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December 18, 2007, Volume 54, No. 16

Mr. Adams, Office of the Provost & Admissions
Dr. Cohen, Engineering
Ms. Randolph, Penn Medicine

Ms. Sharp, Office of the Secretary
Ms. Tracy, Twenty-five Year Club

Mr. Adams, Office of the Provost & Admissions


William “Billy” R. Adams, Jr., educator, lawyer, and former assistant to the provost, passed away from heart failure on November 28. He was 71 years old.

Mr. Adams, along with his wife, Carol Black, also a former Penn employee, were instrumental in organizing Penn’s early minority recruitment efforts in the 1970s. Mr. Adams began working at Penn in 1968 as the director of minority recruitment. He continued to hold other positions in the Admissions Office including executive associate dean of admissions. In addition, he served as vice provost for student affairs in 1969. His last position at Penn was assistant to the provost. He left this position to pursue a law degree at Penn along with his wife. Graduating in 1979, they opened their own law firm, Black & Adams, in 1982, which specialized in civil litigation.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Adams is survived by his son, Rafiq Adams Al-Shabazz; and daughters Kita Williams and Tiy Adams.

Donations may be sent to Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church, 5620 Wyalusing Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131 or to the English Department at Lincoln University, c/o Dr. Marilyn Button, chair, Department of English and Mass Communications, Lincoln University, Lincoln University, PA 19352.



Dr. Cohen, Engineering


Dr. Ira M. Cohen, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, died December 8 at the age of 70.

Dr. Cohen earned his BS from Brooklyn Polytechnic University in 1958 and his PhD from Princeton University in 1963, both in aeronautical engineering.  He taught at Brown University for three years prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty as assistant professor in 1966.  He served as chair of the department of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics from 1992 to 1997.  

Dr. Cohen was a world-renowned scholar in the areas of continuum plasmas, electrostatic probe theories and plasma diagnostics, dynamics and heat transfer of lightly ionized gases, low current arc plasmas, laminar shear layer theory, and matched asymptotics in fluid mechanics. Most of his contributions appear in the Physics of Fluids journal of the American Physical Society. His seminal paper, Asymptotic theory of spherical electrostatic probes in a slightly ionized, collision dominated gas (Phys. Fluids: 1492-1499, 1963),  is to-date the most highly cited paper in the theory of electrostatic probes and plasma diagnostics.
During his doctoral work and for a few years beyond that, Dr. Cohen collaborated with the world-renowned mathematician/physicist, the late Dr. Martin Kruskal (recipient of National Medal of Science, 1993) on the development of a monograph called “Asymptotology.”  Dr. Kruskal also collaborated with Dr. Cohen on plasma physics. This was the basis for Dr. Cohen’s strong foundation in Plasma Fluid Dynamics.

Among his recent contributions is the highly acclaimed, graduate course-level textbook, Fluid Mechanics,with the late Professor P. K. Kundu, published by Elsevier Academic Press, which has just been released in its 4th edition.

“Dr. Cohen’s dedication to academics was unrivalled. In addition, his passion for physical fitness was legendary. Neither rain nor sleet nor snow would deter him from his daily bicycle commute, which began at 5 a.m., from his home in Narberth to Penn. His colleagues grew accustomed to seeing him drag his forty-year old bicycle with its original three-speed gear shift, up to his office. His other great passion was the game of squash, which he played with extraordinary skill five days a week at the Ringe Squash Courts at Penn. He was a fierce but fair competitor, whose joy at playing the game touched the lives of the hundreds of recreational squash players with whom he played over the years. A small plaque in Dr. Cohen’s honor was recently installed at the Ringe Squash Courts,” said his colleagues.  

Dr. Cohen is survived by his wife, Linda; his two daughters, Susan Cohen Bolstad and Nancy Cohen Cavanaugh; and three grandchildren, Melissa, Daniel, and Andrew.

Ms. Randolph, Penn Medicine


Linda B. Randolph, former editor of the Penn Health Magazine, passed away December 7 at age 41.

Ms. Randolph joined the Health System as assistant editor for Penn Health Magazine in the summer of 1996. She became editor in 1998, but a year later the magazine was discontinued and Ms. Randolph left the Health System. In addition, she did free-lance work for UPHS and other Penn publications, including the Institute on Aging’s newsletter. As a free-lancer, she wrote seven articles for Penn Medicine, including four that were cover stories—“Positive Imaging,” on the Department of Radiology (Fall 2006); “The Immersion Method,” on Penn’s Global Health Programs (February 2006); “A Matter of Potential,” for the program, FOCUS on Health & Leadership for Women (Summer 2005); and “A Champion for Survivors,” on Dr. Anna Meadows, a pioneer in the study of cancer survivors (Fall/Winter 2003).

Ms. Randolph is survived by her husband, Paul; son, Julian; daughter, Jane; and her father, William E. Bird, Jr.

Ms. Sharp, Office of the Secretary


Mary Evelyn “Mimi” Sharp, died on December 7 from lung cancer at age 67.

Ms. Sharp graduated from Southern Seminary with an associates degree in 1960 and then earned her BA from Goddard College in 1966. Ms. Sharp traveled the globe working for the U.S. Department of State during the 1960s in Chad and Libya. She also worked for the International Labour Organization in Geneva and Elsevier, a publishing company in Amsterdam.

In 1988 she was hired at Penn where she worked in various areas including the schools of Nursing, Medicine and CGS. She retired from Penn in 2006 as coordinator of overseer affairs in the Office of the Secretary.

Ms. Sharp is survived by her sister, Aileen Sharp Moleski; her brothers, Tim and Alan Sharp; and seven nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Community Center at 2000 Hamilton St., Philadelphia on December 29, at 2 p.m.

Contributions in her memory may be made to the SGI organization, to the Soka University of America, in Aliso Viejo, California, or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Ms. Tracy, Twenty-five Year Club


Maude Tracy, founding secretary of Penn’s Twenty-five Year Club, died December 11 in Moorstown, NJ, at age 97.

Ms. Tracy’s career at Penn spanned almost 50 years, working from 1928 to 1976. She was also the founding director of the Bureau of Alumni Records.

She is survived by nephews, Robert and David W. Shappell; niece, Karen Hahn; and several great nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions can be made to The Evergreens, 309 Bridgeboro Road, Moorestown, NJ 08057.

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 - December 18, 2007, Volume 54, No. 16