Exciting things are happening at each of Penn’s Schools and Centers. With renewed commitment to our foundational priorities—increasing access for the most exceptional students, integrating knowledge across academic disciplines, and engaging in innovative ways with our local, national, and global communities—Penn stands proudly among the world’s top universities. The thoughtful philanthropy of our alumni, parents, and friends continues to make all the difference. Take a look at some of the advances that have taken place at our Schools and Centers over the previous academic year. See what is made possible thanks to your generous support.
“The right to free communication carries with it 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
The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, home to one of the country’s preeminent graduate programs, remains at the vanguard of scholarly research and communication theory. The School retains its prominence thanks to the far-reaching support of the Annenberg Foundation
One of the most selective doctoral communication programs in the country, the Annenberg School allows students to design a course of study tailored to their intellectual interests and professional goals. Faculty has grown in size and areas of research; programming has diversified; and the curriculum has become a model for interdisciplinary studies. Undergraduate communication majors at Penn may attend 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 Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in Communication is granted by the College of Arts and Sciences, but the curriculum is designed, administered, and instructed by the Annenberg School for Communication. Additionally, the Annenberg School partners with the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Design to offer an interdisciplinary major in Digital Media Design.
Increasingly applying their research to society’s most pressing issues, Annenberg faculty and doctoral students have made a significant mark on the intersection of communication and public health. Recent notable publications include a study on the effects of advertising on cancer patients, a trial of an intervention to increase physical activity in South African men, and a review of anti-smoking public service campaigns.
As the 2014 cohort of incoming doctoral students joins the Annenberg School community, they do so in the spirit of Walter and Lenore 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
“Scholarships serve as a powerful way to improve the life of another person. That’s why providing financial aid is so meaningful to me.”
– Gillian Meltzer Miniter
Gillian Meltzer Miniter, C’90, was looking to reconnect with Penn when she decided to establish a scholarship in 2002. Since then, she has supported three students and built relationships with them at Penn’s annual Scholarship Celebrations.
“It has been a joy to meet and engage with these impressive young women we have helped over the years,” says Miniter, who serves on the Board of Overseers at the School of Arts and Sciences. Miniter is also an alumna of the College and donates financial aid specifically for women students at SAS who are from New York, her home state. In 2014, she made a new pledge to support the Gillian Meltzer Miniter Endowed Scholarship.
Miniter also fortifies her connection with Penn and its philanthropic community by hosting dinners for current and prospective scholarship donors. For more than a decade, Penn Trustee Emeritus George A. Weiss, W’65, has joined her at these gatherings to talk about how important financial aid is for Penn students. Additionally, these talks also keep people apprised of what’s going on at the University, which lets donors know how the student body benefits from scholarship support.
“The more our alumni feel included in what is happening on campus and connected with other graduates, the more excited they are to be part of the community at Penn,” Miniter says. That excitement translates into more money raised for financial aid; the dinners alone have raised millions of dollars in scholarships.
“It’s rare that new donors don’t send me an e-mail saying how inspired they were,” she says. “They are so happy to meet their scholars, and I know that is a great feeling.”Learn more about the School of Arts and Sciences
“It is a pleasure working with Dean Kinane, who is wholeheartedly dedicated to Penn Dental and wants nothing but the best for the School. I am honored to support him and Penn Dental to the best of my ability so that we can move forward with his vision and continue to thrive as one of the best dental schools in the world.”
– William W. M. Cheung
Having established the William W. M. Cheung Advanced Dental Care Clinic within the Dental School’s Robert Schattner Center in 2010, Dr. William W. M. Cheung, D’81, GD’82, was further inspired by Dean Denis Kinane’s vision for enhancing Penn Dental Medicine through facility upgrades. This year, Dr. Cheung has made another generous commitment to support the Evans Building Centennial Renaissance.
“Dean Kinane has a 10-year strategic plan for the School of Dental Medicine,” Dr. Cheung explains. “Major renovation of the Evans Building is part of the plan. Our students are the ultimate beneficiaries as they will gain a much better educational experience. They will carry the Penn flag as they become the future leaders of the profession.”
Built in 1915, the Evans Building is the primary facility for clinical and classroom instruction. While the building’s specialty clinics are presently state-of-the-art, key instructional spaces and primary care clinics are in great need of updating. This renovation project will retain the building’s historic Gothic architecture while transforming the first floor and lower concourse to include an Advanced Dental Simulation Lab, a Preclinical Lab and Continuing Education Training facility, and a new 70+ operatory clinic, replete with innovative technology that will raise the School’s profile among students, educators, and patients alike.
Dr. Cheung, who manages a practice in Hong Kong, regularly travels across the Pacific to fulfill his leadership roles as chair of Penn Dental Medicine’s Board of Overseers and as a University Trustee. “Part of President Gutmann’s Penn Compact is for the University to engage locally and globally,” Cheung says. “This is very much in line with my vision for the University, so that we can expand our impact on the world. Much has been accomplished, but there is still much to be done.”Learn more about Penn Dental
“It has been rewarding to see the increasing number of students taking photography classes at Penn over the years we have supported the Program. The facilities and equipment have been upgraded to a level rivaling the best university programs in the country.”
– Patricia B. Silverstein and Howard A. Silverstein
Since the Howard A. Silverstein and Patricia Bleznak Silverstein Photography Program was established six years ago, the number of Penn students taking photography classes has more than doubled. With the growing demand, PennDesign has to ensure that students have access to the newest equipment as well as adequate studio and lab space in which to pursue their craft. Howie and Patty Silverstein have renewed their commitment to help the Program and the School achieve that goal.
“Our new pledge will provide space and equipment for the more than 500 graduate and undergraduate students who take photography classes,” Patty Silverstein says. “It also will provide funds to keep the equipment state-of-the-art for years to come.
One of the highlights of the Program is the biennial “Studio Abroad.” This unique opportunity has enabled select photography students to travel to Beijing, Mumbai, and Istanbul, mounting impressive photo exhibitions upon their return. The Silversteins’ latest contribution will support three additional trips, including Berlin in 2015, allowing for more students to travel and be inspired by new cultures and points of view.
“The final show has become so popular that it has been reviewed in the Philadelphia press,” says Howie, who sits on PennDesign’s Board of Overseers. “We have tremendously enjoyed attending the openings and learning firsthand from the students about their processes and inspirations.”
The Silversteins have supported the University for many years across several areas—in 2014, they made significant contributions to Penn Nursing as well, where Patty is an Overseer. They anticipate that their latest gifts to PennDesign will have an impact that extends well beyond the School. “Our pledge will support bringing to campus guest lecturers who are eminent in the field of photography,” they add. “It’s our hope that the Program will enhance the student experience at PennDesign and throughout the University.”Learn more about PennDesign
“We are pleased to support GSE because of the strength, effectiveness, and momentum of the School and the importance of its mission.”
– Elizabeth B. Korn and Douglas R. Korn
Doug Korn, W’84, and his wife, Betsy, know the tremendous power of a Penn degree. Longtime proponents of financial aid, the Korns have been supporting students at Wharton for years through their own endowed undergraduate scholarship. Now with Doug having recently joined the Board of Overseers at the Graduate School of Education, the couple is taking their philanthropy even further by establishing the Korn Family Scholarship at Penn GSE.
“We have been involved in educational charities and supporting Penn for a long time, and we now see getting involved with GSE as a uniquely powerful opportunity,” Doug says. “We are excited about the idea of educating future academic leaders at Penn.”
While GSE celebrates a century of expertly preparing the visionary educators of tomorrow, Doug and Betsy hope that their new scholarship will help ensure that the School’s strong tradition of innovation, research, and leadership remains intact.
“GSE has a hugely positive impact on the lives of the students, graduates, and communities that it serves,” Doug says. “It means a lot to think that our gift can help attract and train the talented teachers, leaders, researchers, and innovators who will shape education during the School’s next century.”
With a matching gift from the Weiss Scholarship Challenge, the Korns hope that their generosity not only assures that students at GSE can flourish, but inspires others to give, as well.
“Those of us who were fortunate enough to attend Penn received an invaluable and powerful academic experience,” Doug says. “We should remember that our education was enabled in part by those who came before us and supported the University. Those of us who can should endeavor to step up and help pave the way for those who follow us.”Learn more about the Graduate School of Education
“We have enjoyed staying involved with the Penn community and have found different places to engage that are both educationally and philanthropically rewarding.”
– Robert M. Stavis and
Amy Markowitz Stavis
One of the hallmarks of an eminent university is an unparalleled curriculum taught by outstanding professors. A model of interdisciplinary education, the School of Engineering and Applied Science prides itself on equipping its students with an all-encompassing academic experience.
“As technology continues to work its way into every aspect of our lives, there is a growing demand for more trained engineers,” says Rob. “Penn Engineering must increase our count of tenured professors so we can continue to meet the broadening needs of our engineering students and our society.”
In order to ensure that SEAS continues to attract some of the world’s most forward-thinking educators, Rob and Amy Stavis are supporting the Dean’s Distinguished Professorship at the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
“We know that our gift will help SEAS meet its goal of increasing faculty-to-student ratios to levels that are consistent with other top engineering programs,” Amy says.
In addition to their long history of giving to the University, the Stavises’ volunteerism at Penn runs deep. With Rob devoting his time to SEAS as an Overseer and Amy serving on the advisory board of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, the couple is able to improve the lives of many by remaining connected to their alma mater.
“The breadth of the Penn community is inspiring and the impact the institution has on our society is impressive,” the Stavises agree. “Our engagement with the University has allowed us to satisfy our desire to help the Philadelphia community, create great educational outcomes for Penn students, and make our world a better place.”
“Penn is an institution built on giving. My gift is an affirmation of that founding tradition and an admission into this unique class of givers whose generous donations have sustained this iconic institution for all of humanity. I feel privileged.”
– Donald Duke, Esq.
When international students come to Penn for an American education, their experience often extends beyond the University and compels them to make a difference in their homelands. Such has been the case with Donald Duke, Esq., GL’84, since leaving Penn Law 30 years ago.
“With the confidence a degree from Penn Law afforded me, I plunged into public life and, at the tender age of 37, was elected governor of my home state in Nigeria,” Duke relates. He served from 1999 to 2007. “I leave posterity to judge my tenure. What is important here is the confidence to dare.”
Duke graduated from the Law School with a Master in Law (LLM) degree, part of a program designed for lawyers from outside the United States. He was one of 50 students from 27 countries, all of whom had the chance to learn from each other’s vastly different global perspectives. Now, he wants to pass that opportunity on to the next generation of African leaders through the Donald Duke LLM Scholarship, intended for an African student in the yearlong program that had such an impact on Duke’s professional life.
“In a continent that is emerging, the character and exposure of its leadership determines its success.” Duke says. “I hope the scholarship will provide opportunities for young and aspiring leaders, in diverse fields of endeavor, particularly from emerging societies.” He adds, “I hope that Duke Scholars will broaden the faculty and culture at Penn, even as they benefit from the Penn experience.”Learn more about Penn Law
“Through our support of medical education, perhaps our greatest impact will be helping to nourish the next generations of students as they embark on their own journeys to change the world.”
– Dr. Robert Johnson, Jr.
In anticipation of Penn Medicine’s upcoming milestone anniversary, Dr. Robert Johnson, Jr., C’74, GR’80, M’81, and his wife, Dr. Margaret Liu, are giving back to the country’s oldest medical school by becoming founding contributors to the 250th Celebration Scholarship Fund.
“This donation will assist in ensuring that the best and brightest have an opportunity to attend the Perelman School of Medicine,” says Johnson. “It will support and enrich an environment where future students can maximize their potential and contribute to health care and science in the best Penn tradition.”
An enthusiastic Quaker, Johnson has his own illustrious history with the University. A member of the Medical Alumni Advisory Council, he has played host to an array of events for Penn Medicine and credits his longstanding engagement with the School for helping to keep him at the forefront of the always-evolving medical field.
“The Perelman School is leading the way in medical research, health care policy, and patient care and has become internationally recognized for collaborative interdisciplinary investigation,” Johnson says. “Through alumni events, e-mail newsflashes from Penn Med, and discussions with faculty members, I have the opportunity to be current and knowledgeable about a range of relevant subjects. These opportunities have expanded my vision and been extremely fulfilling.”
Johnson hopes that the creation of the 250th Celebration Scholarship will spark that same excitement and passion in the medical visionaries of the future while also paying tribute to the place that has had such a profound impact on him.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity to celebrate the rich 250-year history of scientific and medical accomplishments at the School of Medicine,” Johnson says. “This gift reflects my gratitude to an institution that provided me with a superb foundation for my own scientific and clinical development.”Learn more about the Perelman School of Medicine
“Providing scholarships for students who want to become nurses is ultimately about promoting the futures of individuals dedicated to the idea of saving and improving lives.”
– Robert L. Hart
For real estate investor Robert L. Hart, a longtime supporter of the medical ethics program at Penn, establishing a scholarship program designed to support student nurses was simply the right thing to do.
“Nurses make an extraordinary difference in the lives of patients and families, and have proven to be practical alternatives to physicians in many health care circumstances,” says Hart. “As our population continues to grow, we are going to need more and more nurses, and we have to invest substantially in educating them.”
Hart not only wanted to invest in the future of nursing; he also wanted to honor his father’s memory. The Emanuel and Robert Hart Penn Nursing Scholars Program does both. By establishing a charitable remainder trust at Penn, Hart will endow scholarships for nursing students pursuing their master’s degrees or a second degree in the field.
The Program is meant to defray costs for nursing students who want to work outside of a hospital setting—in community clinics or primary care physicians’ offices. As these jobs typically pay less than those at hospitals, such nursing students are in particular need of financial assistance, Hart says.
Support, however, comes in many forms. The Hart Scholars Program will also feature guest lectures, experiential learning opportunities, and possibly a Hart Penn Nursing Scholars Alumni Association. The long-term goal is for the Hart Scholars to leave Penn Nursing feeling part of a strong cohort of like-minded colleagues.
“I want students to perceive themselves as being connected to an extraordinary network of professionals and leaders in the field from the moment of their enrollment,” Hart says. “I know that they will leave Penn Nursing valuing lifelong learning, advocacy, and leadership.”Learn more about the School of Nursing
“My educational experience at what was then the School of Social Work taught me important lessons that changed my professional and personal life.”
– The Honorable Kathleen O’Ferrall Friedman
The Honorable Kathleen O’Ferrall Friedman, SW’69, knows that a leading school of social work not only contributes to the eminence of a great university like Penn, but makes a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of humanity as a whole. That’s why the longtime supporter of the annual giving program at the School of Social Policy & Practice is thrilled to play such an integral role in helping SP2 advance its mission of passionately pursuing social innovation, impact, and justice.
“Our society continues to face numerous challenges to the social welfare of many of its citizens,” Friedman says. “A university with a strong social work program provides ongoing research and training to develop the best practices and policies to apply to real-world human services systems.”
The two years that Friedman spent at the School of Social Work helped pave the way for a life dedicated to serving others. A tremendous advocate for children and families throughout Maryland, Friedman was able to take what she learned at Penn and apply those lessons to her storied 17-year career as a sitting judge on the Baltimore City Circuit Court.
“I learned about human behavior and how to use an understanding of relationships, process, individual choice, and feelings in my professional life,” Friedman says. “The appreciation of group dynamics that I gained helped me value the contribution of each individual in a group. These lessons informed my work as a social worker, an attorney, and finally a judge.”
As the School carries on its proud tradition of shaping tomorrow’s social policy makers, Friedman is delighted to continue giving, ensuring that faculty and students have everything they need to make a difference.
“I owe so much to SP2,” Friedman says. “I learned a great deal about myself there and developed as a person capable of determining the course of my own life.”Learn more about the School of Social Policy & Practice
“I believe strongly in the School’s mission and the critical work of veterinarians not only in caring for animals, but in ensuring food safety, protecting public health, and working to find cures for diseases that afflict humans as well as animals.”
– Robert W. Huffman
When Dr. Dean Richardson, Penn Vet’s Chief of Large Animal Surgery and the Charles W. Raker Professor of Equine Surgery, was making headlines for treating 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro, Robert W. Huffman paid close attention. Upon further investigation, Huffman, who has an avid interest in medical science, found Richardson’s specific areas of research—including using gene therapy to prevent disease and studying stem cells to heal tissue—to be of great interest. After meeting with Dr. Richardson, however, Huffman had some concerns about whether the veterinarian had the staffing needed to achieve his ambitious research goals.
“It was apparent that he needed more staff resources,” says Huffman. “I decided to assist to avoid delaying, or not fully realizing, the enormous potential benefits to society from his research.”
In response, Huffman established the Robert W. Huffman/Dean W. Richardson Laboratory Technician Fund. His support for a lab technician facilitates Dr. Richardson’s use of gene and stem cell therapies to prevent and treat devastating animal diseases, which can have an impact on human medicine.
Huffman is a fan of Penn’s emphasis on interdisciplinary study and collaborative research.
“Penn Vet is the only veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. If Dr. Richardson’s research objectives can be met, the benefits will be improved health not only for animals, but for humans as well,” says Huffman.
Huffman has a fitting model to inform his views on philanthropy to the Vet School. “As an early American history buff, I recall reading that Benjamin Franklin once asked: ’What good thing may I do?’” He adds, “An excellent answer is: Support the School of Veterinary Medicine at his University!”Learn more about the School of Veterinary Medicine
“My brother Leonard (W’54) and I established the Lauder Institute as a unique environment to nurture and develop our future global business leaders—those men and women who honor the best qualities of our father, Joseph: intelligence, curiosity, and an openness to the world.”
– The Honorable Ronald S. Lauder
For 30 years, the Lauder Institute has educated business leaders to operate in an uncertain, rapidly changing, and globally interconnected business environment. This was a visionary idea when the Institute was founded. Today, the importance of its mission could not be clearer. The Lauder Institute plays a central role in Penn’s commitment to global initiatives and brings added prestige and recognition to Wharton and the entire University through its accomplished alumni and innovative programming.
Recently, the Lauder family—The Honorable Ronald S. Lauder, W’65, chairman of the Lauder Institute Board of Governors, with his brother Leonard A. Lauder, W’54, and nephew William P. Lauder, W’83—launched The Lauder Institute Challenge: Investing in Global Leaders, assisted by Lauder alumni, administration, friends, and corporate partners. This inaugural campaign will enable the Institute to continue to lead in global business education through curricular innovation, enhanced funding for student fellowships, and expanded alumni engagement, including lifelong learning opportunities.
“The academic, professional, and personal experiences at the Lauder Institute are truly unique and transformative,” says Ronald. The Lauder family will donate up to $10 million in challenge funds, matching contributions from alumni and friends dollar for dollar. “Meeting our five-year, $20 million goal allows us to expand the global reach of our graduates and increase the value of the Lauder experience for all of our alumni.”
Lauder graduates are global leaders and entrepreneurs in their respective fields, including the founders of firms such as Felicis Ventures, Baby.com.br, and Fundusz Mikro as well as Warburg Pincus’ North Asia Chairman, Conde Nast’s President of China, Google’s UK Advertising Chief, and McDonald’s Corporation’s Chief Marketing Officer.
The Honorable Ronald S. Lauder is a 1965 graduate of the Wharton School. He is founder and chairman of RWL Water, LLC, which helps meet the increasing demand for clean water, and chairman of Clinique Laboratories, a part of Estée Lauder. His brother Leonard A. Lauder is a 1954 Wharton graduate and chairman emeritus of Estée Lauder. William P. Lauder received his bachelor’s degree from Wharton in 1983. He is the son of Leonard and Evelyn Lauder and has been executive chairman of Estée Lauder since 2009.
Learn more about the Wharton School
“We firmly believe that first-class cultural experiences can do much to enhance the academic life of the Penn student community.”
– Richard D. Feintuch and
Merry Henig Feintuch
Over 40 years ago, Penn undergraduates Richard Feintuch, W’74, and Merry Henig, W’74, began a friendship that blossomed into marriage, and as naturally as they fell in love, so did their affinity deepen for the performing arts on campus.
“We both attended cutting-edge performances in the early years after the construction of the Annenberg Center—including our first date,” Richard says. “As Penn donors, we wanted to find ways to maximize that positive influence on current students.”
Through the years, the couple has put their philanthropy to work to ensure that students can attend the live musical, theatrical, and dance performances on campus that they were so fond of. They consistently support Ben’s Tix, a program designed to make the Center’s programming more affordable for students, in addition to investing in its theatre and annual giving funds—initiatives that address the Annenberg Center’s daily operating costs. Nothing brings the Feintuchs greater satisfaction than knowing how much of an impact they are having by giving back to the Center.
“Our sons were able to attend many Annenberg events during their student years,” Richard shares. “We can think of no better way to improve the overall Penn experience for generations.”
Richard’s pride in his role as vice chair of the Annenberg Center’s Board of Overseers is as evident as the commitment to the Center that he shares with Merry. Their generous ongoing support continues to make the performing arts an affordable and uplifting experience for countless students at Penn.Learn more about the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
“From teamwork to accountability to perseverance, the lessons learned being on the Penn Fencing team will have a lifelong impact on student athletes and help shape who they are as individuals.”
– Jeffrey Charles Young
When one thinks of college athletics, it is common to envision quarterbacks throwing spirals, softballs flying to the outfield, or basketballs swishing through nets. But the very best athletics programs encompass many more sports that improve the physical and mental fitness of its participants. Jeffrey Young, C’86, knows this for a fact. As a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, Jeffrey was a three-year participant and letterman for Penn Fencing, and his practice in parrying and lunging significantly enhanced his undergraduate experience as well as his personal development.
To enable future Quakers to enjoy the same benefits he gained from competing on the team, Jeffrey has made contributions to the Fencing Program Fund. By naming a strip in the Coach Dave Micahnik Fencing Center and supporting equipment and travel costs, Jeffrey is helping the young fencers cultivate traits that will serve them well in their professional lives, such as leadership, focus, and dedication.
“When a student-athlete comes to Penn, they become part of the team and the family that is Penn Fencing,” Jeffrey says. “I would expect the impact of my recent gift to not only help support the operational needs of the fencing program, but also to have an impact on the lives of the student-athletes who attend Penn.”
In addition to his generosity, Jeffrey’s engagement as co-chair of Penn Fencing’s advisory board helps the team build on a century-old tradition of competition. Jeffrey feels that alumni are particularly motivated by niches that enriched their own college experiences. “Whether it is athletics, academics, or other areas of Penn, alumni have a special bond to the University that creates enthusiasm and ongoing support.”Learn more about Penn Athletics
“We would like to see ICA become as well-known among the Penn community as it is among the global contemporary art community.”
– David E. Simon and
Stephanie B. Simon
As alumni, philanthropists, and volunteer leaders, David, W’95, WG’01, and Stephanie Simon, C’96, W’96, have a tangible faith in the University’s allocation of unrestricted giving—monies that can be directed to address Penn’s most pressing needs. They recently chose to demonstrate that same belief in the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), led by Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director Amy Sadao.
“Having endowed a scholarship already, we have come to know and trust University leadership and their stewardship with unrestricted gifts,” shared David. “After spending time getting to know Amy and her team, we gained confidence in their collective abilities and vision, as well.”
The Simons’ love of art and its power to inspire and provoke conversation compelled them to create the David E. and Stephanie B. Simon Fund at the ICA. The gift also reflects the couple’s commitment to unrestricted giving and their desire to expand their interests at the University. “We desired to have a more tailored impact, so we were looking to increase our engagement with a specific School or Center,” David said. “ICA, under Amy’s leadership, was a perfect fit.”
The Institute of Contemporary Art isn’t just a Center. Its cutting-edge exhibitions and programming have forged a community where a free exchange of ideas is encouraged and visitors are incited to experience with each of the senses. The Simon Fund will keep this free-flowing exchange going strong.
“Amy has conveyed such unbridled enthusiasm and a passionate vision for bringing ICA to the next level,” the Simons say. “We hope that our support contributes to elevating ICA’s presence among students and alumni.”Learn more about the Institute of Contemporary Art
“The Libraries are at the leading edge of integrating technology into Penn’s academic life.”
– Jeff Hectman and
In today’s world, libraries are so much more than card catalogues and rows of packed bookshelves. They are centers of collaborative and interactive learning, offering access to digital media and technologies that bring information to the user across campus, or across the globe. For Penn Libraries Overseer Jeff Hechtman, W’86, and his wife Ilene, the University’s libraries have become one of the principal means by which faculty creatively integrate technology into teaching and students take advantage of innovation like never before.
“As the volume of information increases exponentially, Penn will need innovative tools to access and organize information for students and faculty,” the Hechtmans express.
To that end, the couple has established the Hechtman Innovation Fund at the Penn Libraries. Its purpose is to provide the Vice Provost and Director of Libraries with the resources to launch new initiatives and respond to emerging opportunities that set the University apart from other institutions.
“We hope that our fund will be the beginning of a sustained effort to make innovation a central theme of Penn Libraries in order to satisfy the ever-changing needs of the Penn community,” say the Hechtmans.
As Penn Libraries continue to evolve into primary repositories for collecting all manner of knowledge—from ancient texts to cutting-edge software—and disseminating it in readily accessible ways, the Hechtmans anticipate that their philanthropy will help the University stay at the forefront of 21st-century teaching and learning.
“From the classroom to the media lab to the commons and databases, our hope is that the Innovation Fund will facilitate creative thinking about new ways to learn in a communal setting,” Jeff and Ilene say. In turn, “Penn can continue to offer the resources that attract faculty and students of the highest caliber.”
Learn more about Penn Libraries
“Preserving the beauty and the history of the Morris Arboretum as one of Philadelphia’s premier public gardens and education centers ensures that this institution will continue to benefit future generations of Arboretum visitors.”
– Hiram H. Munger
Many of the volunteers who offer their time to help maintain the Morris Arboretum’s 92-acre landscape come from the surrounding northwest Philadelphia neighborhoods. But Hiram Munger travels more than an hour from his home in Allentown to labor in the gardens on a weekly basis.
“My serious involvement with the Morris Arboretum started with a pair of pruning shears,” Hiram says with a laugh, referring to the free garden tool that the Arboretum gives to each volunteer to commemorate their service. Beyond his green thumb, Hiram has offered his service in support of the annual plant sale and generously donates to many of the Arboretum’s initiatives. In 2014, he took his devotion one step further by establishing the Hiram H. Munger Hill & Cloud Garden Endowment.
The Hill & Cloud Garden—one of the original Japanese-inspired garden exhibits built by the Arboretum’s founders John and Lydia Morris—had experienced a period of neglect. After adopting the Garden as a personal volunteer project, Hiram removed overgrown and invasive plants, which revealed the traditional Japanese design among the rocks and along the small stream of the Garden. Hiram’s cultivation revived a sacred space where Arboretum visitors find respite in its serenity.
Hiram had long considered making a planned gift to support the Arboretum, and his extraordinary multi-year commitment will help to preserve the Hill & Cloud Garden for the enjoyment of generations to come.Learn more about the Morris Arboretum
“We support the Penn Museum because it is one of the foremost cultural treasures in Philadelphia and the world.”
– Adolf A. Paier and
Geraldine S. Paier
In March 2014, the Penn Museum opened a new, 5-year exhibition called Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now. Multimedia stations throughout the gallery feature an assortment of perspectives—from artists and activists to journalists and scholars—to offer visitors a varied and updated view of the Native American experience, celebrating the culture of Native people and highlighting challenges they face today. Leading support for the exhibit has been provided by Adolf Paier, W’60, and Geraldine Paier, HUP’66, NU’68, GNU’85, GR’94. Their contribution to Native American Voices gives visitors from all over the world an opportunity to see more than 300 objects representing various tribes and nations from across North America.
“We have a particular interest in the Native American collection, and the Penn Museum is only one of a few museums in the U.S. that actively support these cultural groups with programs that encourage contemporary artists, storytellers, and others to help keep these cultures alive,” says Geraldine.
Dividing their time between homes in Philadelphia and Arizona—where they can really embrace their love of Native American art, crafts, and culture—the Paiers remain deeply committed to Penn Museum. Adolf, a former Museum Overseer, now serves on the Director’s Council to discuss major strategic initiatives, while Geraldine has been a longtime volunteer who joined the Board of Overseers herself in 2007. Together, the two not only have supported the Museum, but also have given to Penn Nursing, The Penn Fund, and their reunion and scholarship funds. However, it is clear that their passion for philanthropy and engagement is strongest with the Museum.
“We are proud to be one of the sponsors of the current exhibition, which highlights the Museum’s important mission,” says Geraldine.Learn more about Penn Museum