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Dedicating the George A. Weiss Pavilion

November 9, 2010, Volume 57, No. 11

George Weiss welcoming the Heisman Trophy to Penn.

The formal dedication of the George A. Weiss Pavilion took place on October 30 during Homecoming Weekend; however Penn's intercollegiate athletes had already begun using their new weight room in the bottom of the center since late last spring, less than one year since the June 2009 Trustees' celebrated the groundbreaking for the George Weiss Pavilion.

At the dedication, President Amy Gutmann said, "Original, inventive, and adaptive, George Weiss is an exemplary Penn alum. He is always finding new ways to help the men and women of Pennsylvania achieve our highest goals."

The discovery of more than 25,000 sq. ft. of usable space below the northern arcades of Franklin Field, by architect Stacy Jones, adds grandeur and increases programming opportunities.

With more than 18,000 square feet dedicated to Penn's varsity intercollegiate athletes, and state-of-the art equipment, running areas, and setups that are unique to the University, this will enhance the experience of Penn's student-athletes.

Entering from 33rd Street, one highlight and a dramatic element of the center is the weightlifting racks that were uniquely made for Penn along with the flooring and platform inlays which are also unique. The room boasts two running tracks with a special surface specifically designed for maximum traction and durability.

Located at the George A. Weiss Pavilion, the Robert A. Fox Fitness Center is a 8,000 square-foot state- of-the-art facility offering two levels of recreational fitness space with views of Center City.

Penn's new intercollegiate Varsity Strength and Performance Center boasts more than 40 machines for cardio as well as muscle development; 18 heavy bags for kickboxing drills; two complete dumbbell sets; and dozens of medicine balls for ballistic training. In addition to Mr. Weiss' gift to name the entire facility, an anonymous donor made the construction of the intercollegiate weight room possible.

Penn has applied for LEED Silver rating.

The Heisman Trophy Trust has presented the University of Pennsylvania with the Heisman Trophy in honor of John Heisman’s distinguished career as both a student-athlete and coach at Penn.

Heisman Trophy Trustees Michael Comerford and Jim Corcoran presented the trophy to Penn President Amy Gutmann and Penn alumnus and Penn Trustee George Weiss during the University’s dedication of the newly built George A. Weiss Pavilion at Franklin Field.

“The idea just seemed natural to have former Penn player and coach John Heisman return to historic Franklin Field as part of its new addition, the George A. Weiss Pavilion,” said Penn’s director of athletics, Steve Bilsky. “We’re pleased and honored the Heisman Trustees would allow us to display college sports’ most recognized award.”

Mr. Heisman was an 1892 graduate of Penn and was a two-time letter winner for the Quakers in 1890-91. During his playing career, Penn went a combined 24-5.

He returned to his alma mater as the head coach for three seasons from 1920-22. In that time, he went 16-10-2 with the Red and Blue.

Mr. Heisman is most noted as the man who revolutionized football into today’s game. He invented the center snap, dreamed up the concept of the scoreboard, introduced the “hike” signal for initiating a play, led the fight to reduce the game from halves to quarters and is largely credited for inventing the forward pass, which was legalized in 1906.

The Heisman Trophy is one of the most coveted awards in college sports; it is given annually to the top college football player in America.
In 1935, at the insistence of the Downtown Athletic Club, Mr. Heisman organized the voting system to determine the nation’s top player. Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago won the first award, and Mr. Heisman passed away shortly before the 1936 winner was announced. Shortly thereafter, the DAC unanimously voted to name the trophy after John Heisman.

The presentation at the George A. Weiss Pavilion came just prior to Penn’s Homecoming victory over Brown on October 30 at Franklin Field, the nation’s oldest collegiate football stadium.  

The Quakers have played more games than any other program in the history of college football at any level. The game with Brown, which the Quakers won  24-7, increased Penn’s NCAA record to 1,311 games played.

The next home game will be on November 13 when the Quakers take on Harvard.



The George A. Weiss Pavilion: A Haven for Athletes and Fitness Fans

Penn’s George A. Weiss Pavilion is a state-of-the-art weight-training facility and fitness center built in the north arcades of Franklin Field.

Located at the Weiss Pavilion, the Robert A. Fox Fitness Center is a state-of-the art facility offering two levels of recreational fitness space available to those who have a membership at Pottruck. The top-of-the-line equipment includes cardiovascular equipment, strength training equipment, free weights, and dumbbells. It also features circuit training equipment including classes led by nationally certified personal trainers.

The Weiss Pavilion also offers student-athletes an array of facilities. The design by Crawford Architects uses an infill of the long arcade on the northern side of Weiss Pavilion for a new Weight Training and Fitness Center.


Above, the 30 weightlifting racks in the Varsity Strength and Performance Center, aka the weight room, were uniquely made for Penn; these racks use more than 20,000 pounds of barbells and plates, which are generally considered the finest of their kind in the world.


These treadmills are in the Robert A. Fox Recreational Fitness Center, a state-of-the-art facility offering two levels of recreational fitness space, and a fabulous view of fall foliage as well as the city skyline beyond.


David Pottruck, John Clark, Steve Bilsky, George Weiss with grandchildren, Robert Fox and David Cohen joined President Amy Gutmann to cut the ribbon at the dedication of the Weiss Pavilion.

  Athletic Director Steve Bilsky, George Weiss, Dr. Gutmann, and David Cohen.
Two more of the works by R. Tait McKenzie adorn an interior brick wall at the Weiss Pavilion: the round bas relief, 46" in diameter, 1932-33, "The Three Punters" and the 1927 plaster, 26" x 60" "Percy D. Houghton Memorial: Punt," part of the Lloyd P. Jones Collection.   The Relay, a 1910 bronze, 22" high sculpture, by R. Tait McKenzie (1867-1938), part of the J. William White Collection, named for a long-time professor of surgery and former physical education instructor at Penn, who convinced Dr. McKenzie, a noted orthopedic surgeon, to join the Penn faculty where he directed one of the most successful exercise and sports programs in the country. Dr. White (1850-1916) established the J. William White Research Professorship, which allowed Dr. McKenzie to sculpt and cast the works of art, most depicting athletes.


Almanac - November 9, 2010, Volume 57, No. 11