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October 10, 2006, Volume 53, No. 7

  • Ms. Smith, Nursing
  • Memorial: Dr. DeVries
  • Memorial Service: Dr. Palmer
  • Ms. Smith, Nursing
    E. Rene Smith

    E. René Smith, manager of the Administrative Services Group at the School of Nursing, died from cancer on September 22 at the age of 45.  She spent 16 years at the School of Nursing where “she was valued for her dedication and talent as well as for her engaging personality and sense of humor,” said Trudi Sippola, director of Human Resources & Organization Development in the School.

    Beginning in 1990, Ms. Smith held a series of progressively responsible positions at Penn Nursing. She was administrative assistant to the Psychiatric–Mental Health Nursing Division and to three successive chairs before becoming an office administrative assistant and then staff assistant to the director of Academic Nursing Practice in the Penn Nursing Network (PNN), the School’s academic practice. She was a key contributor to the development of administrative operations for PNN by coordinating a broad range of financial and administrative duties including the hiring and credentialing of professional practice staff. She later served the School as a human resources coordinator before taking her last managerial position in 2001.

    “Ms. Smith brought to her work a seriousness that was paralleled by a signature dry sense of humor which contributed to her ability to bridge work groups and facilitate collaboration. She was highly regarded for her organizational skills and committed to developing and improving work systems,” recalls Dr. Lois Evans, van Ameringen Professsor in Nursing Excellence. She helped form the School’s Data Divas group, which facilitates the coordination of services and record maintenance through IT systems and databases. Dedicated to developing her staff toward ‘reach’ goals and loyal to and passionate about Penn, Ms. Smith had begun prerequisite coursework prior to applying for admission to the School of Nursing just before her illness struck.  Ms. Sippola added, “She was a life-long learner who inspired others with her ability to focus on mastering new knowledge with an eye for results.” Prior to coming to Penn Nursing, Ms. Smith completed studies at the Franklin Business Institute and worked at RCA as a word processing systems analyst. She then finished two years at St. Joseph’s University, majoring in management information systems. She worked as a youth employment counselor for the Philadelphia Crime Prevention Association where she recruited and supervised high school students for summer jobs, and also for Penn Mutual Life as a human resources assistant. She entered Penn as a participant in the STEP Program offered through Wharton. 

    Ms. Smith is survived by her three children, six grandchildren, mother, father, stepfather and two sisters. The School has established a named staff assistance fund in her memory.

    Memorial: Dr. DeVries

    The Penn Museum will hold a memorial service for Dr. Keith DeVries, associate curator emeritus of the Mediterranean section of the Penn Museum, and associate professor emeritus of classical studies, on Thursday, October 19, at 5 p.m. in the Rainey Auditorium. Dr. DeVries died July 16 (Almanac September 5, 2006). For information: call (215) 898-2680 or e-mail events@museum.upenn.edu.

    Memorial Service: Dr. Palmer

    The department of classical studies will hold a memorial service for Dr. Robert Palmer, on Friday, October 20, at 5 p.m. in the Rosenwald Gallery, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. Dr. Palmer, professor emeritus of Classical Studies, died March 11 (Almanac March 28, 2006).

    To Report A Death

    Almanac appreciates being informed of the deaths of current and former faculty and staff members, students, and other members of the University community.

    However, notices of alumni deaths should be directed to the Alumni Records Office at Room 545, Franklin Building, (215) 898-8136 or e-mail record@ben.dev.upenn.edu.

    Almanac - October 10, 2006, Volume 53, No. 7