Dr. Fred Ketterer of EE, Distinguished Teacher

Dr. Frederick D. Ketterer, an associate professor described as "the guardian of the quality of our undergraduate program" in electrical engineering, died on August 3 at the age of 65.

A 1954 Penn physics alumnus, Dr. Ketterer did research in industry for DuPont and General Electric while preparing for his M.S. in Electrical Engineering, which he received from Penn in 1960. For his Ph.D. in EE, he moved to MIT where he won the first of four teaching awards he was to receive in his career, the 1965 MIT Teaching Award. Returning to Penn later that year as an assistant professor, he won the United Engineers Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1968 and was promoted to associate professor three years later. In 1981 he also won the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, followed by Engineering's S. Reid Warren, Jr., Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1982.

Early in his career he became known for his research on techniques for freezing organs for transplant. He was a member of the Society for Cryobiology, the Radiation Research Society and other professional organizations, and was a consultant to the National Cancer Institute and Jefferson University Hospital. He also co-founded the Conshohocken firm K&C Medical.

"Over the years Fred has played the single most dominant role in the undergraduate education of electrical engineering students at Penn," said Dr. Sohrab Rabii, chair of electrical engineering. "No EE undergraduate, during the past 35 years, has left without experiencing his rigorous, demanding and dedicated style of teaching. He has served as a model for all of us, and he will be sorely missed as a colleague and a friend."

Dr. Ketterer is survived by his wife, Delores, by two daughters, Cynthia and Gwyneth and by a son, David.

Dr. Morton Benson, Slavic Languages

Dr. Morton Benson, a professor emeritus of Slavic Languages and whose distinguished publishing career included publication of the world's first English/Serbo-Croatian dictionaries, died on July 21 at the age of 73, following complications of a stroke.

A 1947 graduate of NYU, he took a certificate at Grenoble in 1948 and a Ph.D. from Penn in 1954. After teaching at Ohio University he joned the faculty here in 1960 where he was to lead the department as chair from 1966-74 and later serve twice as undergraduate chair in 1977-80 and l990-95. He won a Fulbright to Yugoslavia in 1965, and on numerous other occasions lectured in Slavic-speaking nations abroad.

He published eight books, including the University of Pennsylvania Press editions of his Serbo-Croation dictionaries and another widely praised dictionary he co-athored, The BBI Combinatory Dictionary of English: A Guide to Word Combinations. For the latter work, the Duke of Edinburgh presented him in 1987 with a Certificate of Special Merit from the English Speaking Union of the Commonwealth.

Dr. Benson is survived by his wife of 43 years, the 1949 Penn alumna Evelyn Benson; two daughters, Rebecca and Miriam, who graduated from Penn in 1979 and 1982, respectively; six grandchildren, and a sister, Bernice Teichman.

Jerre Mangione,

From Mount Allegro to La Storia

Jerre Mangione, an emeritus professor of English whose portrayal of the Italian-American experience won the abundant praise and prizes of the literary world both here and abroad, died on August 16 at the age of 89.

As a high school newspaper editor-in-chief in his hometown of Rochester, New York, Jerre Mangione had declared himself in his 1927 yearbook with the caption "As though I wrote to live, and lived to write." He was to do just that for over six decades to come, publishing eleven carefully crafted novels, biographies and memoirs as well as establishing the writing program and the Italian Studies Center at Penn.

He landed his first writing job, with Time Magazine, on graduating from Syracuse in 1931. His next was with the McBride publishing house journal Travel. Then came the Federal Writers Project, where he was National Coordinating Editor from 1937 until 1939 when Congress ended the project. Later, he was to receive the 1973 Anthenaeum of Philadelphia Literary Award for his definitive history of that project, The Dream and the Deal, published in 1972 and nominated for the National Book Award in history.

But it was his first book, the 1943 Mount Allegro, that established Jerre Mangione's place in American letters. His best-selling family memoir of Italian immigrant life in Rochester was followed by his first novel, The Ship and the Flame. He was to publish nine more books and numerous articles after joining Penn in 1961 as chairman of the freshman composition program, which he built into a major hands-on writing program. A winner of Fulbright, Guggenheim, Rockefeller and other awards, he was promoted to full professor in 1968. Among his most prominent works of the later period were A Passion for Sicilians: The World Around Danilo Dolce, and a slim, droll volume called Life Sentences for Everybody, in which he gave intricate fictitious biographies consisting of one sentence each--prompting the poet John Ciardi to label him the inventor of a new genre.

In 1971, Professor Mangione was named Commendatore (Commander of the Order Star of Italian Solidarity) by the Italian government for his writings and lectures "devoted to making Italy better known and respected." In 1974, he was elected a Fellow of the Society of American Historians. He received the Person of the Year Award in 1978 from the Italian-Americans of Delaware County for his portrayal of the Italian-American experience in his many books. The American Humanist Association elected him to the editorial board of The Humanist in 1979. Professor Mangione received the President's Award from the American Institute for Italian Culture that same year.

The University of Pennsylvania conferred an honorary degree on him in 1980, noting that he is "an American in Italy and a paesano in America, he has bridged the gulf between countries and cultures in the best-seller Mount Allegro and the autobiographical An Ethnic at Large." He also received an honorary degree from SUNY at Brockport for "recording the uniquely varied experiences of a lifetime in novels, autobiography and social history."

As he became an emeritus professor in 1978, Professor Mangione devoted himself to the creation of the Italian Studies Center, where he served as acting director from its inception in December 1978 until July 1980, and was coordinator of cultural programs for some time afterward. In the spring of 1980 he also became a visiting professor at Queens College, teaching a writers' workshop and a course in American ethnic literature. Then in 1981 he began work on an NEH-funded study of the Italian-American experience for the years 1880-1980. It evolved into his last and longest book, written in collaboration with Ben Morreale and published in 1992--La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience; or as Professor Mangione was to describe it, "from Columbus to Cuomo."

He was the first American writer to receive the Premio Nazionale Empedocle, in the Sicilian port city of Porto Empedocle, his father's birthplace. It is described as the most important prize for literature given by the government of Sicily. In 1984 he was cited for the new Italian edition of Mount Allegro; and later that year he was awarded the Chapel Legion of Honor Medallion of the Chapel of Four Chaplains in Philadelphia in recognition of "loving service persons regardless of their race or religious faith."

He was awarded a Pennsylvania Governor's Award for Excellence in 1989, coinciding with the sixth American edition Mount Allegro, the book that by that time had given a new name to the area where he grew up: his old neighborhood was named Mount Allegro in 1986 in honor of the book, with a historic marker in Rochester's Upper Falls Overlook Park to designate the site as part of the original 60-acre neighborhood.The University of Rochester established the Mangione Archive of his papers and manuscripts in their library, which opened with an exhibition from October 28,1990, through March 15, 1991.

The Leonardo Da Vinci Award of the Italian Heritage and Culture Month Committee was presented in New York in October 1989 to Professor Mangione for his "outstanding contribution to the world of letters, through his own fiction and non-fiction writing, his teaching and his efforts to establish and develop the Italian Studies Center. He authored books of fiction and non-fiction, among them are Life Sentences for Everybody (1966); A Passion for Sicilians: The World Around Danilo Dolci (1968); Reunion in Sicily; and An Ethnic at Large: A Memoirs of America in the Thirties and Forties (1978).

One of his most recent awards , The International Arts Award from the Columbus Countdown 1992 Foundation, summed up his career in its citation, "Jerre Mangione has had a lasting impact on our society in a distinctive way: he was one of the first to make ethnicity respectable as a social and historical reality as well as a literary trend, but,--most important--he brought ethnic realities into the mainstream with elegance and sensitivity...."

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, the artist Patricia Mangione, a brother and two sisters.

Sean Smith, PennMed 2001

Sean F. Smith, a Penn medical student who had spent his summer doing research in Holland, died in a hiking accident during a storm in Iceland, where he had taken a short holiday break in mid-August en route home.

He was 28 and was to have been a second-year student. Before entering the Class of 2001 at the Medical School, he enrolled in the Bryn Mawr College post-baccalauareate program to prepare for medical school admission.

"Both the student and faculty individuals who interviewd Sean found him to be an outstanding and impressive candidate for Penn....It is our loss that Sean was not able to fulfill his dream, " said Dr. Gail Morrison, vice dean for education at PennMed.

Born in Framingham, Massachusetts, Mr. Smith grew up in Michigan, Connecticut, Spain and California. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English from Notre Dame, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He then worked in the Czech Republic, teaching English in a high school, and also worked for General Motors in Budapest, Hungary.

He is survived by his parents, Michael T. Smith, Sr. and Jane E. McCarthy Smith; a brother, Michael T. Smith, Jr.; a sister, Meaghan C. Smith; his maternal grandmother, Catherine McCarthy; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

The family intends to establish a scholarship fund in Sean's memory, Dean Morrison said.

Scheiber Memorial: September 16

On Wednesday, September 16, friends and colleagues are invited to the campus memorial service for Shannon Scheiber, the first-year Wharton doctoral student murdered in her Center City apartment May 7 (Almanac May 12, 1998). The service will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Logan Hall, Room B-17, followed by a reception in the Terrace Room. Contact Wharton's Insurance and Risk Management Department for further information.

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 2, September 8, 1998