Grand Opening of Perry World House: September 19-20

  • September 6, 2016
  • vol 63 issue 4
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Perry World House (PWH) at the University of Pennsylvania is a global research center that aims to advance interdisciplinary, policy-relevant approaches to the world’s most urgent global affairs challenges. Drawing on the wide range of expertise found across Penn’s 12 Schools, Perry World House (Almanac March 26, 2013) helps connect Penn with policymakers, practitioners, and researchers from around the world to develop and promote innovative policy proposals. 

For two days—September 19 and 20—extraordinary programming will take place at PWH (unless otherwise noted) as the University inaugurates this new space on campus at 3803 Locust Walk.

Register to attend any of these events:


September 19, 2016

Launching the Research Initiatives of Perry World House

• 8-9 a.m.: Breakfast & Registration

• 9-9:15 a.m.: Welcoming Remarks 
William Burke-White, PWH Inaugural Director
Ezekiel Emanuel, vice provost for global initiatives

• 9:15-10:35 a.m.: A Moderated Conversation: How Should Science and Technology Be Governed? with an introduction by Steven Fluharty, dean, School of Arts & Sciences
Arati Prabhakar, president, US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
Moderator: Vijay Kumar, dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science,

• 10:45-11a.m.: Coffee & Tours of Perry World House, coffee and light snacks.

• 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: Can European Democracy Withstand Growing Refugee Flows?
Bassam Barabandi, former Syrian diplomat and cofounder of People Demand Change
Chaloka Beyani, professor, London School of Economics; UN special rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons
Eric Schwartz, dean, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota; assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration (2009-2011)
Catherine de Wihtol de Wenden, director of research, National Center for Scientific Research (CERI), French Ministry of Education and Research
Moderator: John Jackson, Jr., dean, School of Social Policy & Practice

• 12:30-1:30 p.m.: Lunch, boxed lunches for registered guests.

• 1:30-3 p.m.: The Role of Religion in Global Politics: An Interfaith Discussion
Reverend Luis Cortés, founder, president, and CEO, Esperanza
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, senior rabbi, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah
Maajid Nawaz, Founding Chairman, Quilliam Foundation
Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor, Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences
Moderator: John J. DiIulio, Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion, and Civil Society

• 3-4:30 p.m.: Coffee & Tours of Perry World House, coffee and light snacks. 

September 20, 2016

Introducing Perry World House as a Bridge between Academia and Policy

• 9-9:45 a.m.: Breakfast & Registration

• 10-11:30 a.m.: Keynote Address & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, with Welcoming Remarks by Vincent Price, Provost, University of Pennsylvania, and an introduction by 
Theodore Ruger, dean, Penn Law School

Keynote Address Navanethem (Navi) Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2008-2014); ?Appeals Division Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague (2003-2008)

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with Penn President Amy Gutmann  & Lisa Perry and Richard C. Perry, W’77, University Trustee

• 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.: Lunch, boxed lunches for registered guests.

• 2:30-4:30 p.m.: Perry World House Dedication Program
Location: Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, doors open at 2 p.m.
Keynote Address & Conversation
Robert Gates, US Secretary of Defense (2006-2011); president, Texas A&M University (2002-2006)
In conversation with
Penn President Amy Gutmann 
?Keynote Round Table: US Foreign Policy: The Next Four Years, a moderated dialogue featuring:
Kurt Campbell, chairman and CEO of The Asia Group, LLC; assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (2009-2013)
Jon Huntsman, Jr., ambassador to China (2009-2011) and Singapore (1992-1993); governor of Utah (2005-2009)
Zalmay Khalilzad, counselor at Center for Strategic and International Studies; US ambassador to the United Nations (2007-2009)
Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO, New America; director of policy planning for the US Department of State (2009-2011)
Frances Townsend, national security analyst, CBS News; Homeland Security Advisor to George W. Bush (2004-2008)

Friday, September 23, 2016

A distinguished lecture by President of Mongolia: Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj
Location: Perry World House
4 pm 

Penn Medicine Performs 1,000th Lung Transplant

  • September 6, 2016
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Penn Medicine has completed its 1,000th lung transplant at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), an accomplishment shared with only four other lung transplant programs in the Unites States.

“We’re excited to have reached such a momentous milestone for the Penn Lung Transplant Program,” said James C. Lee, medical director of the Penn Lung Transplantation Program and an assistant professor of clinical medicine. “This milestone celebrates the positive impact we’ve had on the lives of our patients, and the difference we have made for those who have received lung transplants at Penn Medicine.”

The Penn Lung Transplant Program, part of the Penn Transplant Institute, the largest multi-organ transplant center in the Philadelphia region, was established in 1991 and has been at the forefront of care and clinical advances in the area of lung transplantation for a quarter century.

The first successful isolated lung transplant in the Delaware Valley was performed on January 1, 1992 by Larry Kaiser at HUP (Almanac January 21, 1992). Dr. Kaiser was one of only a handful of surgeons worldwide who were trained in the procedure at the time.

Since its inception, the program has performed more adult lung transplants than any other program in the Philadelphia area, with an average of 50 lung transplants per year over the last 15 years. In 2016, the program is on track to complete over 80 lung transplants. This is made possible, in part, by their patient-centered approach to care which ensures patients are moved through the evaluation swiftly and safely.

“Together, working closely with our patients and their families, our partners at Gift of Life Donor Program, and many groups within the health system, we have made tremendous progress in the field, and have been able to help so many patients who are struggling just to breathe,” said Edward Cantu, III, an assistant professor of cardiovascular surgery and the surgeon who performed the 1,000th lung transplant. “Our multidisciplinary approach to patient care allows us to treat some of the sickest patients in the timeliest way possible.”

Penn Medicine’s physicians, nurses, counselors and surgeons, among others, work with patients and their families to determine eligibility for transplantation, and follow them through post-operative care to ensure the transplanted organ is functioning properly and patients are recovering well. The success of the program is a direct result of the combined efforts of multiple clinical departments across Penn Medicine and a unique, multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of end-stage organ disease.

“With so many awaiting organs on United Organ Sharing Network’s (UNOS) waiting list, the goal of the Penn Transplant Institute is to provide a superior level of care to our patients while they are listed, during their transplant and in the days, weeks and years to follow,” said Abraham Shaked, director of the Penn Transplant Institute and the Eldridge L. Eliason Professor of Surgery. “Our team, whether involved in a lung transplant or a liver, kidney or heart transplant, are dedicated to helping the sickest of patients, and to finding ways to change even more lives through organ transplantation.”

The Penn Lung Transplant Program and Penn Transplant Institute deliver compassionate care with a goal to dramatically improve patient’s survival and quality of life. This achievement was also made possible by donor families and their loved ones who gave the gift of life through organ donation.

“With the expertise our team has gained over the years, we are committed to offering all available treatment options, and alternatives, that allow patients to receive a lung transplant swiftly,” said Christian A. Bermudez, the surgical director of Lung Transplantation and ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), director of Thoracic Transplantation and an associate professor of cardiovascular surgery. “Following this tremendous milestone, it is my hope and the goal of the program that our multidisciplinary team continues to further our expertise, advance the field of transplantation and give our patients the opportunity to really get their lives back.”

Penn Arts & Sciences: Four New Minors

  • September 6, 2016
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As of this fall, Penn Arts & Sciences will offer four new options for minors to undergraduates at Penn. The new fields of study will be in archaeological science, East Central European studies, law and society and medical sociology.

CAAM Minor in Archaeological Science

Penn’s new Center for Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM) is a collaboration between Penn Arts & Sciences and the Penn Museum, consisting of newly refurbished laboratory spaces in the Museum. CAAM is contiguous with the Museum’s conservation facilities, which contain essential equipment for the lab-based teaching and research involved in archaeology. For the CAAM minor in archaeological science, students will take a series of courses at the introductory, intermediate and advanced levels. An archaeology/culture class will emphasize the importance of developing an interpretive framework for the scientific analysis, while the capstone course provides a research experience.

Interdisciplinary Minor in East Central European Studies (ECES)

This program will offer students the opportunity for the integrated, interdisciplinary study of the history, politics, language, literature and culture of this important strategic region, which includes the Baltic states, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Slovak Republic and Ukraine. These nations share a complicated history but also possess their own regional identity and unique culture and languages. East Central Europe is its own region of study with a history at the edge and, at the same time, the core of European politics and culture. Managing the challenges and opportunities there will be increasingly high on the international agenda in years ahead.

Law and Society

The law and society minor gives students the opportunity to study and understand the law within a sociological framework, by examining the factors that affect variations in the law as well as how those variations affect individuals and populations differently. Along with a theoretical foundation in sociology, students will examine issues involving the state and its relationships to other institutions, civil liberties, punishment and detention and more. The required course Introduction to Sociological Research will allow students to develop their research capabilities. The minor prepares students interested in graduate studies in law, applied community organization or business.

Medical Sociology

The medical sociology minor gives students a theoretical foundation in sociology and the opportunity to engage in the sociological study of medicine and the health of populations. A sociological perspective on medicine allows students to critically engage with the social and cultural framing of what is defined as “illness,” the structural factors that may contribute to those illnesses and the interactive dynamics between healthcare providers and patients. Students will be able to critically connect the organization of social groups with the profession of medicine, the practice of medical care and the social factors that contribute to sickness and well-being. A key advantage of this minor will be the increased knowledge of research methods the students will gain, along with empirical and theoretical knowledge about the sociology of medicine.


Cameron Hurst, East Asian Studies

  • September 6, 2016
  • vol 63 issue 4
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Cameron Hurst, East Asian Studies

G. Cameron Hurst, III, historian of Japan and Korea, passed away on June 30 in Philadelphia at the age of 75.

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, “Cappy,” as he was known, arrived at Penn in 1995, recruited by the late William R. LaFleur, when the department was called Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Dr. Hurst became the first chair of the newly formed East Asian Languages and Civilizations in 2005, which since has almost doubled in size on the groundwork that he laid. He took the lead in energizing East Asian studies at Penn, which grew in Chinese and Japanese social sciences and moved toward critical mass in Korean studies from his efforts. He was known for his dynamism in program development. He joined the faculty at the University of Kansas in 1969 before he was 30, and spent two decades there as professor of history and East Asian studies, becoming director of KU’s Center for East Asian Studies as well as chair of the department of East Asian languages and cultures.

He was a prolific scholar; his study Insei: Abdicated Sovereigns in the Politics of Late Heian Japan, 1086-1185, published by Columbia University Press in 1976, is still widely consulted in the field. In addition to his focus on the institutional history of medieval Japan, he was a leading scholar of the martial arts, publishing Armed Martial Arts of Japan: Swordsmanship and Archery with Yale University Press in 1998. His essays, such as a chapter on “The K?bu Polity: Court-Bakufu Relations in Kamakura Japan” in Jeffrey P. Mass’ Court and Bakufu in Japan (Yale University Press, 1982), “Death, Honor, and Loyalty: The Bushid? Ideal,” (Philosophy East and West, 1990), and “The Warrior as Ideal for a New Age,” in The Origins of Japan’s Medieval World, edited by Jeffrey P. Mass (Stanford University Press, 1997), contributed substantially to the reconsideration of Japanese history. He also published translations from the Japanese. His essay “Kugy? and Zury?: Center and Periphery in the Era of Fujiwara no Michinaga” for Heian Japan, Centers and Peripheries, a volume from a conference for which he was part of the planning committee, came out from University of Hawaii Press in 2007.

He was dedicated to analyzing and even intervening in contemporary history as well, often publishing opinion pieces in news outlets such as the Korea Times, the Japan Times and the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal, as well as contributing to and advising media outlets in the United States. He was one of only a few academics who could speak to both Japanese and the Korean audiences, having acquired subject knowledge and facility in Korean language that nearly matched his prodigious skills in Japanese.

Education outside the university was a keen interest of his: he helped groups develop a better understanding of and enthusiasm for Japan and East Asia. He founded and led teachers from middle and high schools to Japan in 1997 on the first Phila-Nipponica program, which over the course of 18 years introduced 160 teachers from the greater Philadelphia area to Japan and then guided them in the production of curricular materials, so as to have an impact on over 50,000 students. He also led the Japan Seminar, a program that similarly selected college and university professors who were not Japan specialists from around the nation and enabled them to add courses about Japan to their institutions’ curricula.

He served as a visiting professor at the University of Washington in Seattle in the early 1980s, a faculty associate for Universities Field Staff International, on the Semester at Sea program, at teaching positions in Seoul, and as the Japan Foundation Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong. He also spent terms directing the Associated Kyoto Program housed at D?shisha University, held a directorship at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, and was dean at CUNY Lehman Hiroshima College from 1990-1992. He was a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute as well.

He graduated from Stanford University with a BA in history and Japanese in 1963. He took his MA in East Asian studies at the University of Hawaii in 1966, and then earned his PhD in East Asian Language and Cultures at Columbia University in 1972 after study at the Stanford Center, Keio University, the University of Kyoto and the University of Tokyo.

The late Fukushima Keid? R?shi, head of the T?fukuji Zen sect headquartered in Kyoto, toured the US annually, including KU and later Penn at Dr. Hurst’s invitation. The master always joked that when he was first introduced to Haasuto-sensei (as Dr. Hurst was pronounced in Japanese), so rapid-fire was Dr. Hurst’s spoken Japanese that he thought people were calling him Faasuto-sensei (Dr. Speedy). Kamikawa Rikuz?, the legendary tutor of generations of Japanologists, referred to Haasuto-kun as the Shinkansen, the speeding bullet train of linguists.

The wide web of those who felt privileged to know Cappy is attested in the festschrift organized in his honor by the distinguished historian Karl Friday, Japan Emerging: Premodern History to 1830 (Westview Press, 2012). Dr. Friday notes the scores of symposia and conference panels and guest lectures that Cappy organized or delivered, and his mentorship of hundreds of students and junior colleagues, concluding that “It would be no exaggeration to say that there are very few students or scholars of Japan whose lives and work have not been touched by Cappy’s efforts.”

Dr. Hurst is survived by his wife, Nayop (“Chini”) Hurst, their son, Mark and daughter, Dylan Mira; his first wife, Carol; their son, Ian, his wife, Hannah and three grandchildren, Henry, Annabelle and Theodore; and a brother, Stuart.


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. Call (215) 898-5274 or email

However, notices of alumni deaths should be directed to the Alumni Records Office at Room 517, Franklin Building, (215) 898-8136 or by email at


Farzana Rashid Hossain: Philadelphia Commission for Women

  • September 6, 2016
  • vol 63 issue 4
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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has appointed Farzana Rashid Hossain, an assistant professor of clinical medicine and a gastroenterologist at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, to the Philadelphia Commission for Women to build key relationships and help create equitable opportunities for women at all levels of the Philadelphia workforce.

The Commission has 27 members, 10 appointed by the mayor and 17 appointed by the members of City Council. There have been previous Mayor’s Commissions for Women established by executive order, but this is the first such permanent body.

“It is a wonderful honor to be appointed to the Commission by Mayor Kenney,” said Dr. Rashid Hossain. “I am grateful for his confidence in me and am committed to helping women achieve equal opportunities, and contribute to the local economy. I hope to empower girls to follow their scientific passions and take an executive pathway from the lab to the boardroom and look forward to working with my new colleagues to demonstrate that capable women are essential in strategizing and executing long-lasting government policy matters that will enable equal rights for women.”

“Dr. Rashid Hossain is an outstanding physician who is committed to helping the Philadelphia community through her expertise in medicine as well as serving on this important committee,” said Anil K. Rustgi, chief of the division of gastroenterology. “My colleagues and I take great pride in her selection and are confident that she will be a highly effective voice for women and girls and an outstanding role model.” 

Barbara Medoff-Cooper: International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame

  • September 6, 2016
  • vol 63 issue 4
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Barbara Medoff-Cooper, the Ruth M. Colket Professor in Pediatric Nursing in the department of family & community health, was inducted into the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame by Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) in July. She was honored at the 27th International Nursing Research Congress in Cape Town, South Africa.

Dr. Medoff-Cooper was selected for her research in infant development, feeding behaviors in high-risk infants and infant temperament.

Dr. Medoff-Cooper is the developer of the Early Infancy Temperament Questionnaire. She also contributed to the development of the Neonur device, a patented feeding device used to assess newborn sucking.

Angel Mills: Boren Fellowship

  • September 6, 2016
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Angel Mills, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (GSE), has been awarded a Boren Fellowship to study Portuguese in São Paulo, Brazil, during the 2016-2017 academic year.

David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships, sponsored by the National Security Education Program, provide US undergraduate and graduate students with resources and encouragement to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of the US. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.

Ms. Mills is earning her master’s of education in Penn GSE’s intercultural communication program. She earned her BA in communication from Howard University.

María F. Paredes Fernández: Teacher of the Year

  • September 6, 2016
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María F. Paredes Fernández, a Penn lecturer in Hispanic and Portuguese studies, has been named 2016 Teacher of the Year at the University Level by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP). The award was presented during the AATSP conference in Miami.

Ms. Paredes Fernández, who joined Penn’s  School of Arts & Sciences’ department of Romance languages in 2011, was recognized for her student-centered, project-based language learning approach, promoting teamwork and problem-solving skills. 

“Students take responsibility for their own learning while having a safe environment for them to seek assistance from their peers,” Ms. Paredes Fernández said. “In this manner, students are both learners and teachers.” 

Ms. Paredes Fernández was also acknowledged for her innovative use of authentic materials such as popular websites and music in the target language to strengthen each lesson and provide students with a global perspective. 

She said the key to helping students gain a deeper understanding of world languages is tailoring lessons to multiple learning styles. 

“Learning Spanish helps students to examine their own assumptions about language and culture,” Ms. Paredes Fernández said. “It allows students to experience the world more broadly and express themselves outside the confines of their own culture.” 

Ms. Paredes Fernández said her passion for preparing students for international engagement stems from a desire to promote mutual understanding. “When learning becomes relevant, students understand how they can use what they have learned in meaningful ways to participate in the global community,” she said. 

Ms. Paredes Fernández also serves as a pre-major advisor, an instructor in the Penn Summer Abroad Program and a course coordinator for the advanced and accelerated elementary Spanish courses. She is also a Penn First advocate supporting first-generation students on campus. 

Ronald Fairman and Rogers Smith: American Philosophical Society

  • September 6, 2016
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Two faculty members from the University of Pennsylvania have been selected for membership in the American Philosophical Society. They are Ronald M. Fairman and Rogers Smith.

The American Philosophical Society promotes useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications, library resources and community outreach. It has played a role in American cultural and intellectual life for over 250 years.

Dr. Fairman is the Clyde F. Barker—William Maul Measey Professor of Surgery and chief of vascular surgery and endovascular therapy in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. He also serves as vice chairman for clinical affairs for the department of surgery and is a professor of surgery in radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

An internationally acclaimed vascular surgeon and current president of the Society for Vascular Surgery (Almanac August 30, 2016), Dr. Fairman has played a central role in shaping a new field of medicine, endovascular therapy, which helps patients afflicted with blood vessel disorders, such as aneurysms and arterial blockages.

His research has advanced less invasive endovascular surgical procedures and refined the complex devices used during those surgeries.

Dr. Smith is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science, chair of the Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship and Constitutionalism and associate dean for social sciences in Penn’s  School of Arts and Sciences.

A leading scholar of American public law,  American political thought and the politics of citizenship, Dr. Smith has explored how American constitutional development has been driven in part by tensions between conflicting American values, especially between rights doctrines and racial, gender and religious conceptions of American identity.

Dr. Smith has argued that American constitutionalism and citizenship should be understood as efforts to extend secure possession of basic rights more inclusively in ways that have contributed significantly to debates over civil liberties, immigration and policies shaping opportunities for racial and ethnic minorities.


Convocation 2016: The Choice is Yours, Remarks by Penn President Amy Gutmann

  • September 6, 2016
  • vol 63 issue 4
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On Monday, August 29, the University of Pennsylvania’s Class of 2020 Convocation was held under crystal clear blue skies on Blanche Levy Park in front of College Hall. President Amy Gutmann accepted the baton—symbolizing the Class of 2020—from Dean of Admissions Eric Furda. Below are President Gutmann’s remarks to the more than 2,500 incoming students, including freshmen and transfers.

The Choice is Yours

Amy Gutmann

Members of the Class of 2020: Welcome to Penn!

Those of you who have transferred here from other schools: Home at last! Smart move!

You have chosen to come to Penn from all across this country and every corner of the world. From New York to California, from Texas to Maine. From all across Pennsylvania and from home here in Philadelphia. From Canada and Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, Egypt and Poland, China, India and the United Kingdom, 81 countries in all. We are thrilled you are all here.

Tonight, I am delighted to officially induct you into a grand tradition going back more than 275 years. It includes luminaries ranging from Benjamin Franklin to Andrea Mitchell and John Legend; eight signers of the Declaration of Independence; and nine signers of the US Constitution. And now this time-honored tradition includes you.

Choosing to come to Penn was one of the best decisions you will make in your life. OK, I may not be impartial. But I am right. You have chosen well.

Although you arrive at Penn having walked many different paths, you are all here because each of you yourselves chose Penn. But you did not choose alone.

By a show of hands, how many of you learned about Penn from a member of your family or a friend? Put your hands up and keep them up if you learned of Penn from family or friend.

How many of you became interested in Penn because of a teacher or guidance counselor or advisor? Hands up. Good. How many got here because of a coach or mentor?

Take a moment to look around you at how many of you have your hands up.

Coming to Penn was your own choice, but for almost everybody it was a mediated choice. You made it with the aid of others. Thank you, you can put your hands down. (Here you thought the days of raising your hands were over!)

One more quick question: raise your hand if you let someone else make your choice of Penn for you. Ah, not so many this time!

This little exercise goes to show something I hope you will take to heart and hold on to always. As adults, our decisions are our own. We make our own choices. But our choosing well—our choosing wisely—is hardly ever something we do all on our own. It takes a teacher, coach, mentor, a community. It takes an extended family. And that’s what you are joining today. That’s why your peers and RAs and College House Directors and the Penn faculty and staff colleagues here with me are so important.

Now that you have arrived at the finest urban campus in the world, one great question looms: how will you choose to make the best of it?  We’re going to start to answer that question right now.

Please stand up. Go ahead: stretch your legs.

Coming to college is about choosing anew. In that spirit, I want you to choose somebody new who you haven’t met before, and say hi. Introduce yourself: shake hands, say hello. Come on now: no exceptions. Not even me! Let’s all choose, and choose bravely.

Ok, great! Please have a seat. I see a lot of smiles, and that’s good.

This was a hands-on, handshake exercise about the uplifting power of choice. Pardon the pun. We just embraced the fact that the best approach to uncertainty is to buck the familiar. Find your comfort zone and then move beyond it.

Photographs by Eddy Marenco

How will you make the most of your time at Penn? Choose something new. Choose someone new. The most thrilling choices, the choices that add the most value, come from the unknown. They come when we choose friends and classes, clubs and activities that complement who we are becoming rather than merely reflect who we already know ourselves to be. Differences are the key.

We realize the most out of life when we reach beyond what’s familiar to embrace what’s new.

Case in point: Right after college, a young man decided to follow his passions and interests, and forgo more lucrative alternatives. He joined a nonprofit, working internationally to bring eye care and inexpensive glasses to people who made less than $4 a day. He built connections, learned the ins and outs of the manufacturing process and helped many thousands along the way. 

Eventually, he came to Wharton for his MBA. One day, while commiserating over a lost pair of expensive glasses with some Penn friends, they wondered: Why are eyeglasses so expensive? From this simple question, a series of further questions arose. Can we be the first to figure out how to cut their cost? Can we provide affordable glasses to people who need them most but can afford them least?

Together they hatched a plan. Because of what Neil Blumenthal had learned during his nonprofit days, he saw they could both create a successful business and have the power to achieve great social good.

That company is Warby Parker. Today, their idea has grown into a successful business that has provided more than a million free pairs of great new glasses to people all around the world.

I chose Neil’s bold choices to share with you because I also want to invite you to be among the first to choose to join him and his co-founder of Warby Parker on October 28 here at the grand opening celebration of our Pennovation Center. Come see the future of innovative choices at Penn. Who knows? You may even get your very own free pair of Warby Parker sunglasses there!
The most important developments in our lives arise, like your Penn education and successes like Warby Parker, from a series of individual choices, none of which are solitary.

During your years at Penn, you will have so many opportunities, and you will make so many choices. Take the fullest advantage of Penn faculty, mentors and friends to guide and assist you, to offer you their counsel, expertise and support. Never, ever hesitate to ask for our help. Challenges come with the territory. Help is always at hand when you need it.

Your choices while at Penn also importantly extend beyond what occurs here on campus. For example, there’s a very big choice coming soon for every American citizen on November 8. I encourage every eligible voter in the Class of 2020 to register and to cast your vote in the upcoming election. For all our international students, I encourage you to participate fully in campus discussions on the issues and enjoy a front row seat for seeing American democracy at work.

These choices and countless more to come are ultimately what joining our Penn community is all about. Your choices matter. Your contributions to our community count. Penn thrives because we boldly self-renew. And as our newest members, your choices will not only transform your lives; they also will help shape the future of this dynamic and caring place called Penn.

Seeing you all here this evening, I have every reason to be confident that you will choose well. We are all so very happy that you are here. Here’s to Our Penn!

Convocation 2016: Standing Together, Standing Apart, Remarks by Penn Provost Vincent Price

  • September 6, 2016
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2016 Convocation Remarks by Provost Vincent Price

Standing Together, Standing Apart

Vincent Price

As Provost, I have the great pleasure of welcoming you to Penn. To the countless things you will learn here, let me add one more: What a Provost is. I am Chief Academic Officer, and I’m also a professor of communication in the Annenberg School. A few other fun facts: I am Penn’s 29th Provost. Unlike William Smith, Penn’s first Provost, I was not personally recruited by Benjamin Franklin. And unlike our first Provost, I’ve never taught my classes from jail. Let me take just a minute to explain.

In 1758, Provost Smith—who was brought here by Franklin to teach philosophy and logic—was imprisoned by the Pennsylvania Assembly, in the Old Jail that once stood at 3rd and Market Streets.

Franklin and Smith shared a belief in the value of a broad-based, practical education, with classes in English and not just Latin, and training for vocations other than the clergy. But while they might have shared an educational philosophy, the two men did not see eye to eye politically. Franklin, as you know, was a revolutionary; Smith was widely regarded as a loyalist. And, in fact, Smith was eventually forced to leave Philadelphia.

The two men disagreed bitterly. They built walls. But those walls became classrooms. And those classrooms became this University—an institution that has thrived for nearly three centuries, longer than the nation itself. And a community that thrives not despite our differences, but because of them.

Why tell this story tonight? Two reasons. First, to illustrate a lasting truth: that successful communities are built by those who work together while still retaining their individualism, their essence. And second, to show that community does not mean uniformity, or even conformity. Here, you can be, or become, whomever you wish. And we promise not to run you out of town.

I’d like to talk about what it means to be part of a community, and the ways our community shapes who we are. And about what it means to be, simultaneously, part of a group and an individual. About standing together, and standing apart.

The Rev. Charles L. Howard, University Chaplain gave the Invocation.

Photographs by Eddy Marenco

If you’re like I was, you may be looking around wondering about how exactly you will fit in. Not long ago, the Huffington Postasked seniors what they wished they knew when they were first-years. Let me quote a few of the responses. “Get involved, right away.” “Don’t be a bum. Dress in somewhat of a presentable fashion.” “Don’t tell anyone you like Justin Bieber: it will ruin everything for you for three-and-a-half years.”

What do these words of wisdom have in common? They focus on reaching out, connecting, on making a good impression. Becoming part of a group, belonging. These are natural, and essential, ingredients to a good, happy, and productive life. We are social animals; belonging to groups is how we realize and define who we are. As you consider which groups to join and which classes to take, move beyond what’s comfortable. Choose classes that seem like a stretch, and join groups that seem different. If you don’t like what’s offered, start a new group. Perhaps a Bieber fan club.

One of the great things about your situation tonight is that you are all new. Your past achievements have brought you here; but your past does not define you. The admissions office has seen your file, but to everybody else, you’re unknown. Penn is a place for you to step out of those old social roles, and try on some new ones. Sort of like an audition for your future self. And not just one audition: you can try out for many different roles. You decide if you get the part.

Now, that comparison to acting is more than metaphorical. Many psychologists have concluded that the self is defined through our interaction with others, in groups. Playing new roles can be challenging at times. We probably all experience a little stage fright now and again. But it can be, and should be, liberating. And fun. So, go for it.

However, keep in mind that’s only half of the story. As you try on new roles, be sure to nurture that deeper, personal self who is you, and you alone. Revolutionary, or royalist. What do I want? What do I think? What should I do? You will have hours upon hours to read, and to study, on your own. Hours for introspection. That too is one of the great and rare things about college. Embrace that opportunity. And by the way, focusing on yourself also means staying healthy, and, especially, getting enough sleep. I mean that. Get some sleep. Invigorated, we like. Exhausted, not so much.

A final thought: All communities—this one included—require trade-offs, a balancing act between the group and the individual. When do you lose yourself in the crowd, and when do you stand out in it? When do you look for and express what’s common between us, or what is uncommon? The result is that communities face tension between the group and the individual: Between what we share and what makes us unique.

We hope—indeed, we expect—that you will share your talents—your differences—with us. We all succeed—individually and collectively—because of them, not despite them. Seek personal achievement, sure. But strive for collective engagement. Improve yourself to improve our community, and the world. That was the vision of Benjamin Franklin and William Smith almost three centuries ago. It remains our vision today.

Members of the Class of 2020, welcome to our community. Welcome to Penn!


Biologists Reveal How Sleep Deprivation Harms Memory

  • September 6, 2016
  • vol 63 issue 4
  • Research
  • print

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and University of Groningen have discovered a piece in the puzzle of how sleep deprivation negatively affects memory.

A study in mice has, for the first time, shown that five hours of sleep deprivation leads to a loss of connectivity between neurons in the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with learning and memory. The study is to be published in the journal eLife.

“It’s clear that sleep plays an important role in memory,” said first author Robbert Havekes, a former postdoctoral researcher in Penn’s department of biology and now an assistant professor at the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences. “We know that taking naps helps us retain important memories. But how sleep deprivation impairs hippocampal function and memory is less obvious.”

Dr. Havekes and senior author Ted Abel, Brush Family Professor of Biology at Penn, examined the impact of brief periods of sleep loss on the structure of dendrites, the branching extensions of nerve cells along which impulses are received from other synaptic cells, in the mouse brain.

They first used the Golgi silver-staining method, which allows visualization of brain tissue, to measure the length of dendrites and number of dendritic spines in the mouse hippocampus following five hours of sleep deprivation, a period of sleep loss that is known to impair memory consolidation. Their analyses indicated that sleep deprivation significantly reduced the length and spine density of the dendrites belonging to the neurons in the CA1 region of the hippocampus.

The scientists then repeated the sleep-loss experiment but left the mice to sleep undisturbed for three hours afterwards.  This period was chosen based on the scientists’ previous work showing that three hours is sufficient to restore deficits caused by lack of sleep. The effects of the five-hour sleep deprivation in the mice were reversed so that their dendritic structures were similar to those observed in the mice that had slept.

The researchers then investigated what was happening during sleep deprivation at the molecular level. They found the molecular mechanisms related to the negative effects of sleep loss were targeting the protein cofilin, which can cause shrinkage and loss of dendritic spines.

“Blocking this protein in hippocampal neurons of sleep-deprived mice not only prevented the loss of neuronal connectivity but also made the memory processes resilient to sleep loss. The sleep-deprived mice learned as well as non-sleep deprived subjects,” Dr. Havekes said.

“Lack of sleep is a common problem in our 24/7 modern society, and it has severe consequences for health, overall well-being and brain function,” Dr. Abel said. “Despite decades of research, the reasons why sleep loss negatively impacts brain function have remained unknown. Our novel description of a pathway through which sleep deprivation impacts memory consolidation highlights the importance of the neuronal cell network’s ability to adapt to sleep loss. What is perhaps most striking is that these neuronal connections are restored with several hours of recovery sleep. Thus, when subjects have a chance to catch up on much-needed sleep, they are rapidly remodeling their brain.”

People Prefer Reductive Explanations

  • September 6, 2016
  • vol 63 issue 4
  • Research
  • print

Readers favor a certain explanatory style when learning about complicated scientific topics, according to a study published in the journal Cognition by University of Pennsylvania researchers. Deena Weisberg, a senior fellow in the psychology department at the School of Arts & Sciences, philosophy graduate student Jordan Taylor and former postdoc Emily Hopkins found that people prefer descriptions with information from more reductive scientific fields, even when those details aren’t relevant to understanding the finding.

One way people make a complex idea clear is to break it down into basic, digestible chunks. “If I’m trying to talk about how a car works,” Dr. Weisberg said, “I have to stop talking about the whole car at a certain point and instead, start talking about its components and how they work together.”

Similarly, Dr. Weisberg said, people prefer clarifications that separate findings into smaller parts or refer to more fundamental processes, otherwise called reductive explanations.

Drs. Weisberg and Hopkins partnered with experts across the university to write a series of explanations for scientific topics looking at two variables: quality of explanation, or good versus bad, and whether reductive information was included versus not included. “Good” explanations detailed a phenomenon well, while “bad” ones lacked certain relevant information to understand that phenomenon’s occurrence. “Reductive” ones included extra information from a more reductive field, such as explaining how a cell behaves biologically by referring to its internal chemistry. “Non-reductive” explanations used only evidence from a single science, for instance, talking about how the cell’s biological behavior works with the rest of the biological system. Critically, the reductive explanations did not add any information necessary to grasping the phenomenon.

Study participants, which included Penn undergraduates and a sample of people recruited through a crowdsourcing website, received explanations that used different combinations of variables, reductive good, reductive bad, non-reductive good and non-reductive bad, then rated how satisfied they felt with each type of explanation.

The researchers found across all sciences, participants showed a significant bias for reductive details, rating good descriptions that used reductive information higher than those without reductive information. The same held true for logically flawed explanations.

“It’s not like their compass for judging information is entirely broken in any sense,” Dr. Weisberg said. “The strongest and most consistent finding is that they can tell between good and bad. The good ones are always better than the bad. Within that, you get a bump for the reductive explanation.”

The findings may have ramifications for how science is taught, according to Dr. Weisberg.

“Most college undergraduates are not going to be professional scientists,” she said, “but they are going to be consumers of science, people who are using it in some way in their daily lives.” 

In future research, Drs. Weisberg and Hopkins said they plan to investigate whether and how other factors like graduate studies or a general knowledge of scientific practices can reduce this bias.  

Cancer Checkpoint Drug Target Governs Metabolic Changes in Exhausted T Cells

  • September 6, 2016
  • vol 63 issue 4
  • Research
  • print

Reprogramming of the molecular pathways underlying normal metabolism is essential for T cell infection-fighting function and for the immune system to form a “memory” of the microbes it has already encountered. But exactly how metabolism in exhausted T cells is maintained in chronic infections and cancer is a missing element in this line of research. Now, a new study suggests that tweaking metabolic steps in combination with checkpoint blockade drugs may improve some cancer therapies, according to research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The team published their findings in the journal Immunity.

When T cells are activated because of a microbe or a tumor in a host, “they have a lot of work to do. They need to make many copies of themselves by generating building blocks to make new cells,” said senior author E. John Wherry, director of the Institute for Immunology, professor of microbiology and co-director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Penn. “T cells have to drastically change their energetic lifestyle, going from a sedentary couch potato existence to being a marathoner in a very short time.”

Physiologically, this transformation entails going from a “catabolic” existence of slow metabolic burn to an “anabolic” one in which the body revs up to generate chemical intermediates to build new cells. But T cells are hard wired to stop the fast lane anabolic mode after a certain time because functioning at that level is unsustainable.

“We found that as early as the first week of a chronic viral infection, even before severe T cell dysfunction becomes established, virus-specific T cells are already unable to match the bioenergetic demands of T cells generated during the height of fighting a well-contained viral infection in a mouse model,” Dr. Wherry said.

D-1, a cell surface receptor and target of widely used cancer drugs, tells T cells to turn off the anabolic pathway, but other molecular signals say keep this pathway turned on because chronic infection or growing tumors are still present. “Now we have metabolically confused T cells,” Wherry said.

Many tumors make proteins that bind with PD-1 to shut down the T cell signal, and drugs that block this process are one of the most prolific areas of cancer research.

Dr. Wherry’s team induced infection in mice using two different strains of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), a well-studied model system for exploring T cell biology. In one group of mice, the virus was cleared in a week by healthy, or effector T cells, and in another group the clearance was derailed because T cells became exhausted.

The study identified the timing—earlier than previously thought—of when PD-1 turns off the anabolic metabolism signal. This finding has implications for the clinic because it identifies the altered metabolism as a distinct point in the development of exhausted T cells versus as a later consequence of exhausted T cells.

These findings also identified PD-1’s role as the metabolic switch in shutting down anabolic pathways and characterized downstream metabolic regulator targets of PD-1.

One area on the research horizon, says Dr. Wherry, is to find a way to enhance exhausted T cells by testing drugs that manipulate metabolism. The team will also explore ways to pharmacologically improve mitochondria health.


Thai Manuscript Culture in Conference and New Library Exhibit

  • September 6, 2016
  • vol 63 issue 4
  • Events
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caption:An accompanying conference and reception will be held today, September 6, from 2-7 p.m. with Justin McDaniel, professor of religious studies, serving as keynote speaker. For more information and to register for today’s conference, visit:
An accompanying conference and reception will be held today, September 6, from 2-7 p.m. with Justin McDaniel, professor of religious studies, serving as keynote speaker. For more information and to register for today’s conference, visit:

The Penn Libraries is proud to announce the opening of ‘Siamese Sampler’: 19th Century Manuscripts of Scripture, Poetry, and Decree” in the Snyder-Granader Alcove on the sixth floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. This exhibit highlights a sampling of the rich variety of Thai Manuscripts held at the Penn Libraries and will run through October 7.

Although the exhibit includes what is considered to be one of the most exquisite specimens of an illuminated Thai manuscript—the Abhidhamma Chet Kamphi (Ms. Coll. 990, Item 5), Curator Susanne Ryuyin Kerekes, 2015-2016 Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (SIMS) Graduate Fellow and PhD candidate in religious studies at Penn, wanted to focus her exhibit on the beauty of historical importance rather than aesthetics. As a result, the exhibition provides unique insight into the relationship between the materials and their current home, how they were collected and their meaning to Thai manuscript culture. Highlights include three rare manuscripts: a government treatise; an elementary Thai lesson book; a volume from the epic poem, “Phra ‘Aphai Mani,” composed by Sunthorn Phu (1786-1855), a royal poet considered the Shakespeare of Thailand; and a Thai translation of the gospel of Matthew with an accompanying diary entry from the English-speaking missionary who translated it.

The SIMS Graduate Fellowship was established to encourage emerging scholars to engage with the rich manuscript resources at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, including the Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection. Working closely with SIMS staff members, the fellows have the opportunity to develop a project and gain experience working in a collaborative, digital humanities environment. Ms. Kerekes credits the welcoming, expert staff at SIMS with helping her discover the true merits of this fellowship—its unintended by-products. Not only was Ms. Kerekes able to research rare, never-before translated Thai manuscripts, but she was also given the independence to sharpen her skills as a scholar by embarking on her first foray into curating and organizing an exhibition and conference. “It is with the utmost gratitude and respect that I acknowledge all the opportunities this fellowship afforded me,” Ms. Kerekes explained, “I should only be so fortunate in the future to be able to work with encouraging and positive mentors like those of the SIMS family.”

Annual Housing Fair Returns to Campus: September 14

  • September 6, 2016
  • vol 63 issue 4
  • Events
  • print

Penn Home Ownership Services (PHOS) will host its annual Housing Fair on Wednesday, September 14. The fair is a convenient one-stop resource as attendees get the opportunity to meet representatives from PHOS, its lending providers and other exhibitors. They will be able to address questions, including those about the Forgivable Loan and Closing Cost Reduction Programs, which are available to full-time employees of the University and UPHS.

This special event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Houston Hall’s Bodek Lounge. Admission to the fair is free. For more information please visit


Weekly Crime Reports

  • September 6, 2016
  • vol 63 issue 4
  • Crimes
  • print

The University of Pennsylvania Police Department Community Crime Report

About the Crime Report: Below are all Crimes Against Persons, Property and Crimes Against Society from the campus report for August 22-28, 2016View prior weeks' reports.—Ed.

This summary is prepared by the Division of Public Safety and includes all criminal incidents reported and made known to the University Police Department between the dates of August 22-28, 2016. The University Police actively patrol from Market Street to Baltimore Avenue and from the Schuylkill River to 43rd Street in conjunction with the Philadelphia Police. In this effort to provide you with a thorough and accurate report on public safety concerns, we hope that your increased awareness will lessen the opportunity for crime. For any concerns or suggestions regarding this report, please call the Division of Public Safety at (215) 898-4482.

08/23/161:58 AM3400 Spruce StTheftCell phone taken
08/23/168:21 AM3400 Spruce StTheftCurrency taken from office
08/23/1611:08 PM3900 Ludlow StAssaultComplainant shot by unknown male
08/24/161:52 PM51 N 39th StTheftCurrency taken
08/24/162:55 PM51 N 39th StTheftSecured bike taken
08/24/164:06 PM3731 Walnut StTheftPurse taken and charges made on credit cards
08/24/165:12 PM4000 Irving StTheftSecured bike taken
08/24/166:27 PM3700 Spruce StTheftPurse taken from bin
08/25/167:43 AM3335 Woodland WalkTheftProperty taken from pocketbook
08/25/169:32 AM100 S 38th StAssaultComplainant pushed from bike
08/26/166:02 AM4200 Spruce StTheftBike tires taken
08/26/166:57 PM3710 Hamilton WalkTheftUnsecured phone taken from backpack
08/27/162:34 AM3000 Walnut StRobberyPhone taken from complainant
08/27/165:00 AM3957 Baltimore AveBurglaryProperty taken from residence
08/27/1611:58 AM3924 Spruce StTheftProperty taken from room
08/27/167:10 PM3100 Chestnut StOther OffenseMale wanted on warrant/Arrest
08/28/164:43 AM207 42nd StTheftSecured bike taken
08/28/165:13 AM200 S 40th StSex OffenseConfidential
08/28/166:05 PM4000 Spruce StLiquor LawMale cited for underage drinking

18th District Report

Below are the Crimes Against Persons from the 18th District: 10 incidents with 1 arrest (6 robberies, 2 assaults, 1 aggravated assault and 1 rape) were reported between August 22-28, 2016 by the 18th District covering the Schuylkill River to 49th Street & Market Street to Woodland Avenue.

08/23/1611:10 PM3990 Market StAggravated Assault
08/24/161:08 AM1200 S 46th StRobbery
08/25/163:56 AM45th & Chester AveAssault
08/25/169:34 AM38th & Chestnut StsAssault
08/25/168:47 PM400 S 43rd StRobbery/Arrest
08/25/1610:33 PM4820 Spruce StRobbery
08/26/168:15 PM4811 Florence AveRobbery
08/27/161:20 AM4653 Hazel AveRobbery
08/27/162:35 AM3025 Walnut StRobbery
08/28/165:50 AM200 blk of S 40th StRape


One Step Ahead: Who Knows Where You Are?

  • September 6, 2016
  • vol 63 issue 4
  • Bulletins
  • print

Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy.


“Location awareness” enables mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to passively or actively broadcast their location. While such services can be useful and engaging, they can also leave you open to inadvertently revealing your location to others.

Many social media and media-sharing sites have default settings which capture and embed global positioning system (GPS) information. Photos and photo applications such as Instagram and Flickr can contain location data and GPS coordinates. The Facebook Messenger app can also reveal your location to people you message with.

Of course, you may be deliberately choosing to share your location information by “checking in” on social apps such as Foursquare, or by using exercise-tracking apps like Strava, Garmin Connect or Nike+. However, it is important to be mindful of privacy settings when using these services because you may not personally know everyone in your audience, particularly when you share information with larger groups. In addition to controlling who sees your location information, turning off location services can also conserve valuable battery life on your devices.

To turn off location sharing on Android devices, go to Settings > Location and move the toggle to Off. To turn off location tracking in iOS, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and select your desired settings. If you turn off Location Services, Find My iPhone will turn Location Services back on when the phone is set to “Lost Mode.”

Note: Location services will always be enabled for E911 emergency services on Android and iOS. 

For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: