Annenberg School for Communication

Endowed by Walter Annenberg, W’31, HON’66, and Leonore Annenberg, HON’85 (not pictured)
Endowed by Walter Annenberg, W’31, HON’66, and Leonore Annenberg, HON’85 (not pictured)

The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, home to one of the country’s preeminent graduate programs, is devoted to furthering our understanding of the role of communication in public life through research, education, and service. The School retains its prominence thanks to the far-reaching support of the Annenberg Foundation.

One of the most selective doctoral programs in the country, the Annenberg School allows students to design a course of study tailored to their intellectual interests and professional goals. Undergraduate communication majors at Penn also attend classes at the Annenberg School to study media institutions, communication and contemporary culture, and communication influences within a wide range of social, political, and economic contexts.

“The right to free communication carries with it the responsibility to respect the dignity of others—and this must be recognized as irreversible. Educating students to effectively communicate this message and to be of service to all people is the enduring mission of this School.”

- The Honorable Walter H. Annenberg

With strengths in health communication, political communication, culture and communication, media institutions, digital media, and global communication, the School’s faculty and students are at the vanguard of some of the most pressing issues in our society. Topics of current research are widely varied and include digital privacy, the neuroscience behind why we share information online, the marketing of e-cigarettes, the impact of media on children, the communication strategies of the Islamic State, the causes of political polarization, the use of social media to spread activist messages, and much more.

Annenberg’s doctoral students hail from more than a dozen countries, forming an intellectual community inspired by Walter and Leonore Annenberg, who believed that communication education is vital to improving the human condition and ensuring a free society.

Learn more about the Annenberg School for Communication

School of Arts & Sciences

Sharie A. Brown, C’79, G’79
Sharie A. Brown, C’79, G’79

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics

Sharie Brown, C’79, G’79, describes her Penn years as “very active,” and her time as an alumna is no different. After graduating from Penn Arts and Sciences with a combined B.A./M.A. in political science, Sharie went on to receive her law degree from Georgetown University. Her career has taken her from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia and compliance work at a Fortune 10 company to a leadership role as a white-collar, compliance, and government investigations partner in the Washington, DC, office of a prominent international law firm.

A longtime donor to Penn, Sharie recently increased her engagement and began returning to Penn more frequently. “I loved being on campus and seeing all of the new development,” she says. With her contribution to the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics, currently under construction, Sharie has become an integral part of that development. A former member of the Political Science Honors Society, she recognized that “there will be students like me attending Penn who will want to study in this building, so why not support that?”

“I am a beneficiary of people who saw something in me, looked out for me, and presented me with opportunities that enabled me to realize my potential. I want to be a part of that for those coming along behind me.”

- Sharie Brown

The impetus for Sharie’s return to campus—and her gift—was an invitation to become involved with the James Brister Society (JBS), a group of alumni leaders seeking to improve the Penn experience for people of color. Sharie and her husband, a graduate of Wharton, appreciated the University reaching out to them at the last Penn Spectrum Weekend, when alumni and students from a variety of backgrounds come together to discuss issues of cultural identity. Sharie enthusiastically recommends the event and is “absolutely delighted” to be participating in both the JBS and Penn Spectrum 2016. She is proud of the work being done to “provide an alumni voice to the University with respect to diverse students and faculty, and initiatives that support them and their progress.”

A first-generation college student from West Philadelphia who wasn’t considering Ivy League schools until a college recruiter put Penn on her radar, Sharie, who names her mother as a mentor, is happy to give back. The experience has been as rewarding for her as she hopes it is for the students she’s advising. “I am so impressed at the caliber of students who are coming to Penn,” she says. “They actually inspire and motivate me—it’s exciting to be around them.”

Learn more about the School of Arts & Sciences

School of Dental Medicine

Lawrence N. Rouff, D.D.S., D’63, GD’66, Lana K. Rouff, Katie G. Rouff and Peter A. Rouff, DMD GD07
Lawrence N. Rouff, D.D.S., D’63, GD’66, Lana K. Rouff, Katie G. Rouff and Peter A. Rouff, DMD GD07

Dr. Lawrence N. and Lana K. Rouff and Dr. Peter A. Rouff Scholarship Award for Orthodontics and Dr. Lawrence N. and Lana K. Rouff and Dr. Peter A. Rouff Scholarship Fund

At the beginning of her presidency, Dr. Amy Gutmann proposed a Penn Compact that would dramatically increase financial aid at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. To date, many alumni have heeded her call. Penn Dental graduate Larry Rouff, D’63, GD’66, and his wife Lana, joined by their son Peter, who graduated from the Dental School in 2007, are a family who have stepped up to express their own belief in making a Penn education more affordable. They recently established the Dr. Lawrence N. and Lana K. Rouff and Dr. Peter A. Rouff Scholarship Award for Orthodontics, as well as the Dr. Lawrence N. and Lana K. Rouff and Dr. Peter A. Rouff Scholarship Fund at the Dental School.

“We wanted to establish our scholarship funds as a way of giving back to Penn for the fine dental education my son and I received,” says Larry.  “Lana and I also felt that these scholarships would help make a difference in allowing a person to attend Penn Dental and, in turn, hope that person will do the same for someone else in the future.”

“Our scholarship funds at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine are our way of saying thank you and wishing the School continued success.”

- Larry and Lana Rouff

Creating scholarships or supporting existing scholarship funds at Penn can often be an incentive for other donors, parents, friends, and the community at large. For the Rouff family, it was their own desire to open doors for students to attend Penn Dental. Larry notes, “As an alumnus of Penn’s School of Dental Medicine and its Orthodontic Program, my family and I wanted to support the School in this special way.”

And what can be more special than ensuring that the most deserving students have the opportunity to further their education at Penn.

Learn more about Penn Dental

A. Eugene Kohn, AR’53, GAR’57
A. Eugene Kohn, AR’53, GAR’57

William B. and Hannah S. Kohn and A. Eugene Kohn Endowed Fellowship in Architecture

For over 100 years, students have been bringing an array of perspectives to PennDesign, establishing a thriving, creative community of alumni who have contributed so much to the field. As the demand for these innovative thinkers increases, the University must have the resources to remain accessible for students from all backgrounds. Through his renewed support of the William B. and Hannah S. Kohn and A. Eugene Kohn Endowed Fellowship in Architecture, A. Eugene Kohn, AR’53, GAR’57, is helping to keep the School of Design affordable for these future architectural leaders.

“The University ultimately seeks to attract the best and most diverse student body,” Gene said. “This Fellowship will allow a student to make the financial choice to come to PennDesign and take full advantage of everything it offers.”

“By engaging with the School, I can participate in the great exchange of information that PennDesign makes possible.”

– A. Eugene Kohn FAIA RIBA JIA

Founder and chairman of one the world’s largest architecture firms, Gene admits that when he was a student, he at times didn’t realize the value of the education he was receiving. However, a truly impressive roster of educators that included Louis Kahn, Paul Rudolph, Lewis Mumford, and Robert Venturi and visiting lecturers Frank Lloyd Wright (at the Philadelphia Museum of Art) and Le Corbusier inspired him to strive for greatness. Gene credits his time at PennDesign with molding him into the renowned architectural visionary that he is today.

“I consider my experience at Penn to be one-of-a-kind,” Gene said. “The incredible faculty at PennDesign taught me the importance of creativity and sincerity in my work, along with the social sensibility that accompanies it. The School remains on the cutting edge, and our industry will always need that kind of thinking.”

A former University Trustee, Gene has also served as a PennDesign Overseer since 1984. His leadership not only aids the School in its ongoing pursuit of excellence, but allows him to carry on the deep bond he has forged with his alma mater.

“By remaining active with the School, I have had another chance to fully enjoy and appreciate it,” Gene noted. “As an Overseer, I am able to contribute to the School and give back to an educational experience that I’m so grateful to have had myself.”

Learn more about PennDesign

Graduate School of Education

Jolley Bruce Christman, GED’71, GR’87, and Dr. Steven S. Goldberg, GR’85 (not pictured)
Jolley Bruce Christman, GED’71, GR’87, and Dr. Steven S. Goldberg, GR’85 (not pictured)

Steven S. Goldberg and Jolley Bruce Christman Lecture in Education Law Fund and the Jolley Bruce Christman and Steven S. Goldberg Annual Award for Best Dissertation in Urban Education Fund at the Graduate School of Education

Before his death in 2006, Jolley Christman, GED’71, GR’87, and her husband, Steven Goldberg, GR’85, planned the Steven S. Goldberg and Jolley Bruce Christman Lecture in Education Law Fund and the Jolley Bruce Christman and Steven S. Goldberg Annual Award for Best Dissertation in Urban Education Fund at the Graduate School of Education.

“Our goal in establishing these funds was to encourage and recognize astute and unflinching analysis of social justice issues in education, coupled with hopeful and pragmatic recommendations for moving equity forward,” Jolley said.

“We hope that these gifts help to increase knowledge about the root causes of educational inequality and move fairness in education forward.”

– Jolley Bruce Christman

Both Jolley and Steve served as associate faculty at Penn for many years; she at the Graduate School of Education and he at GSE and the Law School. Steve’s scholarship focused on special education law, and he advocated for mediation as a less adversarial way of resolving conflicts between parents and educators. Jolley was a founder and principal at a local nonprofit educational research organization. By combining their specialized talents, they were each able to uniquely assist in the ongoing task of improving learning and policy in the American schools. “We both recognized a passion for educational equity in one another and always supported each other throughout our careers,” Jolley said.

The generosity of Jolley and Steve establishes a new biannual lecture series in education law and awards graduating doctoral students at GSE for their work in urban education. She hopes that their support inspires others. “Steve and I shared a commitment to doing what we could to forward social justice in our community,” she said. “I have every confidence that Penn and its Graduate School of Education will do the same with our gifts.”

Learn more about the Graduate School of Education

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Dr. Grace Ho Lee, ENG’86 (center), and family
Dr. Grace Ho Lee, ENG’86 (center), and family

Dr. Chong Wan Lee Scholarship

Throughout his life, Dr. Chong Wan Lee placed a great emphasis on the importance of education. To celebrate his never-ending quest for learning, his daughter Dr. Grace Ho Lee, ENG’86, and other members of his family established the Dr. Chong Wan Lee Scholarship at the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

“My dad has always been passionate about education,” Grace remembers. “He started out as a college professor, and his students truly respected him and enjoyed his classes. Even when he came home from teaching, he would give me additional math and science lessons that were a grade or two ahead of where I was at the time.”

“We are proud to honor my father, Dr. Chong Wan Lee, by establishing this scholarship to help Engineering students pursue their educational passions.”

– Grace Ho Lee

This strong academic foundation was essential for Grace’s success at Penn. Her years spent studying in the buildings along Smith Walk, combined with the drive for success that her father instilled in her, paved the way for her career at a national engineering consulting firm.

The vast amount of research being conducted at Penn Engineering continues to yield impactful results in a number of fields. By establishing the Lee Scholarship, Grace and her family are making a Penn education more accessible and helping young scholars at SEAS write their own success stories.

Grace hopes that the Dr. Chong Wan Lee Scholarship “will serve as the starting point for students and will aid them along their pathway to the future in this fast-paced and constantly changing technological world.”

Learn more about the School of Engineering and Applied Science

Scott Webster, L’96 (not pictured)
Scott Webster, L’96 (not pictured)

The Gary Clinton Scholarship

In each of Penn’s schools and centers, you can find dedicated professionals who have the best interests of students in mind. Gary Clinton (pictured left) was a sterling model of this administrative culture for nearly 40 years at Penn, including a 25-year tenure as Dean of Students at Penn Law. Scott Webster, L’96, is among the many alumni with fond memories of Gary, whose retirement in 2015 left big shoes to fill and a bigger heart to be matched. Making a commitment to the Gary Clinton Scholarship is Scott’s way of showing how important both Gary and financial support were to his Penn Law experience.

“Gary was a mentor, an advisor, and a friend,” Scott says. “I always felt like he cared about me more than he did about anyone else. That was a special skill he had.”

“Most Americans cannot afford a Penn Law education, absent financial aid. I was one of those people. Someone else’s generosity helped me get through my graduate education, and now it is time for me to invest in someone else’s future.”

– Scott Webster

Gary was widely esteemed for bringing a sense of community to Penn Law. He oversaw an increase in the number of student groups at the School and served as a comforting and supportive presence for students, especially those who identified as LGBTQ. One of several ways the Law School has honored him, the Clinton Scholarship will help students better afford a Penn Law education that bears the continued mark of Gary’s amiable presence. For Scott, supporting the Clinton Scholarship is both a personally meaningful way to give back and an ideal tribute to Gary.

“Gary has helped thousands of students make it through law school,” Scott says. “A scholarship in his honor seems only fitting to continue that legacy.”

Learn more about Penn Law

Perelman School of Medicine

Claudette Leyden and James J. Leyden, M.D., M’66, RES’72
Claudette Leyden and James J. Leyden, M.D., M’66, RES’72

Medical Class of 1966 Scholarship

Jim Leyden, M’66, RES’72, and his wife Claudette have known for a long time that they wanted to leave a lasting legacy at Penn. “We decided while I was a student that someday we would contribute to Penn medical school. I received a scholarship, and we felt morally obligated to pay back this generosity,” Jim shares. “We also feel comfortable diminishing our estate while alive and plan to leave 40% to charities.” For many years, the Leydens have been faithful donors to the Perelman School of Medicine, including the Department of Dermatology, where Jim is an Emeritus Professor. Recently, they made a gift to the Medical Class of 1966 Scholarship to commemorate Jim’s 50th reunion.

“The members of my class share the view that our careers are largely the result of being inspired by an amazing faculty with international experts in every field. We believe we have a responsibility to enable new generations of students to pursue career options without undue focus on repaying loans.”

- Jim Leyden

In the late 1980s, Jim’s work on the Penn Medicine admissions committee made him aware of the problem of increasing medical student loan debt. “Students were feeling pressure to start earning money right away and felt they could not afford spending time at the NIH or pursuing other research activities,” he recalls. His class agreed that they should do what they could to address this issue, leading them to establish the first medical class scholarship in honor of their 25th reunion.

Two of the aims of the Medical Class of 1966 were to motivate other classes to follow their example and, ultimately, to facilitate tuition-free education at the Perelman School of Medicine. They have had great success with the former goal—there are now a total of 47 medical class scholarships—and hope soon to witness the latter come to fruition. “Dean Larry Jameson has publicly stated that he shares the goal of tuition-free education. Currently, the average debt of our graduates is considerably lower than that of comparable medical schools.” By giving young physicians the freedom to pursue less lucrative, but critically important, careers, the Leydens and their peers may well be contributing to medical breakthroughs that will benefit people around the world.

Learn more about the Perelman School of Medicine

Susan Pereles, NU’86, (center) and Family
Susan Pereles, NU’86, (center) and Family

Lori Chesna Ayanian Family Nursing Endowed Scholarship Fund

Penn is an important part of the Pereles-Ayanian family history. Susan Pereles, NU’86, and her husband Daniel, C’83, M’87, met on campus, and Susan’s brother Mark Ayanian, M’89, and Daniel’s brothers F. Scott Pereles, C’88, and Thomas Pereles, CHE’85, also attended the University. They all made the most of their time on campus by taking advantage of the many extracurricular activities available, from athletics to band to fraternities. “The school has so many good memories for us. That is the primary reason we stay connected to Penn,” Susan notes. “It’s a family affair.” Now, giving to Penn is a shared experience for them as well. Susan and Mark, along with their father Zaven, brother John, and the siblings’ spouses, have established the Lori Chesna Ayanian Family Nursing Endowed Scholarship Fund in memory of their mother.

“Our mother strongly believed that finances should never deter anyone from getting a quality nursing education. We wanted her memory and her dedication to nursing to be enduring.”

- Susan Pereles

Lori Ayanian, who was born in Scranton, PA, received her BSN from Syracuse University with the support of a nursing scholarship. When she passed away in 2013, her family wanted to memorialize her by establishing a scholarship of their own to help other BSN students. However, they were not able to do so at Lori’s alma mater, as the nursing school no longer exists. The family agreed that creating the scholarship at Penn, where Susan, following in her mother’s footsteps, began her own career as a nurse, was the perfect solution. “My mother was never prouder than the day I graduated from Penn Nursing in 1986,” Susan recalls. “She felt a strong connection to the University because of the positive experience I had there and its role in launching me professionally. Penn Nursing is a natural extension of my mother’s legacy.”

Learn more about the School of Nursing

School of Social Policy & Practice

Elizabeth R. Rivers, SW’62, and William H. Rivers Jr., SW’62
Elizabeth R. Rivers, SW’62, and William H. Rivers Jr., SW’62

School of Social Policy & Practice Annual Fund

As 1962 graduates of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Work (today’s School of Social Policy & Practice—SP2), Bill and Betty Rivers felt well-prepared to enter the field. “We learned how to conduct ourselves as professionally trained social workers and were provided with the opportunity for continued growth and development,” they share. Yet, the School’s transformation over the next 50 years presented some challenges to the couple.

They were a little apprehensive when the School of Social Work moved from its old building at 2410 Pine Street to the University’s campus, a feeling that later grew with the School’s name change in 2005. The Rivers’ unease about their alma mater’s evolution seemed resolute, but over time, their concerns evaporated.

“We have supported a number of programs at Penn; however, the majority of our support has been directed to SP2.”

- Bill and Betty Rivers

“The School’s move and the expansion of its curriculum, coupled with the relocation of the main entrance to open to Locust Walk instead of Walnut Street, appears to have strengthened the relationship between social work and other professions on campus,” Bill and Betty say. “SP2’s overall course content, programs, location, and name accurately reflect its mission and relationship to the University and to the city at large.”

Truth be told, the Rivers’ enthusiasm about today’s School of Social Policy & Practice isn’t solely based on its transformation. Bill and Betty have been faithful donors to SP2’s Annual Fund since the 1980s and are proud to see their generosity reflected in the School’s advancements.

“We are very hopeful that our ongoing support of the programs at Penn and SP2 will contribute to the overall positive effect the School and the University are having on the surrounding neighborhoods and the region.”

Learn more about the School of Social Policy & Practice

School of Veterinary Medicine

Richard Lichter
Richard Lichter

Car T-Cell Therapy Research and Shelter Dog Specialty Medical Treatment Project

Richard Lichter loves helping dogs. He started a foundation called the Richard Lichter Charity for Dogs and refers to his late golden retriever Cosette as “the love of my life.” His affection for animals, in addition to his generosity, makes him a perfect partner for Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, where he supports multiple initiatives.

The difficult loss of Cosette in 2010 to acute canine leukemia inspired Richard to help find a cure for the disease. Advances in immunotherapy treatments for leukemia made at the Perelman School of Medicine led him to search for a veterinary school that had the capability to conduct similar research in dogs. Penn Vet, with its close proximity to Perelman, world-class faculty, and established clinical trials center, proved to be the ideal organization. Richard is currently funding Dr. Nicola Mason’s CAR T-Cell Therapy Research on canine leukemia and lymphoma, and the early results are promising. “During the years of research and development, I have gotten to know Dr. Mason, her team, and many others at Penn Vet. I am delighted to partner with this group and to be a member of the Board of Overseers.”

“I am enormously impressed with the ability and dedication of the people at Penn Vet and with the vast capabilities of the institution.”

- Richard Lichter

Richard’s determination to help the dogs that need it most is also evidenced by his establishment of the Shelter Dog Specialty Medical Treatment Project. “There are so many dogs who pass through the world without families, love, or decent homes. They are almost invisible and unknown,” Richard says. “This program is meant for these unfortunate souls who typically wind up at shelters.” The Penn Vet Shelter Medicine Program and Penn Vet’s Ryan Hospital partner with Philadelphia shelters to identify dogs who have a good prognosis but are unable to receive care due to limitations of finances, staffing, and diagnostic capabilities at the shelters. Thanks to the Shelter Dog Specialty Medical Treatment Project, these dogs can be treated and adopted. Together, Richard and Penn Vet have committed to treating 150 dogs through the Project by the end of fiscal year 2017—one inspiring example of the unique relationships that can be forged at the School, where donors, doctors, local shelters, and staff share the same passion for helping animals.

Learn more about the School of Veterinary Medicine

Aditya Mittal, W’96
Aditya Mittal, W’96

The Wharton Fund

Since they each made their very first gifts to Penn as graduating seniors at Wharton, Aditya Mittal, W’96, and Megha Patodia Mittal, W’97, have been dedicated friends to the School. This year, the Mittals reflected on their proud Wharton history and further deepened their relationship with the School through a leadership pledge to The Wharton Fund in honor of their 20th reunions. Their profound commitment to unrestricted giving allows the School to be more entrepreneurial and innovative in meeting needs and developing new opportunities for students, faculty, and the entire Wharton community.

“We truly believe in what The Wharton Fund has set out to achieve. It is such a worthwhile project, and we are proud and delighted to be able to support this venture, which allows the School the freedom to build a stronger student community and ensures continued success.”

“We loved our time at Wharton. When we left we knew it wasn’t a place that would only be part of our past, but somewhere we wanted to stay connected to. There is a sense of a strong community of people who are really committed to Wharton’s future and legacy, and that is something we are proud to be part of. After receiving such a great education, we want to be able to give something back to future generations.”

- Aditya Mittal and Megha Patodia Mittal

The Aditya and Megha Mittal Endowed Scholarship equally reflects the Mittals’ commitment to student success, enabling an incredibly talented and diverse generation of students to develop meaningful careers that make the world better.

“Wharton encourages its students to be challenging, inquisitive, searching, ambitious, and aware of global challenges. We believe Wharton students leave wanting to make a difference in their chosen fields, and this extends beyond traditional business or finance professions to include social and environmental challenges.”

With over five years of volunteer service on Wharton’s Board of Overseers and 10 years on the Executive Board for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Aditya Mittal has been a vital partner and leader in guiding the School toward realizing its full potential. Along with their commitment to social impact philanthropy through the Mittal Foundation, the couple are dedicated to using their success to support the place that offered them so much.

Learn more about the Wharton School

Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

David M. Brashear, W’83
David M. Brashear, W’83

David M. Brashear Fund and Annenberg Center Annual Giving Fund.

The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is a destination for many forms of cultural and creative expression, from student performance groups to acclaimed international artists. Sometimes, these worlds collide in incredible ways.

“Recently, we had an amazing confluence of student and professional theater at Penn,” recalls David M. Brashear, W’83. “Hal Prince, C’48, HON’71, and his staff helped to direct the Penn Players in a restaged version of his Broadway play Lovemusik. It was a night to remember.”

“The arts are an important part of the college experience, and the Annenberg Center is also a great way for Penn to engage the Philadelphia community. By creating a permanent fund to support the Center’s activities, we hope to ensure that it will thrive.”

- David M. Brashear

As an undergraduate, David was “amazed that such a fantastic facility was only a block or two from where I was living as a student.” He has turned his admiration into a personal passion. As a seven-year member and current Chair of the Center’s Board of Overseers, David has played a key role in helping shape the Center’s vision—most particularly in this past year through his service on the Provost’s Advisory Committee in the search for the Center’s new Executive and Artistic Director.

David also made a new multi-year commitment renewing his support for the Annenberg Center Annual Fund and establishing the David M. Brashear Endowed Fund—one of only two endowed funds at the Annenberg Center. David has long been an advocate for building the Annenberg Center’s endowment to ensure its ongoing impact at Penn and in the surrounding community.

“Penn students embrace the performing arts, and I am encouraged to see more of them not only participating, but also being part of our audiences,” David says. “I see the Center as an important gateway to our campus and all that it has to offer to the city. I’m very excited about our new director, Chris Gruits, and I know he will bring a fresh perspective to everything we do!”

Learn more about the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Athletics and Recreation

John A. Chatzky, C’78
John A. Chatzky, C’78

Rowing Varsity Fund

Participating in college sports can be rewarding beyond merely racking up trophies. The holistic development of student-athletes is at the core of Penn Athletics’ mission. John A. Chatzky, C’78, former coxswain on Penn’s heavyweight rowing team, knows this firsthand.
“The lessons learned in the boathouse and on the water—commitment, determination, pursuit of excellence, trust, and discipline—were as important as the lessons learned in the classroom,” John says.

Rowing has a long history at Penn, from its early days as an extracurricular activity to students officially representing the University in intercollegiate races in 1879. Penn’s rowers not only reap the benefits John mentioned, but also gain lifetime friendships built on the camaraderie needed to remain in sync with teammates. As a walk-on who became a two-year captain, John credits his experience on the team for teaching him “the importance of risk taking and going outside of your comfort zone,” principles that have influenced his life after college as a lawyer and vice president and general counsel of a property management company.

“Rowing at Penn represents a rite of passage that teammates experience together. It pushes you beyond your limits and teaches you exactly what your mind and body are capable of under stress. I want as many future Penn undergraduates as possible to share that experience.”

- John A. Chatzky

John has done his best to help ensure that Penn can continue to impart these values. He serves on the Rowing Sports Board and still attends practices when he can, forging relationships with today’s Quakers. Since graduating in 1978, John has been an annual donor to the Rowing Varsity Fund, and with a generous gift in fiscal year 2016, he hopes that his philanthropy will inspire other Penn Rowing alumni to give back to strengthen the program’s future.

“We have three new young and excellent coaches, and each of the programs is steadily improving,” John says. “Penn Athletics is standing behind the programs and providing the necessary support. I look forward to several exciting years ahead.”

Learn more about Penn Athletics

Institute of Contemporary Art

Susan J. Weiler, C’80
Susan J. Weiler, C’80

Susan J. Weiler Fund

Although Susan Weiler, C’80, attended the University of Pennsylvania for four years, she didn’t learn about the Institute of Contemporary Art until long after she graduated. “It’s hard for me to believe I was unaware of this treasure,” she shares. That changed when she attended a program held by the Penn Club of New York, where she heard remarks from Penn alumni pursuing careers in the arts and from ICA Director Amy Sadao. “Her eloquent and compelling presentation about the importance of the arts and the museum’s creative role at Penn moved me to become involved with this visionary institution.”

“Art impacts the way we think about the world. It humanizes us. This is why I feel ICA is essential to a Penn education.”

- Susan J. Weiler

Susan, who became an Overseer at ICA in late 2015, recently established the Susan J. Weiler Fund. Her generosity provides unrestricted support for Sadao to direct as needed, whether to strengthen current priorities or to address issues as they arise. Susan feels strongly about the importance of flexible, discretionary funding. “Allowing creative minds the freedom to do what they do best makes for cutting-edge and challenging programming.”

Looking toward the future, Susan envisions a successful partnership with ICA. “I hope my support will enable Amy Sadao to continue to champion the work of under-recognized and new contemporary artists,” she says, “as well as engage Penn students and the surrounding communities in an art experience that will expand their minds.” Susan’s own story shows the importance of student outreach. With her help, hopefully, more students will have the chance to discover this exciting home for artistic expression before leaving campus.

Learn more about the Institute of Contemporary Art

Erik D. Gershwind, W’93, Jackie Gershwind, Michael Bennett, and Stacey Bennett, C’95
Erik D. Gershwind, W’93, Jackie Gershwind, Michael Bennett, and Stacey Bennett, C’95

Gershwind and Bennett Families Biotech Commons Renovation Fund and Gershwind Bennett Families Judaic Digital Humanities Seed Fund

Vice Chair of the Penn Libraries Board of Overseers Erik Gershwind, W’93, and his wife Jackie are proud to continue the legacy of philanthropy begun by Erik’s grandfather Sid Jacobson. Erik’s sister Stacey Gershwind Bennett, C’95, and her husband Michael share the same view. In fact, Stacey serves as the chairperson of the Netter Center Board of Overseers. Together, the two couples have established the Gershwind and Bennett Families Biotech Commons Renovation Fund and the Gershwind Bennett Families Judaic Digital Humanities Seed Fund at Penn Libraries. Education and the promotion of Jewish culture are key priorities for all members of the family.

An Overseer at Penn Libraries since 2004, Erik saw parallels between his professional experience managing the distribution of industrial supplies and the challenges libraries face as they move from being purely physical entities to increasingly virtual spaces. Both processes require digitizing and managing large amounts of data to make it accessible and navigable. “That was part of what drew me to the Penn Libraries—it was an area where I thought I could make a difference.”

“We need libraries now more than ever. It’s no longer about amassing information, but about making it usable and turning it into knowledge. That’s what the Penn Libraries do.”

- Erik D. Gershwind

Erik envisions the Penn Libraries as the central nervous system of the University, disseminating information and serving as a link between scholars from different fields. This idea helps illustrate why the ongoing project to renovate the Biomedical Library into the Biotech Commons resonated with him and his family. The Biotech Commons is intended to be an inspiring hub for the campus, providing a space for interdisciplinary collaboration near Penn’s STEM and clinical entities. “Most problems are better addressed when multiple perspectives are considered across disciplines. Where in the University is there that opportunity to look at things through different lenses? The Penn Libraries is the place.”

The Judaic Digital Humanities Seed Fund will serve both the Libraries’ mission of “taking the complex and making it accessible,” as Erik puts it, and the Gershwind-Bennett family’s goal of advancing Jewish studies. The Fund will provide support for projects making use of the Penn Libraries’ digitized collections of Judaica, allowing researchers to use tools for data mining and other digital scholarship. “To be able to nurture secular Jewish life through education, research, and learning is really exciting,” Erik shares.

Penn has meant many things to Erik. It strengthened his relationship with Stacey when they spent two years on campus together, gave him an indispensable education, and introduced him to lifelong friends. Now, he has even higher aims for his ongoing partnership with the University and the Penn Libraries. “Penn provides an avenue to build on our family legacy of making the world a better place.”

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Edith Robb Dixon
Edith Robb Dixon

Morris Arboretum Annual Giving Fund and Bloomfield Barn Renovation Fund

Edith Robb Dixon’s relationship with the Morris Arboretum goes back many years. In 1971, she and her husband, the late F. Eugene Dixon Jr., inherited a 500-acre property called Erdenheim Farm in Montgomery County, PA. Erdenheim Farm, as it turns out, shares a border with the Morris Arboretum, and as Mrs. Dixon believes “protecting open space is vital to an area so near the city,” it was no surprise that she became both friend and neighbor to this institution.

A longtime advocate and benefactor, Mrs. Dixon joined the Arboretum’s Directors’ Guild in 2008 and its Advisory Board of Managers in 2014. In June 2016, she was honored at the Moonlight & Roses gala, an annual fundraising event held under the stars in the Arboretum’s impressive Rose Garden.

“The Arboretum has been a haven for our area for education and research. Without plants or gardens our world will die. Educating our children to appreciate all this is vital to our planet.”

- Edith Robb Dixon

In addition to her ongoing support of the Morris Arboretum Annual Fund, Mrs. Dixon is particularly interested in the Arboretum’s Youth Education Program. She recently made a gift to the Bloomfield Barn Renovation Fund to aid in the restoration of a barn on the Arboretum’s 65-acre Bloomfield Farm site. The project will create an additional 1,200 feet of indoor space for seasonal use by the Youth Education Program, which offers a children’s summer camp, outreach to Philadelphia public schools, and sustainability classes for children, among other programming. The Bloomfield Barn, once used to house dairy cows and store harvested grains, is one of the structures included in the recognition of the Arboretum on the National Register of Historic Places. Mrs. Dixon’s gift will help the Morris Arboretum retain the integrity of this centuries-old structure while providing a place to educate children on the importance of preserving natural resources for generations to come.

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Robin Potter, WG’80, and Peter Gould, LPS’10
Robin Potter, WG’80, and Peter Gould, LPS’10

PoGo Family Foundation Fund for Exhibition Programs

Since 2008, couple Peter Gould, LPS’10, and Robin Potter, WG’80, have not let a year pass without making a financial contribution to the Penn Museum. They made sure that fiscal year 2016 was no different as they pledged to support the PoGo Family Foundation Fund for Exhibition Programs. Monies will immediately be put towards design costs for the new Galleries of the Middle East as well as enable the Museum’s leadership to finance various aspects of its Building Renovation and New Galleries Project.

“The role of museums in our culture is changing in multiple dimensions at incredible speed,” Peter and Robin share. “Balancing those demands requires a state-of-the-art facility, creative exhibitions, and strong public interaction that give full credit to the Museum’s magnificent collections.” Remaining engaged with the Museum so that these demands are realized has been key to Peter’s advocacy. In addition to the couple’s philanthropy, Peter serves on the Museum’s Board of Overseers and chairs its Director’s Council.

“The Museum deserves to be seen as a unique and special resource within Penn and across the globe for its potential to enrich the knowledge and experience of anyone who walks through its doors or encounters the collections online.”

- Peter Gould and Robin Potter

“I became intrigued by the challenge of presenting to Penn, the Philadelphia community, and the world the incredible breadth of material culture and knowledge within the walls of the Museum,” Peter notes. “The importance of that task is what keeps us engaged.”

Peter and Robin’s engagement serves as a reminder to the Penn community at large that it has a historic and cultural gem on its campus, one that is recognized locally and internationally for its quality architecture as well as its distinctive collections and exhibits. They believe that “the fundamental mission of the Museum is to enrich the education experience of students and others, sister institutions, and the Philadelphia community.” With their partnership, the Museum fulfills its purpose and maintains its renown.

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Photo Credit Right: Gary Grisson