News

$1 Million Sanford Lorraine Cross Award to Jean Bennett and Katherine High

  • December 11, 2018
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caption: Jean Bennett and Katherine HighJean Bennett, the F.M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology, and Katherine A. High, emeritus professor of pediatrics, both in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, are the recipients of the inaugural $1 million Sanford Lorraine Cross Award for their work with the RPE65 mutation that has reversed an inherited form of blindness. Drs. Bennett and High pioneered the gene therapy for this mutation, took it to clinical trials and then received the first FDA approval of a gene therapy for a genetic disease.

The award, sponsored by Sanford Health, is intended to reward contributions to medicine, science and innovation. Four finalists competed for the prize; Drs. Bennett and High accepted the award on December 4 at Sanford Health’s headquarters in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Dr. High and Dr. Bennett knew that gene therapy had the potential to change this form of blindness. “The idea is to harness what we know about the defects, and then intervene,” said Dr. Bennett, who is also a scientific co-founder of Spark Therapeutics, a fully integrated, commercial gene therapy company working to accelerate the time line for bringing new gene therapies to market. Dr. High is the president and head of research and development at Spark.

The project began with studying dogs who had the same gene mutation that causes blindness in humans—the RPE65 mutation. Dr. Bennett was searching for funding when Dr. High approached her, asking if she’d like to run a human clinical trial. Gene therapy was still in its infancy, though, with roadblocks from funding to regulation.

“But I was convinced we weren’t seeing any problems that couldn’t eventually be solved,” said Dr. High. She then co-founded Spark. They and their team received the first FDA approval of a gene therapy for a genetic disease. They credit the work of their team and their singular pursuit of a solution.

“Identify the best people, then entice them and motivate them to work on this problem so you can pull together and get to the goal,” Dr. High said. “Lighting someone’s future is still what drives their vision.

“Patients are the reason we do this work,” Dr. High said. “They are the North Star of what we do.”

At the awards ceremony, Dr. High noted, “There were many days we were discouraged, so it’s so wonderful for an award to be given for people who made it across the finish line.”

“Gene therapy quickly stood out as the field of candidates was narrowed,” said David Pearce, president of research at Sanford Health, who noted that the four finalists for the award helped lay the groundwork for much of the innovative work that is being explored now.

The other finalists included another Perelman faculty member, James M. Wilson, director of the Gene Therapy Program, the Rose H. Weiss Orphan Disease Center Director’s Professor, and professor of medicine and pediatrics. His work has paved the way for many groups to safely move promising gene therapies for inherited and acquired diseases through the translational pipeline internationally. In 2008, Dr. Wilson and the University of Pennsylvania cofounded REGENXBIO, Inc., a clinical-stage biotech company designing gene therapy products.

New and Expanded Penn Medicine Radnor’s Mixed-Use Campus

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Penn Medicine broke ground on a state-of-the-art, four-story, 250,000-square-foot multispecialty outpatient facility in Radnor, Pennsylvania, that will expand options for patients to receive advanced care close to home.

Set to open in spring 2020, the site will be home to the new Penn Medicine Radnor, replacing its current facility in the Township which has operated since 1997 on King of Prussia Road. The new location will provide comprehensive cancer care, including newly available radiation oncology services and chemotherapy provided by the Abramson Cancer Center, as well as primary care, heart and vascular, orthopaedic and neuroscience care. Additional services will include same-day surgery, with six operating rooms and four endoscopy suites, along with full radiology and laboratory services. Patients will also have access to cutting-edge Penn Medicine clinical trials, expanding access to more patients without having to travel into Philadelphia.

Officials also announced that Brandywine Realty Trust has entered into an agreement with UPHS to purchase two premier sites in Radnor where the new outpatient facility will take shape (145 King of Prussia Road and 250 King of Prussia Road) and serve as the designated developer and manager. Brandywine will transform the new buildings into high-quality facilities—including office space and a hotel—and will serve as the development manager of the medical office building, allowing Penn to expand its network and offer even more locations to deliver the level of care for which the health system is renowned.

The new LEED Silver certified building will feature natural light throughout, and a building design that wraps around a courtyard will bring nature views to patients, families and staff inside.

“More than half of our activity comes from outpatient care today, and we’re committed to investing in the very best facilities that can offer our patients more options to get the best possible care close to their homes,” said Ralph W. Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. “Our mission is to offer Penn Medicine care to patients where it’s most convenient to them and their families, so we’re making more cancer, women’s health and cardiac services available to patients at Radnor to ensure they can receive a more comprehensive suite of care without having to travel downtown.”

The western section of 145 King of Prussia Road will introduce 150,000 gross square feet (GSF) of office space and a hotel component comprising 75,000 GSF, with a projected 100 rooms—which Penn Medicine officials say will help make the new facility a destination for patients traveling for specialized outpatient services from outside the area. The eastern portion of 145 King of Prussia Road will serve as a medical office parcel.

“The University of Pennsylvania has been a longtime valued partner of ours, and together we have created transformative projects that have helped to shape the city of Philadelphia that we know today, most notably FMC Tower at Cira Centre South,” said Jerry Sweeney, president and CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust. “As Penn Medicine continues to expand its footprint, we are proud to work alongside them to bring new, high-quality offerings to their patients and help fuel the great work that they continue to deliver.”   

“We are excited for our partnership with Brandywine, which will develop this area of Radnor into a state-of-the-art mixed-use campus that will build on Penn Medicine’s long-standing support of health and wellness for residents of the Township and beyond,” said Kevin B. Mahoney, executive vice president and chief administrative officer for the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

The new Radnor facility, which will be double the square footage of the current Penn Medicine Radnor building, is the latest among a growing list of Penn Medicine multispecialty ambulatory centers. Other sites include the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, Penn Medicine University City and Washington Square in Philadelphia, as well as facilities in Bucks County, Valley Forge, southern Chester County (West Grove) and, in southern New Jersey, Cherry Hill and Woodbury Heights.

Scott Douglass: Vice Dean of Finance and Administration at Wharton

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caption: Scott DouglassScott Douglass has joined the Wharton School as vice dean of finance and administration. Mr. Douglass will lead Wharton operations and finance, including budgeting, facilities and operations, human resources, Wharton Computing and Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS).

Mr. Douglass will work collaboratively across the University of Pennsylvania representing Wharton with executive and financial leadership. He previously served in this role at Wharton from 1992 to 2004.

“I am delighted to welcome Scott back to Wharton and the Penn community. His extensive experience from decades in higher education will benefit the entire School,” said Dean Geoff Garrett.

Mr. Douglass most recently served as vice chancellor of finance and administration at North Carolina State University, where he was responsible for budget and resource management, campus enterprises, environmental health and public safety, facilities, finance, human resources and real estate and development. Prior to NC State, Mr. Douglass was the University of Delaware’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, managing a $1 billion operating budget and overseeing a $1.7 billion cash and endowment portfolio.

During his earlier tenure at Wharton, Mr. Douglass led the programming, design and construction of Jon M. Huntsman Hall, the commercialization of WRDS and the team that developed the business case for Wharton San Francisco. He then served as vice president of finance and treasurer for the University of Pennsylvania, where he spent four years as the University’s senior financial officer and was a member of the Penn Medicine Board (Almanac July 17, 2007). Earlier in his career, Mr. Douglass was the state of Delaware’s budget director and secretary of finance.

Mr. Douglass earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from the University of Delaware and completed graduate studies at Syracuse University.

Karen Glanz: Abramson Cancer Center Appointment

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caption: Karen GlanzKaren Glanz has been named associate director for community engaged research and leader for the cancer control program at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center effective the beginning of December.

Dr. Glanz is a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, the George A. Weiss University Professor in the Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Nursing, and director of the University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center. She is a behavioral scientist with public health expertise. Her basic and translational research in community and health-care settings focuses on obesity, nutrition and the built environment; reduction of health disparities; and novel health communication technologies.

Dr. Glanz has made important and sustained contributions to cancer prevention and control.  With more than 480 publications and designation as a Most Highly-Cited Author over the past 20 years (top 0.5% of authors in the field) by www.ISIHighlyCited.com, her scholarship has been consistently interdisciplinary and highly influential in advancing the science of understanding, predicting, and changing health-related behavior. Dr. Glanz is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, served on the Community Preventive Services Task Force for 10 years, and is a current member of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Advisory Council. She has been a member of the Cancer Control Program at the Abramson Cancer Center since 2009.

David Brainard: Associate Dean for the Natural Sciences at SAS

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caption: David BrainardDavid Brainard, RRL Professor of Psychology, has been appointed associate dean for the natural sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences, effective January 1, 2019. He will oversee the School’s natural sciences, including the departments of biology, chemistry, earth and environmental science, linguistics, mathematics, physics and astronomy, and psychology, as well as the School’s research centers.

Dr. Brainard is an eminent cognitive neuroscientist whose research focuses on human vision, visual neuroscience and computational modeling of visual processing. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society and the Association for Psychological Science. In 2013, he received the School’s highest teaching honor, the Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award. His Penn affiliations include the graduate groups in neuroscience and bioengineering and the undergraduate cognitive science and visual studies programs.

“David brings to this important role a distinguished background as both a scholar and an academic leader,” said Steven J. Fluharty, Dean and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience.

Dr. Brainard has served as chair of the department of psychology and director of the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science. He is a former chair of the School of Arts and Sciences Personnel Committee and was a member of the 2008 faculty task force that recommended changes to the committee’s structure. Dr. Brainard is currently director of Penn’s Vision Research Center, co-director of the Penn Computational Neuroscience Initiative and a member of the Executive Committee of MindCORE, an interdisciplinary effort to understand human intelligence and behavior.

Dr. Brainard will succeed Larry Gladney, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Professor for Faculty Excellence in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, who will become the inaugural Dean of Diversity and Faculty Development for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Yale University in January.

GSE’s Hub for Equity, Anti-Oppression, Research and Development

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Penn GSE launched a new school-wide center, called HEARD: The Hub for Equity, Anti-Oppression, Research and Development. Dean Pam Grossman said that HEARD’s goal is “to draw together members of our community committed to equity and anti-oppression scholarship, and to provide opportunities for continuing learning.”

Issues of race and diversity have long been important to Penn GSE, and research around these topics cuts across the school with multiple faculty members, staff and students tackling issues of racial literacy, systemic racism, gender equity and linguistic diversity from different disciplinary perspectives. Professors Jessie Harper and Manuel S. González Canché have agreed to serve as inaugural directors.

“HEARD is the result of over a year of discussion and committee work within the Penn GSE community in response to students’ voices,” said Dean Grossman. “I particularly want to thank the Committee on Race, Equity and Inclusion for supporting the creation of this exciting new opportunity at Penn GSE.”

The Center includes the study of anti-oppression more broadly and welcomes Penn GSE students, faculty and staff who are interested in various anti-oppression topics. To provide opportunities for interaction around these topics, HEARD is launching reading groups, grant writing seminars, quantitative and qualitative certificate programs and extra-discussion/interaction time with Visiting Faculty Scholars of Color.

A dedicated space for the Center has been opened in room B51 in the Solomon Building, where community members are invited to use the resource library (in development) or computer. interested staff, faculty and students can follow the center on Twitter @HEARDatPennGSE or email at HEARDUPenn@upenn.edu

Providing Students with ISBNs and Price Information for Books

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The Higher Education Opportunity Act requires universities to make available to students, for each course, the International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) and price information for required/recommended books and supplemental materials.

To comply with this requirement, the University of Pennsylvania has worked closely with Barnes & Noble, managers of the Penn Bookstore, to maintain a simple and cost-effective process to provide ISBNs to our students. Through the Bookstore’s online system, students will have access to a complete list of materials for all their courses, along with the ISBNs for each listed text.

As in the past, textbook information can be provided to other vendors, and students are in no way required to purchase their books at the Penn Bookstore. 

Faculty are key to the success of the University’s efforts to act in accordance with this regulation. To that end, the efforts by Penn faculty members to work with the Bookstore to provide this important information for our students is both critical and appreciated. 

—Wendell Pritchett, Provost

—Beth Winkelstein, Vice Provost for Education

Call for College House Fellows: January 28

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The Offices of the Provost and of College Houses and Academic Services invite applications for service as a College House Fellow. This is a residentially-based position that carries a two-year term.

Faculty applicants from all 12 schools within the University are welcome to apply. The most important qualification is an enthusiastic interest in mentoring and engaging undergraduate students within the residential setting. Members of the University’s faculty and full-time administrative staff in academic or student affairs who will be in their positions for at least two years are welcome to apply.

College House Fellows play a key role in connecting the Houses to the larger academic community at Penn. Fellows are responsible for working with the faculty directors to develop each College House as an educational resource that encourages intellectual inquiry, promotes academic programs in residence, fosters faculty and student interaction and builds strong, supportive House communities. Specific responsibilities will differ from House to House, but the general time commitment is approximately 10 hours per week.

Although there are 25 Fellow positions in the College House system, the number of openings rarely exceeds six. For these highly-sought-after positions, the selection process can be quite competitive. Applicants are reviewed by the undergraduate Deans, the Office of College Houses and the individual House community members, including the faculty director, House Dean and student residents.

Information about each College House, the Fellow positions and application process may be found at www.collegehouses.upenn.edu Please explore the “join us” section of the website for position information. If you have any questions please contact Marty Redman, executive director of College Houses and Academic Services, at mredman@upenn.edu The application deadline is January 28, 2019.

Deaths

George Azar, Football

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George J. Azar, former offensive line coach for the University of Pennsylvania football team, died November 21. He was 77.

Mr. Azar grew up in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He excelled as a three-sport athlete; he earned a state wrestling championship and all-state honors in football. He also held a local home-run record in baseball that stood for over 30 years.

He attended Michigan State University where he played football and baseball. After graduating, he served as a football and wrestling coach at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and then became an offensive line coach at Penn under Harry Gamble, who served at the helm of Penn football for 10 seasons and had 24 career Ivy League wins, from 1971 to 1980. Mr. Azar then held an executive position with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Mr. Azar is survived by his wife, Kay; children, Todd (Heidi) and Robyn (Steve); grandchildren, Andrew, Zach, Ryan, Jake, Kyle and Hannah; and siblings, Janet, Jim, Kathy and Mary Beth.

William R. Brennen, Chemistry

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caption: Bill BrennenWilliam R. (“Bill”) Brennen, emeritus associate professor of chemistry, died November 9. He was 83.

Dr. Brennen, who earned his PhD in chemistry from Harvard, joined the chemistry faculty at Penn in 1966 as an assistant professor of chemistry. He was promoted to associate professor in 1970, which he remained until retirement in 2005, at which time he earned emeritus status.

Dr. Brennen was the principal investigator of a 1970 project Excitation of Atomic Nickel in the Reaction Between Nickel Carbonyl and Active Nitrogen, sponsored by the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Department of Commerce. He served on the University Council’s Bookstore Committee from 1996 to 1999 and from 1997 to 1999 he served on the Library Committee.

Dr. Brennen is survived by his wife, Sherry Clearwater; sons, William Jr. (“Bill”) and Spencer; stepson, Jamie Vagnoni (Julie Crowe); and grandchildren, Quinn and Kate Vagnoni.

James Heflin, Division of Finance

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James W. Heflin, former assistant comptroller at the University of Pennsylvania, died November 21 from a stroke. He was 81.

Mr. Heflin was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Northeast Catholic High School and Drexel Institute of Technology in 1959 with a degree in business administration and accounting.

In 1961, he joined the Penn staff as an accountant in the comptroller’s office. The following year he became assistant to the comptroller, and he also served as assistant to the business and financial vice president. In February 1967, he was named director of the Management Services Group, responsible for reviewing and evaluating systems and procedures, primarily in the business and financial vice president’s area. He was promoted only a few months later to assistant comptroller. He left Penn in 1968.

Mr. Heflin served as a financial and administrative officer at Nazareth Hospital in Philadelphia before beginning a long career as chief financial officer at Lourdes, now called Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center. He joined the staff in 1974 and retired in 2002.

Mr. Heflin is survived by his wife, Alma; children, Kristin Ciccarelli, Jean Kane, Eileen Delfini and David; and 15 grandchildren.

Governance

University Council Coverage

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At the December 5 University Council meeting, Vice President and University Secretary Leslie Kruhly reported that the problem mentioned previously concerning mold in some dorms has been resolved and the impacted students are back in their rooms.

Provost Wendell Pritchett introduced the focus topic for the meeting, New Directions in the Arts, followed by a discussion led by Vice Provost for Faculty Anita Allen. She said Penn stands for innovation in the arts and described how the arts are essential to teaching and learning as well as spurring social justice. She then introduced Christopher A. Gruits, Annenberg Center for the Performing Art’s executive & artistic director, who came to Penn in 2016 (Almanac August 23, 2016) and John McInerney, director of The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation. He came to Penn in 2017 (Almanac May 23, 2017).     

Mr. Gruits talked about how the Annenberg Center not only has public programming in its three theatres but also devotes space and resources to numerous student performing arts groups that practice and perform there. The Annenberg Center is also involved with Penn’s theatre arts program as well as music, cinema & media, along with humanities. Mr. Gruits stressed that the Center engages with students in many ways, including making tickets affordable at $10 at all times, providing free rehearsal space and access to world-class artists, as well as hiring many students. Annenberg Center also interacts with various schools and centers at Penn and engages the Philadelphia community. The programming is often innovative, featuring contemporary and cutting-edge music, dance and theatre productions.

Mr. McInerney spoke about the ways the new program uses the catalytic grant from Keith and Kathy Sachs (Almanac October 18, 2016). He said that the premise is that the arts at Penn are valued and embraced as a creative catalyst—driving innovation, inspiration and inclusion. There are three main areas of focus: teaching, making and presenting. They fund new arts classes and freshman seminars; they fund visiting artists, as well as creative projects by staff and faculty. They also support exhibitions, performances, lectures, workshops and student engagement. Grants have been provided for students, groups and departments. They have also facilitated a new class that took students to the Barnes Foundation.

President Amy Gutmann summarized the discussion by adding that “there is an intense interest in making the arts flourish at Penn.”

There was then the fall Open Forum with brief presentations by six speakers. The first person to present concerns was Zach Rissman (C’19) who passionately discussed the University’s impact on climate change and human rights through its investments in coal and tar sands companies. He said that this was his seventh consecutive Open Forum where he has spoken on this topic. He was accompanied by a room full of supporters who stood up while he spoke and held signs reading “You are Our Voice” as he asked why Penn vehemently opposes divestment. There were then additional speakers who raised topics including research as an elective, free access to tampons, second- year experience in the Greek houses and graduate student support in economics.

Honors

Grace Calhoun: NCAA Committee Chair

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caption:M. Grace Calhoun, director of athletics and recreation at the University of Pennsylvania, has been named the chair of the NCAA Division I Council Strategic Vision and Planning Committee. Ms. Calhoun has served as the vice chair since her appointment to the Division I Council in July 2017 (Almanac March 28, 2017) and will lead the committee through June 2021.

The Strategic Vision and Planning Committee has oversight responsibility of administrative functions related to the management of the Division I governance structure, including business and legal affairs, strategic planning and research (including recommendations regarding research topics and expenditure of funds for such projects), Division I membership activities (including the reclassification process) and health and safety matters.

In the upcoming year, the Strategic Vision and Planning Committee will assist the Division I Board of Directors Finance Committee with a review of the Division’s financial sustainability and will discuss how the Association can increasingly make data-driven decisions on matters of safety and well-being. The Committee was also recently given the charge of managing the agent certification program created to address issues in the sport of basketball.

John Crocker: APS Fellow

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caption: John CrockerJohn Crocker, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania, has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society. Dr. Crocker was recognized “for contributions to the microrheology of soft matter and cells and to DNA-directed colloidal self-assembly.”

The APS Fellowship Program was created to recognize members who may have made advances in knowledge through original research and publication or made significant and innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology. They may also have made significant contributions to the teaching of physics or service and participation in the activities of the Society. Each year, no more than one-half of one percent of the then current membership of the Society are recognized by their peers for election to the status of fellow in the American Physical Society.

Zahra Fakhraai: APS John H. Dillon Medal

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caption: Zahra FakhraaiZahra Fakhraai, associate professor of chemistry and graduate chair, has been awarded the 2019 John H. Dillon Medal. The medal, given annually, recognizes outstanding research accomplishments by young polymer physicists who have demonstrated exceptional research promise early in their careers.

Dr. Fakhraai’s group combines experiments and modeling to explore structure, dynamics and optical properties of amorphous materials at nanometer length scale. A key aspect of these studies is to understand how surfaces and interfaces affect properties of amorphous materials and how these effects can be used to engineer novel packings of molecular glasses as well as polymers and biopolymers.

The John H. Dillon Medal was established in 1983 by The American Physical Society and the Division of Polymer Physics (DPOLY). Beginning in 1997, sponsorship of the medal was assumed by Elsevier, Oxford, UK, publishers of the journal, Polymer.

Amy Gutmann: William Penn Award and Inquirer Icon

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caption: Amy GutmannPenn President Amy Gutmann has received two notable awards recently.  The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia announced that she is the 2018 recipient of the William Penn Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a business or civic leader in Greater Philadelphia. The award, which has been given annually since 1949, recognizes an individual for their outstanding contributions toward the betterment of the region, professional accomplishments, and commitment to charity as well as to the community. President Gutmann will be honored Friday, April 26, 2019, at a gala hosted at The Bellevue Hotel. The Chamber noted that since she began in her role as president in 2004, she has increased access to higher education, advanced interdisciplinary collaborations and demonstrated the transformative impact of universities, locally, nationally and globally.

President Gutmann has also been named a Philadelphia Inquirer Business Hall of Fame Icon. President Gutmann received the award at a ceremony on November 28 at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. In a recent profile of President Gutmann, the Inquirer praised her “deft and deliberate leadership” that has helped Penn bridge the American political divide. In the same piece, Penn trustees board chair David L. Cohen said, “Any topic you want to pick, that you want to judge the president of the University of Pennsylvania on, and she has knocked the ball out of the park in every single one of them.” In her remarks at the Hall of Fame Dinner, President Gutmann said that open expression represents the core of academic freedom.

Yasmin Kafai: Google Grant

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caption: Yasmin KafaiYasmin B. Kafai, the Lori and Michael Milken President’s Distinguished Professor and chair of the teaching, learning and leadership division in Penn’s School of Graduate Education, has received a $97,000 grant through Google’s Computer Science Education Research Awards. The grant will support the MADE (Music Art Design with Etextiles) program, which will introduce students in Career and Technical Education courses to more advanced computing concepts through electronic textile designs.

Ms. Kafai is a learning scientist and designer of online tools and communities to promote coding, crafting and creativity across grades K–16. Her work empowers students to use computer programming to design games, sew electronic textiles and grow applications in biology with the goal of supporting creative expression, building social connections and broadening participation in computing.

Marsha Lester: APS Broida Prize

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caption: Marsha LesterMarsha Lester, the Edmund J. Kahn Distinguished Professor in Chemistry in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, has received the American Physical Society Herbert P. Broida Prize in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the field of chemical physics.

Dr. Lester received the honor for her work in “the development of innovative methods for generating and characterizing reactive intermediates using sophisticated laser techniques that elucidate important reaction pathways in atmospheric and combustion chemistry.”

Michel Koo, Joshua Plotkin: AAAS Fellows

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caption: Michel Koocaption: Joshua PlotkinTwo faculty members from the University of Pennsylvania have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Hyun (Michel) Koo, a professor in the department of orthodontics and divisions of pediatric dentistry and community oral health in Penn Dental Medicine, and Joshua Plotkin, a biology professor in the School of Arts and Sciences, are among a group of 416 honorees this year.

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. Fellowship is bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

As part of AAAS’s Dentistry and Oral Health Sciences Section, Dr. Koo was selected “for distinguished contributions to the field of cariology, particularly for improving understanding of relationships between biofilms and oral diseases and developing therapies against biofilm-
associated infections.”

As part of AAAS’s Biological Sciences Section, Dr. Plotkin was selected for “scientific accomplishments in evolutionary biology, ecology and related disciplines, for dedicated mentorship and for service to AAAS and the broader scientific community.” In addition to his position in the biology department, Dr. Plotkin has secondary appointments in the department of mathematics and in the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s department of computer and information science.

This year’s AAAS Fellows will be honored at the 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, on February 16, 2019.

Gabriella Paéz: SustainPHL Activist of the Year

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Gabriella Gabriel Paéz, a student in the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) program at the Penn School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), was recently recognized as Activist of the Year at SustainPHL 2018.

In addition to working toward her graduate degree, Ms. Paéz serves as the education and community development coordinator at Esperanza, a non-profit organization focused on strengthening Hispanic communities through education, economic development and advocacy. She received the award in acknowledgment of her leadership in providing sustainable resources to Philadelphia’s Hunting Park neighborhood.

The awards ceremony and celebration is hosted by the sustainable lifestyle blog Green Philly.

Dipti Pitta: USDA Grant

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caption: Dipti PittaDipti Pitta, an assistant professor in ruminant nutrition at the School of Veterinary Medicine New Bolton Center, has received a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant of $500,000 for her research on the rumen, the large part of the cow’s first digestive chamber, or reticulorumen.

The grant funds three years of research during which Dr. Pitta hopes to better understand microbial associations in the rumen that are essential for methane mitigation. Methane makes up 14 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally, and is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Livestock, mostly cattle raised for dairy and beef products, produce 25 percent of methane emissions in the United States.

Dr. Pitta will study how methane inhibitors function in cows that naturally produce excessive amounts of methane, as well as in cows that naturally produce lower amounts. Microbes in the rumen assist in the cows’ digestive process by breaking down plant material, but, in the process, some microbes release hydrogen as a by-product. Methanogens, a type of microbe in the group known as archaea that are present in the rumen, consume this hydrogen to ensure that it doesn’t build up excessively in the cow’s gut. However, methanogens turn hydrogen into harmful methane, which the cows must emit.

Julius Shaneson: AMS 2019 Fellow

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Julius Shaneson, Class of 1939 Professor Emeritus in the department of mathematics, is one of 65 mathematical scientists from around the world who have been named Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) for 2019, the program’s seventh year. Dr. Shaneson was recognized for his contributions to topology. 

The Fellows of the AMS designation recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication and utilization of mathematics. The goals of the fellows program are to create an enlarged class of mathematicians recognized by their peers as distinguished for their contributions to the profession; to honor not only the extraordinary but also the excellent; to lift the morale of the profession by providing an honor more accessible than those currently available; to make mathematicians more competitive for awards, promotion and honors when they are being compared with colleagues from other disciplines; and to support the advancement of more mathematicians in leadership positions in their own institutions and in the broader society. 

Hill College House: Award of Merit

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caption: A renovated Hill College House lounge.The Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Engineering News-Record recently gave Hill College House its Award of Merit for Renovation/Restoration. The historic building, designed by eminent modern architect Eero Saarinen in 1958, underwent an $80 million renovation in 2016, which included a remodel of the building’s dining hall, installation of a new HVAC system and preservation of historic elements (Almanac August 29, 2017). Prior to its closing for renovations, it was singled out as one of the “most-loathed dorms” in the country by a 2015 New York Times article.

The magazine highlighted the “numerous technical challenges” of this restoration and noted that it “reuses existing materials and features when possible to preserve the original design of noted Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen.” Mills + Schnoering Architects of Princeton, New Jersey, led the design and construction team. Specialists in historic renovation, the firm previously worked on Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in Saint Louis, Missouri.

The DP: Pacemaker Award

  • December 11, 2018
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The Daily Pennsylvanian (DP) was among the 11 winners of this year’s Pacemaker Award in the newspaper category, an annual prize given by the Associated Collegiate Press. The DP also won the award in 2017.

The DP was the only Ivy League paper to win. Others include The Daily Orange from Syracuse and the The Daily Texan from UT–Austin. In its submission, The DP included its special issue capturing the celebrations after the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl victory as well as an issue that investigated mental health at Penn.

The ACP awards Pacemakers in various categories of scholastic journalism: online, newspaper, yearbook, magazine and broadcast. Entries are judged by teams of professionals based on the following criteria: coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership, design, photography and graphics.

SnackGarden: Design Value Award

  • December 11, 2018
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caption: Plate by student designers Anna Couturier Simpson, Timothy Li and Yichen Huang.SnackGarden, a serving plate designed by Integrated Product Design (IPD) students at Penn to encourage school children to try healthy foods, has won a 2018 Design Value Award from the Design Management Institute (DMI). The product is the result of a collaboration between the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative and the IPD program. DMI, a Boston-based collective of design and innovation leaders, cited SnackGarden as “an excellent example of design-led change in the community, involving collaboration on complex challenges with multiple stakeholders in a very crowded public policy and service delivery space.”

In 2013, the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative, a program of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships focused on providing access to healthy foods in schools, approached Penn’s IPD program about the project. IPD designed plates, produced prototypes and tested them. Then, they collaborated to brand the plates with Rebel Ventures, a youth-led business supported by the Netter Center that develops and distributes healthy snacks.

In 2015, they launched the brand SnackGarden and began distributing the plates to farmers’ markets, grocery stores and elementary schools. To date, SnackGarden plates have been distributed to several non-profit organizations and four elementary schools to be used in tasting programs.

Public Safety: Security 500

  • December 11, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 16
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The University of Pennsylvania has been ranked #1 on Security magazine’s “Security 500” list for safety and security in the higher-education sector for the 12th consecutive year.

Security magazine’s top 500 ranking creates a database for organizations to measure themselves compared to the performance of their colleagues. It establishes a benchmarking program among security organizations, allowing them to see where they stand in this ongoing peer-
review process.

“Securing a large urban university, including its facilities, students, staff and visitors is a large undertaking,” said Diane Ritchey, editor-in-chief of Security, “that requires leadership, innovation, knowledge and strong partnerships. Maureen Rush [the vice president for public safety at Penn and superintendent of Penn police] and her team have created a national model to successfully mitigate security and risks, and we are once again thrilled to honor their accomplishments.”

Features

Biennial Wissahickon Photo Exhibit at Morris Arboretum through December

  • December 11, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 16
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The winning photos from the 2018 Biennial Wissahickon Photo Contest presented by Friends of the Wissahickon, Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association and Woodmere Art Museum are on display now through December 31 in the Upper Gallery at the Widener Visitor's Center at Morris Arboretum. This year’s was the most successful contest to date, with over 150 photographers submitting more than 430 photographs. The photos in the exhibit represent the winners across four categories: wildlife, landscapes, people, and structures, as well as the awards of Best in Show and People’s Choice.

caption: Best in Show—Loren Berckey, Finger Bridge.

caption: People's Choice (most likes on Facebook)—Rachael Balascak, Wissahickon Supergirl. Forbidden Drive at Cedar House. Audrey striding to the finish during a wonderful community event along the Wissahickon Creek.

caption: First Place Landscape—Rachael Balascak, Crossing the Wissahickon. Forbidden Drive footbridge, by Lincoln Drive. There is nothing better than the changing of the leaves in the Wissahickon.

caption: First Place Structure—Brian Mudri, Snowy Covered Bridge. Forbidden Drive & Wissahickon Creek.

caption: First Place People—Jennifer Choy, Andorra Meadow.

caption: First Place Junior Submission- Sarina Smith, Froglet by the Creek. Near the Orange Trail next to the Wissahickon Creek.

caption: First Place Wildlife- Karl Ahlswede, The Bluebird Couple. Houston Meadow, a nesting couple of Eastern Bluebirds.

To see all of the photographs submitted, visit the Friends of the Wissahickon Facebook page at https://tinyurl.com/y7w89p73

The Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources named Forbidden Drive in Wissahickon Valley Park as 2018 Trail of the Year. Also known as Wissahickon Valley Park Trail, Forbidden Drive stretches five miles, passing the Thomas Mill Covered Bridge and Valley Green Inn.

The State of University City 2019

  • December 11, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 16
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caption:On December 5, hundreds of guests attended the annual State of University City event at World Cafe Live. This year, the event focused on how University City is setting the pace for the future of work for the region. UCD Board Chair Craig Carnaroli and UCD President Matt Bergheiser spoke about University City’s role in the future of employment in the region and how inclusion and opportunity are as critical as innovation and development. UCD issued its annual State of University City report. Below are excerpts. For the full report, visit https://www.universitycity.org/blog/state-university-city-2019

Commerce. Innovation. Academic Excellence. University City is where start-ups, scholars and professionals want to be. World-class academic institutions, renowned hospitals, award-winning restaurants, and innovators from fields like robotics and gene therapy are all packed into University City’s 2.4 square miles. Continually setting the pace for development in the region, University City is a dynamic employment hub for more than 80,000 people, a transportation nucleus with some of the most pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly streets in Philadelphia, and a destination for food lovers and culture seekers. With its luxury apartments and small, tree-lined streets; skyscrapers and Victorian row homes; small businesses and anchor institutions, the neighborhood is a tapestry of diversity that nearly 55,000 people call home. University City is a neighborhood of growth and possibility built on a solid structure of success.

Real Estate Development: University City’s real estate boom continues as Philadelphia’s second skyline rises west of the Schuylkill River. Over the past 12 months, 26 real estate projects were advanced or completed, including 3675 Market Street, University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics and Trolley Portal Gardens. New projects are announced on a regular basis: In the long run, uCity Square, Schuylkill Yards, and the 30th Street Station District Plan promise to reshape the economic future of University City and the greater Philadelphia region.

Employment: University City eclipsed 80,000 jobs for the first time in 2018, adding 5,000 jobs in just three years. At over 33,000 jobs per square mile, University City remains a top regional hub for employment and home to a compelling array of jobs that are transforming the nature of work. Led by some of the largest employers in the region—the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia—the healthcare and education sectors continue to dominate the job market in University City, though other industries, like IT, hospitality and construction, are making gains.

Office: With over 4.5 million square feet of office space in the district and 350,000 more square feet on the horizon, University City’s office market is thriving. As of 2018 Q2, University City’s office occupancy sat at 91%, remaining the second tightest of all submarkets in the region. University City is proving attractive to the region’s growing number of innovation players, and major development at Schuylkill Yards and uCity Square will add significantly to the portfolio of office space in the years ahead.

Retail and Hospitality: With its unique mix of college and graduate students, large employers, commuters and full-time residents, University City is an attractive market for the retail and hospitality industries. In 2018 the neighborhood added national eateries like Wawa, &Pizza and SoBol, as well as local culinary favorites like Pitruco Pizza, High Street Provisions and Goldie. In addition, University City now boasts over 1,000 hotel rooms. Visitors, residents and local employees have 270 bars and restaurants and over 130 shops to explore while spending time in the neighborhood.

Higher Education: With five institutions of higher education in the district, University City is renowned worldwide for its exceptional colleges and universities. Nearly 45,000 undergraduate and graduate students are drawn to University City’s nationally-ranked academic programs, global dining scene, beautiful campuses, diverse residential communities and prime location within the city and eastern seaboard. Nearly 23,000 students live in University City —far more than any similarly-sized peer innovation district—meaning that the next generation of talented workers, scientists, artists and lawyers is already soaking up what the neighborhood has to offer while developing the skills needed to successfully land the jobs on the district’s horizon.

Healthcare: The four hospitals located within University City – Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center—employ a combined 30,000 people, and are a vital part of University City’s economy. Each year, Penn Medicine and CHOP make the upper reaches of regional and national rankings. Our hospital systems are developing cutting-edge treatment options and cures for both global and local challenges, while providing premier care for the residents living in their backyard.

Transportation: Sixty eight percent of University City residents commute to work without relying on a car, far surpassing local and national numbers and outranking all peer innovation districts except Washington, DC. This year, University City once again earned a “paradise” classification for walking, biking and public transit according to www.Walkscore.com  We have one of the city’s first protected bike lanes on a stretch of Chestnut Street, and between buses, trolleys, the subway and regional rail there are ample transportation options for University City’s 55,000 residents and 80,000 employees.

People: The population of University City is young, educated and ethnically diverse, a melting pot of new families, young professionals, students and longtime residents. University City’s diverse population—which reflects Philadelphia’s growing number of immigrants—has led to cultural, religious and dining options as varied as the residents who live here. The growing population, up nearly 12% since 2010, demonstrates the improved quality of life and increased desirability of the neighborhood.

Life in the Neighborhood: University City’s fantastic amenities, great schools, excellent dining scene, eclectic arts offerings and diverse housing options make it a neighborhood of choice for nearly 55,000 residents. Our large, historic houses appeal to long-time residents and young families. Students studying at the neighborhood’s colleges have an increasing number of housing options, and every resident benefits from the neighborhood’s renowned greenery. Public transit options make for easy travel to Center City or the suburbs, and active neighborhood associations and community groups inject unique character and civic pride to the sub-neighborhoods located within the district.

Innovation: University City is considered the region’s leader in science and innovation. Discoveries initiated in University City spark billions of dollars in economic growth and attract international attention to those working in fields like robotics, biotech and medicine. Forty two percent of Pennsylvania’s National Institutes of Health funding is awarded to University City institutions, which has remained consistent even as statewide funding has increased.

University City by the Numbers

  • 80,000+ jobs
  • 54,319 residents
  • $1.48 billion in research and development funding
  • 1,306,000 square feet of development
  • 90.9% office occupancy
  • 59% of residents ages 25 or older have a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • 20-24 minute median commute for UC residents
  • 131 retailers
  • 44,922 students across 5 colleges and universities
  • 68% of residents walk, bike or ride public transit to work
  • 4,411,662 annual Amtrak passengers at 30th Street Station
  • 270 restaurants and bars
  • 22% of households speak a non-English language at home
  • $1,500 median apartment rent
  • $400,000 median home sale price in 2017
  • 5,181 outdoor seats

Events

Celebrating the Holidays in University City

  • December 11, 2018
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Trolley Portal Gardens is celebrating the holidays. On Saturday, December 15, along with SEPTA, the University City Arts League and Trolley Car Station, there will be a festive day of fun.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., kids ages 4-16 can ride for free (with a paid adult) on a Holiday Trolley from 40th Street to Dilworth Park. SEPTA will also bring the First Place and People’s Choice winners of their Holiday Bus Decoration contest to Trolley Portal Gardens for visitors to explore and snap pictures. Trolley Car Station will offer $1 hot chocolates or $5 spiked hot chocolates for visitors 21 and older, plus grab-and-go treats.

Want to get crafty? From 2 to 4 p.m., the University City Arts League will help you make your own painted coasters, a fun and free project for all ages and skill levels.

On Friday, December 21, join local ensemble Relâche and UCD as they bring to life Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night to the streets of Spruce Hill. Participants will gather at 5:45 p.m. at the Trolley Portal Gardens (40th St and Baltimore Ave), and the procession will begin at 6 p.m. Dress warmly for the walk, and bring your portable speakers, your phone or even a full speaker system in a wagon, to help serenade the neighborhood. Stop by Trolley Car Station after for food and drink specials! To learn more, visit http://unsilentnight.com/participate

Update: December AT PENN

  • December 11, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 16
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Exhibits

13    Portals: Artmaking, Health and Human Well-Being; how art can be a portal to learning about ourselves; Esther Klein Gallery. Through January 29.

Talks

11    Age-Related Changes in the TME Drive Tumorigenesis; Sheila Stewart, Washington University School of Medicine; 4 p.m.; Caplan Auditorium, Wistar Institute (Wistar).

13    Sanctuary City? So What?; Michael Jones-Correa, Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Immigration; 3 p.m.; Meyerson Conference Room, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library (The Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs).

AT PENN Deadlines

The December AT PENN is online. The January AT PENN will be published in the December 18 issue. January 2 is the deadline for the Update in the January 8 issue.

Crimes

Weekly Crime Reports

  • December 11, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 16
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The University of Pennsylvania Police Department Community Crime Report

Below are the Crimes Against Persons, Crimes Against Society and Crimes Against Property from the campus report for November 26-December 2, 2018View prior weeks' reports—Ed.

This summary is prepared by the Division of Public Safety and includes all criminal incidents reported and made known to the University Police Department for the dates of November 26-December 2, 2018. The University Police actively patrol from Market St to Baltimore and from the Schuylkill River to 43rd St in conjunction with the Philadelphia Police. In this effort to provide you with a thorough and accurate report on public safety concerns, we hope that your increased awareness will lessen the opportunity for crime. For any concerns or suggestions regarding this report, please call the Division of Public Safety at (215) 898-4482.

11/27/2018     2:43 AM          3800 Chestnut St           Intoxicated male/Arrest

11/27/2018     4:49 PM           3620 Walnut St              Laptop and various items taken from office

11/28/2018     9:38 AM          219 S 41st St                 Unsecured packages taken from porch

11/28/2018     11:19 AM        3400 Spruce St              Complainant struck by known male

11/28/2018     3:56 PM           3501 Sansom St           Laptop taken from office

11/28/2018     6:11 PM           400 S 40th St                Luggage taken from mail room

11/28/2018     7:09 PM           4224 Osage Ave            Secured bike taken from share storage space

11/29/2018     2:52 PM           3604 Chestnut St          Merchandise taken without payment/Arrest

11/30/2018     12:33 PM         3610 Hamilton Walk      Unsecured backpack and contents taken

11/30/2018     9:26 PM           3820 Locust Walk          Unknown person signed for package and took same

11/30/2018     10:12 PM         4206 Spruce St              Male took Christmas lights from porch

11/30/2018     10:55 PM         3400 Civic Center Blvd  Complainant assaulted by boyfriend

12/1/2018       2:07 AM          3700 Spruce St               Complainant punched in face/Arrest

12/1/2018       7:29 PM           4000 Spruce St              Complainant assaulted by unknown juveniles

12/2/2018       11:51 AM        3601 Spruce St               Graffiti found on rear wall of building

12/2/2018       12:40 PM         130-132 S 39th St          Unsecured jewelry taken

12/2/2018       1:38 PM           4224 Osage Ave            Unsecured package taken from lobby

18th District

Below are the Crimes Against Persons from the 18th District: were reported November 26-December 2, 2018 by the 18th District covering the Schuylkill River to 49th Street & Market Street to Woodland Avenue.

11/30/2018     11:38 PM         3400 Civic Center Blvd.  Domestic Assault

12/1/2018       3:39 AM          3700 Spruce St                Aggravated Assault/Arrest

12/1/2018       9:11 PM           200 S 40th St                  Assault

12/1/2018       10:45 PM         4415 Baltimore Ave         Assault

Bulletins

Penn Safety Fair Raffle Winners

  • December 11, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 16
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Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (EHRS) and the Division of Public Safety (DPS) hosted the 9th Annual Penn Safety Fair in the Vernon & Shirley Hill Pavilion on November 7, 2018. Along with DPS and EHRS, a variety of vendors and several Penn offices that report to the Vice Provost for Research and elsewhere shared valuable information and helped our research community become Safety Sleuths. Thanks to all who contributed to the Safety Fair’s success and congratulations to the following winners of this year’s raffle:

Hye-eun Kim, Orthodontics; 3M WorkTunes headphones

Julia Porado, Biology; 3M WorkTunes headphones

Jaclyn Camus, Veterinary Medicine; EDGE safety glasses and mini Giantmicrobes

Elena Sorokina, Physiology; EDGE safety glasses and mini Giantmicrobes

Michele Nixon, ULAR; Reusable cloth bag, water bottle, and notebook (sponsored by Penn Sustainability)

Ba Nguyen, Pathobiology; Selfie stick (sponsored by Occupational Medicine) and mini Giantmicrobes

Yuan Liu, Dental Medicine; Sony Extra Bass headphones (sponsored by Allied Barton) and mini Giantmicrobes

Christina Go, Pathobiology; Wawa gift card (sponsored by Med-Tex) and lunch bag & water bottle

Mark Tigue, ULAR; Wawa gift card (sponsored by BodyBilt) and lunch bag & water bottle

Rochelle Dymond, Veterinary Medicine; Wawa gift card (sponsored by Curtis Bay Waste Management) and lunch bag & water bottle

Renata Mammone, Veterinary Medicine; Wawa gift card (sponsored by Curtis Bay Waste Management) and lunch bag & water bottle

Winners can pick up their prizes at EHRS, 3160 Chestnut Street, Suite 400 during regular business hours.

Please contact EHRS at (215) 898-4453 for directions or questions.

Call for 2019 Summer Camps

  • December 11, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 16
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Almanac will run the 2019 compilation of summer camps and programs at Penn in the January 29 issue.

To list a camp or other summer program, send the dates, location and other details to almanac@upenn.edu

Deadline for submission is Tuesday, January 15, 2019.

Gifts of Involvement

  • December 11, 2018
  • vol 65 issue 16
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In addition to the many Penn-centric gifts of involvement that were listed in the November 20 Almanac Supplement, here is another opportunity to provide a meaningful gift:

Friends of Music: The Department of Music at Penn established the Friends of Music primarily to enhance and promote student and professional musical performances across Penn’s campus. Friends receive concert mailings and an annual newsletter along with invitations to special student and professional performances sponsored by the Department of Music. Become an Individual Friend starting at $50 up to a benefactor at $10,000 or more. Visit https://www.sas.upenn.edu/music/friends-music to donate using the secure online giving form or for details about sending a check.