Alumni Perspective, Casey R., Historical, Philadelphia, Top Ten