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 the responsibility to respect the dignity of others. Educating students to effectively communicate this message and to be of service to all people is the enduring mission of this school.”
– Walter Annenberg
The Annenberg School for Communication is unquestionably one of the premier graduate schools for the study of communication. Philanthropist Walter Annenberg established the School out of his belief that every human advancement or reversal can be understood through communication. The Annenberg scholarly community is, to this day, driven by that belief. The School retains its eminence thanks to the far-reaching support of the Annenberg Foundation.
The School’s faculty members are widely regarded as some of the foremost communication scholars in the world, and their research proliferates across academia nationally and globally. The Annenberg School’s faculty expertise is so well-respected that, on average, someone from the School is quoted in the media every day.
Excellent faculty members attract top doctoral students. It is no surprise, then, that the Annenberg School’s doctoral program is one of the most competitive in the communication field, with only about 5 percent of applicants gaining admission. Those who are accepted prove their mettle; in 2013, more than one-third of the student body presented their research at the annual International Communication Association conference in London. Nine students received ten major awards, including four students who each won “Best Paper” honors.
When top faculty and innovative graduate students join forces, they make for exceptional impact in the academic arena. Annenberg scholars lead the way in shaping emerging areas of global interest—the School recently hosted a watershed conference on “big data” and the impact of tailored marketing and advertising in politics. Its Center for Global Communication Studies has been tracking the development of media infrastructures in emerging democracies, and its Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research, which determines how people obtain information about cancer, its treatment, and its causes, is one of only five such centers in the nation. Voters across the nation are familiar with FactCheck.org, the brand that people trust to bring them accurate political information. The website is just one product of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, a hub of knowledge that informs crucial debates in the public interest.
Having hired six new, enterprising faculty members in the last year and a half, the Annenberg School is witnessing a generational transformation that will strengthen its commitment to world-class research and teaching, and ensure its eminent position for years to come.
“The point of a liberal arts education is that it gives you tremendous breadth. Whether you study history or literature, you gain a context for human behavior that more technical fields may not offer. And ultimately, of course, life is about people.”
– Sarah W. Fuller
In the past decade, the School of Arts and Sciences has established itself as an interdisciplinary powerhouse with some of the country’s most competitive academic programs and eminent faculty. During much of that time, Rebecca Bushnell has been at the helm as Dean, guiding the School to its current prestige and setting it on a course for future success.
When Rebecca Bushnell’s tenure as Dean came to a close in June 2013, the School’s Board of Overseers decided to recognize her deanship with a special gift—the creation of an endowed chair that will eventually be named in her honor. Upon stepping down as Dean, Bushnell became the School of Arts and Sciences Board of Overseers Professor of English. Once she retires from the faculty—in a nod to her legacy of interdisciplinary education—the position will become the Rebecca W. Bushnell Professorship in the Sciences.
Overseer Sarah Wilder Fuller provided the lead gift for the chair and was joined by dozens of other Overseers and generous friends of the School.
“We’ve exceeded our goal for the chair,” Fuller says. “That’s an excellent indication of how the Overseers value Rebecca’s contribution. A deanship is one of the more challenging positions; it’s not a command-and-control structure—you do it by persuasion. Rebecca brought subtlety and wisdom to things that are not easy to handle.”
A committed volunteer, Fuller has also served as a University Trustee and a member of several advisory boards, including the Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business and the Vagelos Program in Life Sciences & Management. She views interdisciplinary education as a strength that Penn must continue to fortify.
“SAS has done some extraordinary things. It’s on fire, particularly because it has been able to play so many multidisciplinary cards,” Fuller says. “The whole focus on integration of knowledge—which has always been at the core of Penn—has been met with an extraordinary level of success.”
“Finding ways to make a positive contribution to society is deeply ingrained in our family’s values, and education is one important area where we can promote opportunity for others. We are honored to support future dental leaders from Penn, an institution that means so much to our family.”
– Stanley M. Bergman
Living in apartheid-era South Africa, Stanley and Marion Bergman witnessed firsthand how racial discrimination and inequities create gaps in access to health care. A lack of black health care providers in the racially divided nation led them to become involved with Medical Education for South African Blacks (MESAB), a nonprofit organization that supported the development of 10,000 new caregivers. Moving to the U.S., they found a place where, in Stanley’s words, “all people have the opportunity to advance their own careers and live by their own personal values.” Yet, when it comes to health, a relative shortage of minority doctors and dentists in the U.S. poses obstacles to increasing the level of wellness in their communities.
“Studies have found that patient rapport with health professionals of one’s own culture improves case acceptance and personal commitment to care, and improves the health status of the entire population,” Stanley notes, adding, “We strongly believe that emphasizing support for minorities in dental education and within the profession is essential.”
This conviction influenced the Bergmans to create the Stanley & Marion Bergman Scholarship at Penn Dental Medicine. The Bergman Scholarship aligns with the University’s efforts at promoting diversity within the student body and the Bergmans’ desire to “help overcome the underrepresentation of minorities in the U.S. oral health system and advance access to care for all.”
Stanley is the Chairman of the Board and CEO of the world’s largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, animal health, and medical practitioners. He was motivated to become involved with the University after meeting Edward B. Shils, a former Penn professor who helped him to better understand the oral health community. Inspired by Penn and its “exceptional programs,” Stanley became an Overseer at Penn Dental Medicine in 1997. “From a professional perspective, the insight into state-of-the-art dental education and clinical research has been very valuable,” Stanley says. “From a personal perspective, learning from faculty and administration and working with students at Penn is part of our commitment to lifelong learning. We are very proud to continue supporting the University and its work to expand access to care to its neighboring communities.”Learn more about Penn Dental
“The architecture program at Penn has always been a nationwide leader, with exceptional faculty and students. This studio should be a state-of-the-art facility for the way students and faculty work today.”
– Stephen Glascock
Penn’s School of Design has upheld its mission to stay vital and relevant since its inception, promoting excellence in design across a broad range of interdisciplinary programs. Faculty and students of urban planning, fine arts, digital media, historic preservation, and structural and landscape architecture develop works of aesthetic and practical value in a collaborative environment that expands knowledge and fosters experimentation. Alumni Barbara Van Beuren and Stephen Glascock are helping to ensure that the tradition of excellence continues at PennDesign with a generous gift to renovate the architectural studios at Meyerson Hall.
Barbara and Steve can personally attest to the merits of the School’s program. The couple run a New York-based development firm that draws upon much of what they accomplished during their time at Penn.
“The design process that we learned while at Penn is the core of our approach to real estate development,” Steve says. “It forms the backbone of how we think about all projects. And, on a personal level, I met my future wife in Penn’s architecture program. We recently celebrated our 25th anniversary.”
The updated architectural studios will afford students the physical and creative space to work cooperatively as well as independently. With arresting views of Penn’s campus for inspiration, and ample computers, software, and work tables at their service, PennDesign’s students will get the preparation they’ll need to meet the demands of a career in architecture or any number of related areas.
Steve and Barbara agree that, “these days, the success of a project is as much about the design as the dollars.” Their firm is currently establishing its own standards for high-density urban living environments. “One of the staff on that project is a highly qualified Penn grad,” Steve adds. “It’s an exciting project, and ultimately it stems from understanding the importance of good design.”Learn more about PennDesign
“Penn has enabled us to make lifelong contacts and has opened doors for both of us professionally. We agreed that if we could provide that same kind of invaluable experience to another student, we would not miss that opportunity.”
– Lois Kohn-Claar
Lois Kohn-Claar and Gary Claar agree that the Graduate School of Education (GSE) produces educators of the highest caliber who are dedicated to improving student achievement. A GSE alumna and Overseer, Lois is keenly aware that to build on this mission, GSE cannot miss out on talented applicants due to their financial circumstances.
Thanks to the Kohn-Claar Family Endowed Scholarship—and a matching gift from the Abramson/Weiss Scholarship Challenge—Lois and Gary are strengthening GSE’s ability to shape leaders in education for years to come.
“I think we all realize how important education is to our country’s future,” Lois declares. “Financial aid is indispensable to keeping our University the first-class and diverse institution that it is. It is a win-win situation to enroll the most qualified candidates, who will go on to represent Penn and GSE in the greater world.”
Real-world field experience is a critical component of the GSE teacher education curriculum. Partnerships with various schools in West Philadelphia instill GSE students with an understanding of the challenges of urban education, something Lois credits as one of the most important learning experiences of her time at Penn.
“I certainly view my GSE training as the pinnacle of my Penn education,” Lois says. “As a junior, I was given the opportunity to sub-matriculate into the Graduate School of Education and, for a twenty-year-old, the practical training I got student teaching in Philadelphia was remarkable.”
With such a strong commitment to education and to the University’s goals, remaining engaged with Penn was an easy decision for Lois and Gary. “As my husband and I became more involved at Penn as alumni, it was a natural step for me to get involved with GSE,” Lois notes. “If our scholarship helps create just one more great educator, then we have made a mark.”
“While Penn Engineering’s reputation has grown and flourished over the years, it has stayed true to the core principles established when I was enrolled some years ago. Those core principles and the School’s steadfast commitment to innovation are what keep me engaged with Penn.” – Frederick J. Warren
Throughout his studies at Penn and his career as a venture capitalist, Frederick Warren has consistently been a proponent of new technologies and at the ground floor of new discoveries. He was a cross-disciplinary pioneer at Penn—as a freshman, he suggested the framework for what is today the competitive Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology.
Not surprisingly, the interdisciplinary area of networks and social systems appealed to Fred and Robin Grace Warren when deciding where to invest in Penn. Their gift to establish the Warren Center for Network and Data Sciences will attract industry experts, renowned faculty, and exceptional doctoral and postdoctoral students who, together, will comprise an intellectual engine that drives a new economy.
“Networked engineering and social systems are going to be more and more important in our world—they are pervasive in all aspects of our lives,” says Fred. “We think that Penn may end up having the biggest share of the academic market and become one of the strongest players in this field.”
This burgeoning area of study is at the intersection of computer science, behavioral economics, and mathematics. It manifests itself in how we find information and how information finds us—how technology helps us make and fortify our social connections.
During his early days in the emerging field of venture capital, Fred Warren strongly believed in investing in pioneers in the early stages of their work. With technology driving much of the world’s entrepreneurial activity today, the Warrens would like the Center to be a place where innovative ideas are nurtured from concept through development and on to the initial funding phase. The Warrens are confident that their vision will come to fruition at Penn.
“The Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology and the Raj and Neera Singh Program in Networked & Social Systems Engineering already demonstrate the elite product and competitive advantage that only this University can offer,” Fred says. “We hope that the Warren Center will develop the reputation for being the very best academic and technology incubator of its kind.”
“We recognize the positive ‘ripple effect’ of making Penn accessible to the most talented students, and we share Penn Law’s vision of what a top-tier legal education can mean for society.”
– David L. Cohen
When it comes to his alma mater, David L. Cohen, Chair of Penn’s Board of Trustees, is unequivocal about the personal significance of his academic experience. “Rhonda and I are incredibly grateful to Penn Law for the education that has been the foundation of so much that we have done—in the private sector, in city government, in the nonprofit world, and here at Penn,” he says.
He and his wife, Rhonda—also a Penn Law graduate—are equally ardent about making graduate education more affordable. This year, they established the Rhonda R. and David L. Cohen Scholarship Fund, which will pay, in large part, one Penn Law student’s tuition each year. “By lifting the burden of law school debt from these students, we hope to free them to think more expansively about how to use their legal educations for maximal social impact,” Rhonda says. Several years ago, the Cohens endowed the Cohen Public Interest Fellowship, which funds student-run pro bono projects.
The Cohens have also signaled their broad-based support for increasing access to Penn by endowing the Rhonda R. and David L. Cohen Scholarship Fund for undergraduates. “We’ve had a chance to see firsthand the benefits of education, both in our own family and with our involvement with the city and in public life,” says Rhonda. “So we know that supporting Penn’s scholarship programs is more than a question of fairness. It’s about our collective obligation to the next generation.”
In his role as University Trustee, David Cohen has helped drive Penn’s commitment to need-based, grant-only financial aid. “Educating the finest young minds so they can become the leaders of tomorrow is absolutely the key to our shared future as a society,” he says. “It is an institutional priority that we at Penn consider our ‘sacred pledge,’ and it is a promise that Rhonda and I are proud to support.”Learn more about Penn Law
“The Henry A. Jordan M’62 Medical Education Center offers Penn Medicine and its students an unprecedented opportunity for meaningful interaction between students, their faculty mentors, and the medical community. Penn’s tradition of educational collaboration will thrive in this new Center of learning.”
– Barbara McNeil Jordan
The late Henry A. Jordan, M.D., M’62, RES’67, was a loyal and dedicated alumnus of Penn Medicine. He demonstrated his love of this institution by his unwavering commitment to the School and, in particular, to the students who he felt would be leaders in the health care system in America. Dr. Jordan was a former associate professor of Psychiatry at Penn, and served as an inaugural member of the Penn Medicine Board of Trustees, Chair of the Campaign for Penn Medicine, a member of Penn’s Board of Trustees, and Co-Chair of the Making History Campaign. Together, Dr. Jordan and his wife, “Barrie,” established the Jordan Center of Gynecologic Cancer at the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn and created scholarships for Penn medical students.
“Henry possessed a thirst for knowledge and a passion for making our world a safer, healthier place for all people,” says Barrie Jordan. “Getting to know our Jordan scholars was important to us as their minds were exceptional, and their dedication to medicine and to their communities inspiring.”
Mrs. Jordan and her family’s generous gift to name the Henry A. Jordan M’62 Medical Education Center will ensure the legacy of Dr. Jordan’s devotion to Penn Medicine and its students. The transformative new facility will share space with the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, the Smilow Center for Translational Research, and the Roberts Proton Therapy Center. Plans include conference and seminar rooms, wired classrooms, an auditorium, offices, and a rooftop patio and garden.
Reflecting the eminence of the University and the Perelman School of Medicine, the Henry A. Jordan M’62 Medical Education Center will make Penn one of the only universities in the country that fully integrates its classroom space with active clinical and research facilities. The location of the Center and its state-of-the-art technology will connect students with Penn Medicine’s laboratories and clinics as well as other leading educational institutions and centers around the world.
“Our family is honored to have Henry’s name on the Education Center,” says Barrie Jordan. “We know he would be thrilled with Penn’s commitment to leadership and a cutting-edge approach to today’s world of medicine.”Learn more about the Perelman School of Medicine
“We hope that this award raises awareness of the health issues women and girls face today, and encourages innovative solutions to these problems. By rewarding those at the forefront of this field, we hope to empower female leaders across the globe.”
– Jean Renfield-Miller
The late Beatrice Renfield devoted years of service and resources as an advocate for the nursing profession. Her sister, Jean Renfield-Miller, president of the Beatrice Renfield Foundation, has continued this legacy of support through the Foundation’s longstanding partnership with Penn’s School of Nursing, including gifts to the Urban Women’s Health initiative and the recently established Center for Global Women’s Health. Now the legacy and the partnership have been further enhanced, thanks to a new and visionary gift to establish the Penn Nursing Renfield Foundation Award for Global Women’s Health.
“Penn Nursing is an incredible school that develops innovative and intelligent leaders who are making the world a better place,” Jean Renfield-Miller says. “So we find it only natural that Penn Nursing has begun extending its reach into the sphere of global women’s health.”
The award will be housed at the Center for Global Women’s Health, which began receiving nominations in July for the inaugural award that will be given May 15, 2014. Aligned with the Center’s mission of advocacy, empowerment, and innovation, the award will be given to individuals who have demonstrated leadership in improving the health of women by advocating for new policies or programs, by forging innovative solutions to the issues impacting the lives and health of women and girls, or by empowering women to lead their institutions, communities, and nations as well as their homes. The Penn Nursing Renfield Foundation Award will be the School’s first international award and its highest honor in global innovation for the health of women and girls.
“It is critical that eminent institutions like Penn put their expertise behind the search for solutions to women’s global issues because the health and safety of women has far-reaching effects,” Ms. Renfield-Miller says. “Penn’s leadership brings us closer to improving the well-being of girls and women throughout the world, which will afford them greater opportunities for education, for making better decisions for themselves and their families, and for becoming leaders within their own communities and beyond.”Learn more about the School of Nursing
“Giving to the School of Social Policy & Practice offers me twice the benefit. Not only do I get to support Penn, but I get to support finding solutions to some of society’s most pressing social issues.”
– Steven M. Feldman
Steven M. Feldman and the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) see the big picture when it comes to outreach. Together they are helping to plant the seeds for positive change in Penn’s surrounding communities.
Thanks to a generous gift from the Steven and Suzanne Feldman Family Foundation, run by Feldman’s wife Suzanne Studier-Feldman—combined with a contribution from Goldman Sachs Gives—SP2’s Community Teamworks is making a difference in neighborhoods throughout West Philadelphia. The program brings together Penn students, faculty, staff, and alumni and provides opportunities for local engagement through hands-on volunteer activities in support of local nonprofits.
“Community Teamworks, developed by Goldman Sachs, is a very impressive service program that we would like to see become a national model,” Feldman says. “Working with SP2, we’ve been able to bring Community Teamworks to Penn. Hopefully, over time, the program will travel to other universities.”
SP2 is already extending Community Teamworks to other Schools and Centers throughout Penn. Since the program’s inception in 2012, SP2 has partnered with the Center for Bioethics, the Perelman School of Medicine, Penn Nursing, the Graduate School of Education, Penn Dental, and Wharton to engage scores of volunteers from across the University for Community Teamworks activities.
Steven Feldman’s philanthropy is an important element in the success of Community Teamworks, but volunteerism has also defined his ongoing involvement with Penn. He has been a member of the Board of Overseers at SP2 since 2006. And, as a participant in the Penn Alumni Interview Program, Feldman has, for more than 20 years, helped ensure that the University continues to discover and admit the best, brightest, and most suitable applicants.
“Interviewing prospective students was a way to stay connected and to give back to Penn from the day I graduated,” Feldman says. “And philanthropy isn’t as easy when you are still paying off student loans.”
“The clinicians at Penn Vet are creating the new procedures and techniques that are bringing veterinary medicine into the 21st century. They are moving the veterinary community forward.”
– Mina Ebrahimi
Mina Ebrahimi, owner of a catering firm in northern Virginia, first brought Jack, her chocolate lab, to Penn Vet’s Matthew J. Ryan Hospital nine years ago at the suggestion of her local veterinarian. Jack had a liver shunt, a congenital condition that required surgery. The team at Penn Vet used a minimally invasive technique that had previously been used only on humans—and it saved Jack’s life. The care and expertise Jack received inspired Mina tremendously. She expressed her gratitude with an incredible gift—naming the Jack Miller-Ebrahimi Program for Interventional Radiology at Penn Vet.
“If Penn Vet wasn’t around, my dog would have died,” Mina comments. “That experience created a whole new world for me. I wanted to support them financially and help them get the equipment they need. The relationship I’ve built with the doctors, and their dedication to the animals and to the School, mean a lot to me.”
Mina continues to bring her dogs to Penn Vet, and connects with the clinicians when she visits to discuss how she can support new treatments, procedures, and research. Her recent gifts to the Ryan Hospital Small Equipment Fund have been used to purchase a plethora of medical supplies, from anesthesia and surgical tables to imaging and laser equipment. Additionally, she has supported research in new stem cell therapies and other studies. And, she has been a generous funder of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, sponsoring the training, health care, and food for a puppy being groomed for service, as well as marketing materials to build awareness of the Center.
“The care and treatment of animals has always been a topic that is close to my heart, and many other people’s as well,” Mina says. “I’m happy to help with a cause that is so dear to so many, and Penn Vet is the best place to do so.”Learn more about the School of Veterinary Medicine
“Penn is home. In my business, I come across Wharton alumni every day whom I either knew from school or met after, and we share that kindred history.”
– Karen Finerman
A contributor on CNBC’s Fast Money, and author of the recently published book Finerman’s Rules: Secrets I’d Only Tell My Daughters About Business and Life, Wharton alumna Karen Finerman is constantly getting out the message about a cause she supports wholeheartedly: financial independence for women.
Motivated by her own experience as a powerful woman in the world of finance, Finerman and her husband, Lawrence Golub, established a named endowed scholarship for female undergraduates in the Wharton School. Their generous contribution will allow Wharton women to graduate without significant debt, and will prepare them to build wealth that will hopefully transfer over generations.
“We feel strongly that financial independence is important for everyone,” says Finerman. “However, it is uniquely important for underprivileged women because with even just one member of the family reaching financial independence, the whole course of that family’s future can change.”
Finerman’s own family has a long history at Penn and Wharton; she counts more than a dozen family members as alumni, including her mother, father, two sisters, and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. Her Wharton education, and the invaluable connections she has made with fellow alumni, have given Finerman a unique perspective on how women can benefit from financial literacy and management.
“So often I see women who are only too eager to surrender control of their finances,” she says. “You would never let someone else decide where you live, where you send your kids to school, or how you vote. Why would you relinquish your financial power when it touches nearly every aspect of your life?”
Finerman frequently brings the wisdom she shares on television to the Penn community, speaking on panels for the Penn Club of New York and at Alumni Weekend. Penn is where she was able to combine her business acumen with her knack for networking to build personal and professional success, and she hopes that the students who benefit from her and Lawrence’s support will do the same.
“College is a chance to grow, and learn and live with your friends as you all contemplate your futures,” she says. “Nothing can replace that period in your lives. The relationships built at Penn last a lifetime.”
“Penn students recognize that dance is an important part of the performing arts and a well-rounded university experience. The newly renovated studio will create a much-needed home base for dance at Penn.”
– Allison D. Powell
Philadelphia is home to a stellar cultural landscape, including the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, which annually hosts performances by dance companies of national and international renown. Allison Powell and her husband, Tom Vandever, have set out to ensure that dance will flourish at Penn for years to come with their generous pledge to renovate the Annenberg Center’s dance studio.
While the Annenberg Center’s theaters and rehearsal spaces are used throughout the academic year, until now, the Annenberg Center relied on income from renting the studio to outside dance groups in order to boost its operating budget. But with Allison and Tom’s financial support, the Center can now keep the space available for use by members of Penn’s robust student dance community.
As someone who used to rehearse 20 hours a week during her undergraduate years with the student-run modern and jazz dance troupe Penn Dance, Allison understands the importance of both giving back to Penn and encouraging the proliferation of arts on campus. “It is most rewarding to know that the studio where I spent so much time exploring my abilities and creativity in dance, and developed so many fond memories and friendships, will be restored to provide that same nurturing environment for current and future dancers at Penn,” Allison says.
Dance enthusiasts of all interests and backgrounds can find a place to express their creativity and get moving in a number of student dance troupes on campus—Penn Dance, the Pan Asian Dance Troupe, Penn Latin & Ballroom Dance, and African Rhythms, to name a few.
“One of the many great things about Penn is that it provides artistic outlets and opportunities for its students as well as the larger community,” says Allison. “We hope that renovating the dance studio enhances the relationships between the local and international dance companies that perform at the Annenberg Center and Penn students by providing a space for people to interact and dance.”
“Although playing on Franklin Field was one of the highlights of my college experience, the field hockey team needed and deserved a dedicated field. I am delighted to play a small role in making it happen because the field will bring a new and exciting era to the field hockey program.”
– Karen Saah
For Karen Saah, involvement in team sports generates rewards that go beyond physical fitness or victory medals. “Being an athlete allowed me to interact with students that I probably would not have met otherwise,” she says. “Twenty years later, I still remember the women who were on my teams and the strong work ethic, dedication, and team spirit that they demonstrated. Those qualities have certainly shaped me as a person.” Honing these traits through participating in three sports and winning two Ivy League championships in field hockey helped Karen earn a post-graduate fellowship and launch her career as a corporate attorney.
Deeply aware of the benefits athletes gain by having a place to call home, Karen has made a gift to the Ellen Vagelos C’90 Field. The newly opened hockey field will be suitable for international competition, and its proximity to Rhodes Field will enable faithful fans of the Red and Blue to simultaneously watch the field hockey and soccer teams in action. The Vagelos Field is part of a host of initiatives that are strengthening the sense of community and personal achievement fostered by Penn Athletics.
A proud Penn alum, Karen had been supporting the University for several years but sought a more personal connection with the programs that had so enriched her college experience. When she was asked to join the Field Hockey Board, she jumped at the opportunity. “Developing channels for alumni to contribute to specific programs and organizations with which they have a personal interest will help Penn maintain and build upon its status as a world-class institution. The Field Hockey Board has been a great platform for me to connect with Penn in a meaningful way.”Learn more about Penn Athletics
“The Institute of Contemporary Art is significant as one of the only ‘kunsthalles’ found on a university campus that is really cutting-edge and first-rate. This only enhances the stature of the University and should be part of the attraction to Penn for potential students.”
– Stephen R. Weber
Dorothy and Stephen R. Weber feel strongly that exposure to the arts is part of a well-rounded education, and their longstanding support for the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is proof of their convictions. A member of ICA’s Board of Overseers since 2002 who currently serves as Vice Chair, Stephen Weber is also aware that with demanding academic schedules and other commitments, students may need some encouragement in accessing the exciting and challenging art experiences available right here on Penn’s campus. The couple’s generous gift to endow The Dorothy and Stephen R. Weber (CHE’60) Program Curator will help ICA continue its 50-year tradition of avant-garde exhibitions and increase the visibility of this unique venue on campus and beyond.
“ICA isn’t just a stand-alone gallery at 36th and Sansom—it really is part of the University,” Stephen Weber says. “The Program Curator is essential to making ICA a real part of student life at Penn, which is no easy task as students are busy and they have their own definition of what relaxation is. ICA can be proactive about piquing their curiosity through the work of the Program Curator.”
ICA presents close to 100 programs a year—groundbreaking exhibitions by emerging and internationally known artists, as well as artists’ talks, workshops, and other experiences that are original, interactive, educational, and fun. A volunteer Student Advisory Board serves as ICA ambassadors across Penn’s campus. All visitors to ICA are admitted free of charge.
“The ICA is a world-class contemporary museum, unique in the United States,” Stephen Weber says. “Students owe it to themselves to stick their heads in the ICA sometime during their time at Penn—even if just once. Harvard and Yale have world-class museums but they don’t have anything like the ICA. The Penn campus is a better place for having this kind of activity.”Learn more about the Institute of Contemporary Art
“Technology-rich learning environments are in high demand on campus because they enable Penn students to have a say in their education. We believe the Collaborative Classroom will foster the types of interactions that students will experience in the 21st century work world.”
– Larry Bass
Larry Bass and Chuck MacDonald, both Wharton graduates, are contributing to the exciting renovations taking place at the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. Inspired by their belief that collaboration and technology are the future of education, they have pooled their resources to create the Collaborative Classroom of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, a joint project between Penn Libraries and the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education (SCUE).
Fittingly, the idea for the Collaborative Classroom was borne from two former SCUE chairs: Scott Dzialo, W’13, and Joyce Greenbaum, C’12. Located on the first floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, the Classroom will be a laboratory where users can experiment with problem-based learning. Larry’s and Chuck’s gifts comprise an innovation fund to provide resources for the Classroom—including tables with laptop connections, an instructor’s station, projection surfaces and whiteboards, and wireless Internet—as well as staff to support it. When it opens, the Collaborative Classroom will be available as a collaborative teaching space or for students to use for independent and group study.
“The Libraries have taken a lead in developing technology-rich group learning spaces,” shares Larry, a founding member of the SCUE, “and the marriage of the SCUE’s and the Libraries’ goals in this area will be a perfect fit.” Larry’s daughter Marisa Bass, C’08, WG’14, a key figure in the family’s participation, adds, “I hope the Collaborative Classroom will inspire professors and students alike to develop innovative and interdisciplinary coursework to best prepare students for the professional world they will join upon graduation.”
Over the past decade, Penn Libraries have increasingly focused on the intersection of teaching and technology. Larry and Chuck’s investment in the Collaborative Classroom expands on this mission, and is a superb example of the ability of Penn alumni to join forces toward a shared goal. “As a member of the Penn Libraries’ Board of Overseers, I have seen firsthand the dynamic impact these new learning spaces are having on Penn’s community,” says Chuck. “I was very inspired by the Bass family’s enthusiasm for the Collaborative Classroom, and am glad to help bring this innovative project to the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library.”Learn more about Penn Libraries
“Increasing awareness of the Morris Arboretum and its relationship to Penn, and ensuring that more Penn students than ever have the chance to experience and remember it, will, in the long term, enhance the stature of the Arboretum as well as that of the University.”
– Kathie and Bill Hohns
Bill and Kathie Hohns are passionate about the Morris Arboretum, one of the University’s finest cultural resources. Located just 13 miles from Penn’s campus, accessible by public transportation, and offering free admittance to Penn students and staff, this historic public garden and research center is the perfect place to escape—for a quiet day of study or simply to connect with the beauties of the natural world. Yet, when Bill and Kathie began partnering with the Arboretum in 2008 to increase student visitation, they learned that less than 1 percent of Penn students had visited or even knew about the Arboretum.
“We were not entirely surprised,” Bill Hohns reflected. “We had heard all too often, over Alumni or Homecoming Weekend, an alumnus say, ‘I wish I had known about the Arboretum when I was a student here.’”
The Hohns generously supported programs that would build awareness of the Arboretum among Penn students—from handing out small plants during student orientation to partnering with student groups and professors and providing transportation to get students there—and saw visitation grow in excess of 8 percent of the entire student body. Buoyed by the success of their ongoing partnership, Bill and Kathie recently established the Hohns Family Enhancing Student Cultural Access to Penn Entities (“ESCAPE”) programs, most notable among these, the Morris Arboretum ESCAPE Fund. Their aim is to support programs designed to integrate the Arboretum into the Penn student experience and to build awareness of the Morris Arboretum as a meaningful and functional unit of the University.
The Arboretum’s knowledgeable staff has enthusiastically embraced the program’s mission. “Now almost everything that happens at the Arboretum carries an additional question,” Bill notes. “How does this benefit the students at Penn and how do we involve them, make them aware, and enhance their experience?”
Just as gratifying as observing the steady increase in student attendance at the Arboretum has been the spirit of collaboration that Bill and Kathie have experienced in bringing their vision to life. Bill encourages his fellow alums to identify those interests they are passionate about and to merge them with the many avenues Penn offers for getting involved. “The alumni will have one heck of a good time doing it,” he adds. “Our experience tells us that in volumes.”
“The West Wing renovations are an essential element of the Master Plan to update our historic 19th-century building to 21st-century standards. They will advance our primary goal—to preserve and display the irreplaceable treasures of the Museum’s collection for scholars, students, and visitors.”
– Peggy and Bruce Mainwaring
Since 2010, the Penn Museum has embarked on a major renovation of the West Wing of its original 1899 building, adding much-needed climate control, refurbishing five beautiful public galleries and the distinctive Widener Lecture Room, and creating a state-of-the-art suite of laboratories for conservation and archaeological materials analysis. Lead donors to this important renovation—as they were to the creation of the Mainwaring Wing for collections storage opened on the east side of the plant in 2002—are Peggy and Bruce Mainwaring, who have literally supported the Museum from end to end.
Former vice chair and chair of the Museum’s Board of Overseers and a Board member since 1983, Bruce credits his training as a navigator in the Navy for sparking his interest. “It led to an interest in astronomy,” he explains. “That, in turn, led to archaeoastronomy, which developed into an interest in archaeology. Therefore, supporting the Museum is a natural choice.”
With a particular interest in Egyptology, Bruce is among thousands of visitors excited by one of the exhibitions in the newly renovated West Wing galleries: a public conservation lab where visitors can watch and question conservators restoring the Museum’s famed collection of Egyptian mummies and their related funerary artifacts. His philanthropic gifts this past year have furthered his commitment to the modernity and ongoing vitality of the Museum and its priceless collections.
Peggy and Bruce, who met in a math class in 1945 and this year celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary, not only have supported a wide array of areas across the University, but both have been committed volunteers. “Working for Penn has given me a diverse world view,” says Bruce, adding, “I meet people in many areas and I learn what’s going on in politics, the arts, academia, and the sciences. I enjoy it, and encourage my fellow alums to find a way to contribute to the energy and life on campus.”Learn more about Penn Museum