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Convocation 2008
September 9, 2008 , Volume 55, No. 3

Below are excerpts of remarks given by GAPSA Chair Andrew Rennekamp, at the Reception for Graduate and Professional Students, on September 3, 2008.

Bridging Gaps

As your university-wide student government, GAPSA sponsors academic and social/networking events, provides funding for individual student grants and student groups, and represents your collective concerns to the trustees, faculty, administrators and staff.

We have a 12-member executive board and we have about a 50-member general assembly with representatives from all 12 Penn schools. Together we provide a voice for the more than 12,000 graduate and professional students on campus. We narrowly out-number the undergrads here! So once again, welcome!

You are now a part of that very important population of seasoned students who play an integral role in shaping and holding together our University and West Philadelphia community. Together we graduate and professional students bridge an intellectual and generational gap between the faculty and the undergraduates, and a residential gap between campus and the rest of Philadelphia in every direction!

As a group we are cool enough to connect with the undergrads and yet experienced and learned enough to engage Penn’s brilliant world-class faculty. We are culturally savvy enough and daring enough to enjoy life both on campus and out in the city around us. We are therefore in the enviable position to teach and to learn from both faculty and freshmen, from both lecturers and locals.

Don’t neglect your student peers. It is perhaps these individuals from whom you will learn the most during the upcoming years.

Take advantage of the many resources offered by the University including the Graduate Student Center, GAPSA, your school-specific student governments and the many centers. Make the most of your Penn education by taking every opportunity to think critically and collaboratively, across disciplines and across stereotypic boundaries.

I’d like to introduce you to the President Amy Gutmann, who has been a leader in removing boundaries, making graduate and professional education at Penn more accessible, more intellectually integrated, and more collaborative than ever.


Related: Traveling Unconventional Paths: Remarks by President Amy Gutmann

Risking Imagination: Remarks by Provost Ron Daniels

Almanac - September 9, 2008, Volume 55, No. 3