April 11, 2000
Volume 46
Number 28

Locust Walk to Come Alive Day and Night

President Judith Rodin enthusiastically accepted the Locust Walk Advisory Committee's recommendations last Thursday, that include plans to create a dynamic student-oriented hub of activity in the heart of campus. The plans encompass the creation of a cultural and performing arts center, a research hub for undergraduates, a Graduate Student Center, and common, shared space for student religious groups. The Committee, chaired by Provost Robert Barchi, has been meeting since January to discuss a variety of options along Locust Walk. President Rodin was presented with the Committee's recommendations last Tuesday and acted swiftly to endorse them.

"These recommendations are wonderful, and I am delighted by their potential to build on the excitement and allure of Locust Walk," said President Rodin. "This proposal ensures that Locust Walk will be welcoming and attractive to our dynamic and diverse community, and in particular, our students."

The Committee was specifically charged with developing a strategy for buildings that are either soon to be vacant or in transition, and are in proximity to one another along Locust Walk.

"This was a unique opportunity for us to think strategically and comprehensively about the Walk and also to quickly implement the decisions reached," said Provost Barchi. "By next fall, Locust Walk will be alive day and night with student energy and activity. When you add Perelman Quad back into the mix, you can imagine that the very center of campus will be more vibrant that it has ever been."

The Committee's recommendations are:

  • The former Christian Association building will house a new cultural and performing arts center, as well as a new undergraduate research hub and fellowship office. A VPUL-sponsored naming contest for the building will be held later this semester.

The first floor of the building will house La Casa Latina, the Pan Asian American Community House (PAACH), UMOJA, a satellite office for the Greenfield Intercultural Center (GIC) and swing office space for a new performing arts hub. The Palladium will remain on the first floor through 2002. The performing arts offices will ultimately relocate to the ground floor, once the Gold Standard lease expires at the end of 2002. At that point, the entire lower level will be devoted to the performing arts hub.

In addition to the space provided on the first floor, the cultural groups will share five large conference spaces throughout the building. Students from each of the groups in the building will form a space committee to allocate use of the conference rooms. Priority will be given to the students in the building, but the rooms will then be available to others if spaces remain unused. The Auditorium on the second floor will be allocated through the VPUL room reservation process.

The second floor of the building will house the new Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. Among its myriad research activity, the Center will advise students from all four schools on research opportunities, assist students in formulating grant proposals and host seminars and demonstrations by faculty. In addition to the research hub, the Center will serve as a resource for all post-graduate fellowships, and provide first-line support for the international fellowships such as Rhodes, Marshall and Luce. In the case of other fellowships, the Office will work in coordination with those offices that already offer support and advise students on various fellowship competitions. The Center will report to Deputy Provost Peter Conn.

  • The Veranda will house the new Graduate Student Center, providing a central site for Penn's graduate and professional students to socialize, study, create and catalyze programming, and generally interact with one another across school boundaries. The Graduate Center will be on the first and second floors.

The ground floor will provide shared space for student religious groups to meet and worship in a central location. Chaplain Will Gipson will coordinate the space and will work closely with Penn student religious organizations to allocate space within the site.

  • As previously announced, 3619 Locust Walk will house SAS Centers, primarily the Humanities Forum and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. It will also be available for other SAS conference and seminar needs.
  • Over the longer term, there are plans to relocate VPUL, presently housed at 3609-11 Locust Walk. The Committee recommended that this space be dedicated for future use as a sorority, ensuring that the Greek presence remains a vital part of the Locust Walk mix.

"The Locust Walk consultative process was broad and extensive," said Provost Barchi. "In the end, our goal was to produce a series of recommendations that would make the Walk a place full of energy and life, and be able to serve and reflect the needs of our diverse community. I think this plan, which includes undergraduates, graduate students, cultural groups, performing arts groups, religious groups and academically enriching support services, meets the ambitious goals President Rodin had in mind."

Committee members included:
  • Provost Barchi, Chair
  • Jennifer Baldino, Director of External Affairs, Office of the President
  • Jerome Byam, Chair, UMC
  • Peter Conn, Deputy Provost
  • Eric Eisenstein, Chair, GSAC
  • John Keene, Professor of City and Regional Planning and Past Chair, Faculty Senate
  • Linda Koons, Executive Assistant to the Provost
  • Kendra Nicholson, Chair, GAPSA
  • Jorge Santiago-Aviles, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Faculty Master, Kings Court English College House
  • Michael Silver, Chair, UA
  • Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum, VPUL.

 Drew Faust: Dean of Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study

Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, the Annenberg Professor of History, has been named the first Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. The Institute was created upon the merger of Radcliffe with Harvard on October 1, 1999. Dr. Faust will succeed Mary Maples Dunn, former president of Smith College and director of the Schlesinger Library, who has served as acting dean since the merger. Dr. Faust will also hold a tenured appointment as professor. A leading historian of the Civil War and the American South, Dr. Faust has served since 1996 as the director of Penn's Women's Studies Program.

"This is truly a unique opportunity. Drew Faust is a superb scholar and teacher, and we will miss her terribly here at Penn. At the same time, we are extremely proud of her and look forward to watching her star rise ever higher," said President Judith Rodin.

"Drew Faust is a person and a scholar of unusual depth and range," Harvard President Rudenstine said. "As an historian of the first rank, she will bring to the Radcliffe deanship a lifelong commitment to original research and an instinctive understanding of the fundamental purposes of the Radcliffe Institute. This perspective is crucial to the success of an institute for advanced study that aspires to the highest level of academic quality across a wide range of disciplines and fields, including significant work in the field of women, gender, and society.

"Dr. Faust has the clarity of mind, the commitment, and the leadership qualities essential to the successful launching of this new venture--particularly within an institution as complex as Harvard," he added.

In accepting the appointment, Dr. Faust said, "I am deeply honored to have been chosen for what seems to me the most exciting job in higher education. The Institute will build upon Radcliffe's twin traditions of academic excellence and commitment to women, uniting them with Harvard's scholarly eminence in a way that will encourage and support outstanding work in every field of intellectual endeavor. The opportunity for intersections across disciplinary boundaries will make the Institute an environment from which not just new knowledge, but new ways of looking at knowledge, will emerge. I am delighted by the prospect of playing a role in shaping this undertaking."

Dr. Dunn said, "This is a brilliant appointment. I could not be more pleased. Drew will be an outstanding dean of the Radcliffe Institute."

The Institute is one of a very few large-scale institutes for advanced study in the country. Each year it welcomes more than fifty fellows and visiting scholars and hosts a wide array of colloquia, lectures, and other academic events.

Dr. Faust is the author of five books, including the award-winning Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War, published in 1997. She is currently working on a study of the impact of the Civil War's enormous death toll on the lives of nineteenth-century Americans.

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 28, April 11, 2000