Print This Issue

January 9, 2007, Volume 53, No. 17

  • Penny Burdon, Faculty Senate
  • Dr. Hiz, Linguistics
  • Ms. Scherfel, Facilities

    Penny Burdon, Faculty Senate

    Penny Burdon

    Carolyn “Penny” Burdon, retired executive assistant in the Faculty Senate Office, died on December 6. She was 65 years old.

    Coming to Penn in 1971, Ms. Burdon, CGS ’81, served in the Faculty Senate Office for 31 years, retiring in 2002. During her time at Penn, she became increasingly knowledgeable of University and Faculty Senate rules. Ms. Burdon not only assisted the Senate Chair but also advised on policies, procedures and rules. “She was relentlessly organized, maintained an extraordinary institutional memory, and was truly dedicated and immersed in the life of the University Faculty Senate,”said Dr. Neville Strumpf, past-chair of the Faculty Senate, Edith Clemmer Steinbright Professor in Gerontology and Director of the Center for Gerontologic Nursing Science.

    The Memorial Service for Carolyn “Penny” Burdon, the retired executive assistant in the Faculty Senate Office, will be held in the Amado Recital Hall, Irvine Auditorium, on Thursday, February 8, from 4 to 5 p.m., with a reception following the service. Ms. Burdon died on December 6 (Almanac January 9, 2007).

    Dr. Hiz, Linguistics

    Dr. Henry Hiz, professor emeritus of linguistics, died December 19 at the age of 89.

    Dr. Hiz was born in Leningrad, Russia, to Polish parents. He was a resident of Warsaw, Poland, from 1920 to 1944. From 1940 to 1945 he was a member of the Polish resistance against German occupation.

    Dr. Hiz received his B.A. in 1937 at the Ray Liceum in Warsaw, and went on to study philosophy at Warsaw University until 1939, when the war interrupted his studies. After the war he received his M.A. in philosophy at the Université libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) in 1946; in 1948 he received his Ph.D. in philosophy at Harvard University.

    Beginning in the spring of 1951, Dr. Hiz served off-and-on as a visiting lecturer in philosophy at Penn. In 1959 he co-directed a research project with Dr. Zellig Harris, in the department of linguistics that resulted in the creation of the first computer program that could analyze the grammar of a human language, today known as a spelling and grammar checker. Dr. Hiz permanently joined the faculty when he was hired as an associate professor of linguistics in 1960. He was promoted to professor in 1964. From 1966 to 1973 he served as the chairman of the graduate group in linguistics. Dr. Hiz retired in 1988.

    Dr. Hiz was a member of numerous mathematical and philosophical organizations. He had served as editor of a Formal Linguistics Series of books in 1970-71. He authored Questions (Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy) in 1978 and co-authored Papers on Syntax in 1981. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship Award in 1976.

    Prior to coming to Penn, Dr. Hiz taught philosophy, Slavic languages and mathematics at the Underground University of Warsaw (1940-44, 1949-50), Harvard University (1948-49), University of Lodz (1950), Brooklyn College (1950), New York University (1950), University of Utah (1951-1953) and Penn State University (1954).

    Dr. Hiz is survived by his wife, Danuta.

    Ms. Scherfel, Facilities

    Virginia Scherfel

    Virginia J. Scherfel, former executive assistant for facilities & real estate services, died September 2 from cancer. She was 73.

    A native of Philadelphia, Ms. Scherfel was hired at Penn in 1950 as a stenographer in the department of education. Within the same department she served as a secretary and an administrative assistant.  In 1966 she became an administrative assistant to the Vice President for Facilities Management and Construction. In her last position at Penn, Ms. Scherfel served as an executive assistant in the Office of the Vice President for Operational Services. She held this position until she retired in 1994.

    Ms. Scherfel is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Chris and Julie Scherfel; and grandsons, Samuel R. and James Isaac Scherfel.



    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 - January 9, 2007, Volume 53, No. 17