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November 11, 2008, Volume 55, No. 12

Dr. Ciongoli, Medicine

Dr. A. Kenneth Ciongoli, former research associate in the School of Medicine and the Wistar Institute, passed away October 28 after battling cancer. He was 65.

Dr. Ciongoli was a Penn alumnus, earning an AB in 1964 and a doctorate of science in medicine in 1975. He earned a doctorate of osteopathic medicine from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1968.

He was at Penn in the mid-1970s, working in the departments of neurology and medicine as well as the Wistar Institute. After leaving Penn, Dr. Ciongoli started his medical practice in Vermont and joined the faculty of the University of Vermont.

A generous supporter of the Kelly Writers House, Dr. Ciongoli originated the annual Gay Talese Lecture Series, which featured one public performance per year by an Italian American author held at the Writers House. The series was sponsored by the National Italian American Foundation for which Dr. Ciongoli served as board chairman.

Dr. Ciongoli is survived by his wife, Barbara; sons, Adam, Gregory and Antonio; daughters, Happy Marino and Alessandra; and seven grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to The Dr. A. Kenneth Ciongoli Colloquium Endowment at the National Italian American Foundation, www.niaf.org. The Endowment will fund and host events at Ivy League institutions, together with other select universities throughout the United States.

Dr. Kohler, Penn Museum


Dr. Ellen Lucile Kohler, long-time member of the Penn Museum’s Gordion Archaeological Project at Gordion, Turkey, passed away November 3; she was 91.

Dr. Kohler was an Anatolian and Classical archaeologist and was one of the key original members of Penn Museum’s Gordion excavation team. She was a researcher, archivist, conservator, curator, editor and teacher who devoted almost 60 years of her life—right up to her death—to working for the Gordion archaeological project, even when she became almost completely blind and could barely walk.

Gordion is located in central Turkey and is one of the most important archaeological sites in the Near East. It is popularly remembered as the place where Alexander the Great cut the famous Gordion Knot, and the seat of King Midas who in Greek legend was cursed with the “Golden Touch.”

In the many Gordion excavation seasons between 1950 and 1973, and back at the Museum, Dr. Kohler was the “first lieutenant” of the excavation director, Dr. Rodney S. Young, who had discovered the site. Dr. Kohler carefully cataloged and preserved the thousands of artifacts excavated at Gordion to ensure the integrity of the artifact data for use by all researchers. In addition, she re-organized and integrated thousands of Gordion excavation records. She is credited for passing the torch on to the next generation. Her most important personal research was her detailed analysis of the excavated evidence from 30 elite burial mounds (tumuli) that dominate the landscape around Gordion, dating to the Iron Age and early Persian periods (c. 850–500 BCE).

Dr. Kohler had also taught Roman, Italic and Etruscan archaeology, and took part in excavations at Kourion (on Cyprus) and Sybaris (in Italy). For over a decade, she worked as Penn Museum’s registrar (1965-1977). In addition, she served as executive editor of the Gordion project’s publications and editor of the Penn Museum publications. From 1968 until her death, Dr. Kohler was a research associate of the Mediterranean section.

Born in Washington, she studied Latin and Medieval Latin earning both her BA in 1938 and her MA in 1942 from the University of Washington. She earned her PhD in classical archaeology from Bryn Mawr College in 1958.

Dr. Kohler is survived by her cousin, Marlla Mhoon. A memorial service will be held at the Penn Museum at a later date. Details will be published in Almanac.

Update (11/18/08):

A memorial service for Dr. Ellen Kohler, Museum researcher, archivist, conservator, curator, and editor will be held on Monday, December 15, at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, in the Rainey Auditorium, at 5 p.m. The service will be followed by refreshments in the Museum Cafe.


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 - November 11, 2008, Volume 55, No. 12