Benjamin Franklin Society

Edward Woo, M.D., C’92, M’96, RES’03, and Irene J. Woo, M.D., M’96, RES’01
Edward Woo, M.D., C’92, M’96, RES’03, and Irene J. Woo, M.D., M’96, RES’01

Edward and Irene Woo Endowed Scholarship

Drs. Edward, C’92, M’96, RES’03, and Irene Woo, M’96, RES’01, both received their medical degrees from Penn and completed their residencies here as well, but it is the foundation laid by their undergraduate education that prompts them to give back to their alma mater. “Irene and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to take advantage of the amazing faculty and experiences while at Penn,” Ed says. The couple also recognize that this opportunity isn’t a given for all students.

“We both came from backgrounds of financial hardship and understand the difficulties posed by this,” Irene shared. Establishing the Edward and Irene Woo Endowed Scholarship is their way of giving other students the chance to enjoy the world-class education that has come to mean so much to them. Their support of undergraduate financial aid at the University also qualifies them as members of the Benjamin Franklin Society for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

The Woos are happy to help talented students attend Penn, and feel that supporting financial aid benefits not only the students who receive it, but the University as well. Ed and Irene aim “to help Penn continue to be the finest institution by attracting the best candidates.”

“We truly feel that it is critical that we ‘give back’ and help create opportunities for future generations.”

- Edward and Irene Woo

In true Quaker fashion, the Woos understand that the designation of “finest” isn’t just about what happens in the classroom. “Not only did Penn offer an outstanding education from a true academic perspective, but the Penn community taught us so much about critically important life lessons, such as generosity, compassion, diligence, and perseverance,” Ed says. “We both feel indebted to Penn for our successes.”

Learn more about the Benjamin Franklin Society

Nina Robinson Vitow, CW’70, WG’76
Nina Robinson Vitow, CW’70, WG’76

Nina Robinson Vitow Donor Advised Fund

Nina Robinson Vitow, CW’70, WG’76, attended the University of Pennsylvania during a time of great change both on campus and around the world.  As an undergraduate from 1966 to 1970 and again as an MBA student five years later, Nina’s education far transcended what she was taught in the classroom.

“It was a great time to be a Penn student, and I learned so much during those years,” she said. “You could find ardent discussions taking place on every topic, from the Vietnam War to the awakening of feminism.  I took these ideas and the relationships that I made as a student with me, and I am still grateful for having experienced them—even fifty years after first enrolling.”

“I want today’s freshmen to have the 21st century version of what I had at Penn, and supporting this unique, private university is a no-brainer.”

 – Nina Robinson Vitow

To help ensure that current and future students at the University can have experiences that are just as fulfilling, Nina worked closely with Penn’s Office of Gift Planning to establish the Nina Robinson Vitow Donor Advised Fund (DAF).  This instrument allows donors the flexibility to support the Red and Blue as well as other charitable organizations of their choice, while Penn manages the fund and its various distributions.  Nina’s generosity secures her membership in the University’s Charles Custis Harrison Society, which acknowledges donors who have made a planned gift to Penn.

“Through the University’s DAF, I can direct where my donations go across Penn,” said Nina, whose contributions include gifts to Penn Athletics, Kelly Writers House, and the Penn Museum, among others. “I am also able to support other non-profits like Philadelphia’s Theater 1812, the only all-comedy performance troupe in the country. It’s a great way to support your alma mater and the causes you believe in.”

Since her days spent studying at Van Pelt Library or strolling down Locust Walk, Nina’s affinity for Penn has only gotten stronger.  A Class of 1970 Gift Officer and co-chair of her Class Reunion, Nina has also served as a University Trustee.  Her volunteerism and engagement with the Harrison Society are wonderful ways for her to maintain her relationship with Penn and celebrate the positive impact the University continues to have on her life.

“Attending the University of Pennsylvania was certainly special, but being an alum is even better,” Nina said. “It is always rewarding to return to campus and to spend time with Penn people, both longtime friends and acquaintances.”

Learn more about gift planning and the Charles Custis Harrison Society

The Penn Fund

Mae Agnes Pasquariello, CW’53, GRD’85
Mae Agnes Pasquariello, CW’53, GRD’85

The Penn Fund

What does it mean to be “engaged” at the University of Pennsylvania?  Ask students, and you may hear about their classes and extracurricular activities.  Ask faculty, and you may learn about their collaborative research and daily lectures.  When you ask Dr. Mae Agnes Pasquariello, CW’53, GRD’85, you immediately sense the pride that highlights the unique relationship alumni have with the University.

“I am always extremely proud to say I am affiliated with Penn.” 

– Mae Agnes Pasquariello

“I serve as Class President, Class Gift Chair, a member of the Association of Alumnae, and the Alumni Class Leadership Council,” Mae proudly expresses, “and my relationship with Penn keeps me connected to my youth.”

While Mae’s volunteerism is as vibrant as it is fulfilling, her involvement also translates to her philanthropy.  Giving to The Penn Fund resonates with Mae in ways that make its significance and her pride even more apparent.  “When you give to The Penn Fund, you are able to directly impact the quality of life and learning for our students through financial aid, the residential experience, and special initiatives,” Mae says.  “I also support through The Penn Fund an undergraduate endowed scholarship we established for my 55th reunion.”

Mae’s affinity for her alma mater is palpable and compelling.  If you have never visited campus, returned to celebrate your reunion, or read about the University in the news, Mae’s enthusiasm encourages you to experience Penn for yourself.

“Being connected to our dynamic university that continues to innovatively grow and progress in all areas—education, research, medicine, and real estate development—is truly exciting,” she shares.  “My relationship with Penn gives me tremendous energy, and meeting my scholarship student every year is the greatest thank you ever!”

Penn was pleased to bestow upon Dr. Mae Pasquariello the Alumni Award of Merit in 2011.  Today, the University is equally delighted to salute Mae for being such a thoughtful donor, passionate volunteer, and all-around wonderful Penn ambassador.

Learn more about The Penn Fund

Drs. Brinda M. and Manish A. Shah, PAR’20
Drs. Brinda M. and Manish A. Shah, PAR’20

The Parents Fund

The Quaker spirit caught on quickly in the Shah household once Karina Shah, W’20, was accepted to Penn. Although Drs. Brinda and Manish Shah, PAR’20, were initially nervous about their daughter’s transition to college, they were pleased to discover the level of support Penn provided. “We were impressed by the way we were welcomed into the Penn community even before we stepped foot on campus,” they recalled. “It was nice to know that there was a place to call or reach out to if we had any questions or concerns.”

“It was clear to us that Penn is much more than a school for its students—it is a school for the entire family.”

- Brinda M. and Manish A. Shah

Karina’s experience so far has confirmed that Penn is the right place for her. “There are many things that our daughter loves about Penn, but she’s most excited about the diverse, talented, and engaged community that surrounds her, both academically and socially,” her parents shared. “The energy on campus is infectious—there is always something happening, and there are so many opportunities for her to become involved.”

In honor of the affection they all share for Penn, the Shahs have made a gift to The Parents Fund. This unrestricted fund supports an array of initiatives, including financial aid and educational and cultural programming that enhance the undergraduate experience for all Penn students. In addition, they have also joined the Parents Council, a group that engages with the University and the Penn parent community through volunteerism, peer-to-peer outreach, and philanthropy. This engagement has proven rewarding for the couple and has strengthened their own connection to the University. “Our involvement has made us even more aware of all the exciting initiatives, projects, and opportunities there are at Penn. We are very fortunate to be part of such a welcoming and vibrant community and of a school whose commitment to their students and their families is so palpable.”

Learn more about The Parents Fund