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March 22, 2011, Volume 57, No. 26

Dr. Nemeth, Cell and Developmental Biology


Dr. Andrew M. Nemeth, professor emeritus of anatomy and past lecturer in psychiatry, died on February 7 at the age of 84. 

Dr. Nemeth received both his undergraduate and medical degrees from Johns Hopkins University in 1949 and 1953, respectively. Following a one-year internship in pediatrics, he accepted a two-year visiting fellowship in biochemistry at Columbia University. 

Dr. Nemeth joined Penn’s department of anatomy (now cell and developmental biology) in 1956 and retired in 1996. While actively pursuing his research focusing on the biochemistry of enzyme formation in the late fetal and newborn periods, he used his clinical insights in his teaching of histology and gross anatomy to first year medical students. A colleague stated that “his annual lung lecture in histology was a highlight and ‘show stopper’: he used fresh cow lungs to demonstrate their elasticity and pinkness, indicating lack of carbon from cigarette smoke and city air pollution.”

He briefly joined the department of psychiatry’s clinical practice group in 1985 while continuing his teaching efforts to first year medical students until retirement.  He continued his private practice in psychiatry for many more years.




Dr. Sipe, GSE


Dr. Lawrence R. Sipe, a professor in the Graduate School of Education and chair of the school’s program in Language and Literacy in Education, died unexpectedly March 11 at his home in Philadelphia at the age of 61.

A scholar of education and literature, Dr. Sipe focused on how children engage with literature. He was particularly interested in how young children talk about and respond to picture books in the classroom and how those activities enhance their literary understanding.

Born in 1949 in York, Pennsylvania, Dr. Sipe graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Chicago in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in English. For two years, he taught in a one-room school in Newfoundland, Canada, then returned to earn his second bachelor’s degree, this one in elementary education, at Bloomsburg State College in Pennsylvania.

After graduating from Temple University with a master’s degree in psychology of reading in 1980, he returned to Newfoundland, where he was a coordinator for in-service and professional development for a local school board for 13 years.

After earning his PhD from Ohio State University, Dr. Sipe joined Penn GSE in 1996 as an assistant professor and rose to the rank of professor in 2009. He received numerous University, national and international awards and fellowships, including the 1998 Salzburg Seminar Presidential Fellowship of the University of Pennsylvania, the 2001 Early Career Achievement Award from the National Reading Conference and Penn’s 2007 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. In 2008, his book Storytime: Young Children’s Literary Understanding in the Classroom won the Edward B. Fry Book Award for Outstanding Contributions to Literacy Research and Practice from the National Reading Conference. He was also North American editor-in-chief of the journal Children’s Literature in Education

Geoff Fox, the former editor of Children’s Literature in Education, said that Dr. Sipe’s experience as a classroom teacher deeply affected his scholarship, which centered around “real children as readers” rather than dry academic theorizing. Indeed, at the heart of Dr. Sipe’s work was a determination to learn from young children’s own thinking about literature. Children, he wrote in Storytime, have a “sophisticated and critical literary insight” from a very young age, and he took that insight seriously.

Margaret Mackey, a University of Alberta professor who preceded Dr. Sipe as North American editor at Children’s Literature, said  he “did the best job anybody has ever done of gathering, respecting and letting people hear the voices of children.”

To Dr. Sipe, children’s picture books, with their complex interweaving of text and visual elements, are in many ways more sophisticated than the text-heavy “chapter books” that are often seen as the next stage for young readers. Picture books, he said late last year, “invite all sorts of higher-level thinking skills,” and he objected to the recent trend among parents of pushing children to read chapter books at earlier and earlier ages. “Let children be children for a while,” he added.

Dr. Sipe was a strong advocate of reading books aloud and discussing them with children in the classroom, and he was opposed to scripted, “teacher-proof” curricula that reduce or eliminate the opportunity to do so.

Associate Professor Gerald Campano, who served as Dr. Sipe’s first graduate assistant in the 1990s and returned to Penn GSE last year, called him an “amazingly supportive and generous human being” who went out of his way to help graduate students advance their careers.

Another colleague, Penn GSE Professor Vivian Gadsden, recalled Dr. Sipe’s “generosity, support and deep commitment to helping grad students become scholars.” When Dr. Sipe received Penn GSE’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005, the students who nominated him cited “his rigor, clarity, sensitivity, and thoroughness” and described him as the “model of a scholar who challenged students to think more deeply and broadly.”

In addition to his academic career, Dr. Sipe was called to the priesthood of the Episcopal Church. During the 1980s, he studied for the priesthood at McGill University’s Montreal Diocesan College and was ordained in 1989. He served as an honorary assistant priest at St. James’ Anglican Church in Newfoundland and later at St. Clement’s Church in Philadelphia.

Dr. Sipe is survived by his mother, Dorcas Sipe Transeau; his sister and brother-in-law, Judy and Steven Steinke; nieces, Emily Steinke and Katherine Steinke Morris and her husband, Ben.

Donations can be made in Dr. Sipe’s name to the “Helping Others Fund” of St. Clement’s Church, 2013 Appletree St., Philadelphia, PA 19103 or to All Saints’ Episcopal Church, 890 McCosh St., Hanover, PA 17331.



Dr. Steinberg, History of Art


Dr. Leo Steinberg, Benjamin Franklin Professor Emeritus of the History of Art, passed away March 13; he was 90.

Born in Moscow, Dr. Steinberg spent his childhood in Berlin before moving to London, where he studied art at the University of London’s Slade School of Fine Art from 1936 to 1940.

He immigrated to New York City after World War II and worked as a freelance writer, a German-English translator and life-drawing instructor at Parsons School of Design.

After earning his PhD in art history from New York University in 1961, Dr. Steinberg taught at Hunter College until 1975 and in 1972 was co-founder of the art history department of CUNY’s Graduate Center. He was appointed Benjamin Franklin Professor of the History of Art at Penn in 1975 and held that post until his retirement in 1991. He also lectured at other universities and museums including Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, Harvard and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Dr. Steinberg published and lectured widely on Renaissance, Baroque, and twentieth-century art. He was best known for using a first-person narrative in his art critiques. His books include Other Criteria: Confrontations with Twentieth-Century Art; Michelangelo’s Last Paintings; Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane: A Study in Multiple Form and Architectural Symbolism; The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion; Encounters with Rauschenberg;and Leonardo’s Incessant Last Supper.

In 2002, Dr. Steinberg donated his private collection of 3,200 prints to the University of Texas at Austin, which includes prints by Rembrandt, Matisse, Goya, Picasso, and Michelangelo.

Dr. Steinberg is survived by nieces and nephews.


Memorial for Clyde Summers: April 16

The University of Pennsylvania Law School will host a memorial service to honor and remember Clyde W. Summers, the Jefferson B. Fordham Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Penn Law (Almanac November 16, 2010), on Saturday, April 16 at 2 p.m., at Penn Law’s Levy Conference Center. Following the formal remarks, there will be an opportunity for attendees to share their memories. A reception will follow.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Anna Gavin at agavin@law.upenn.edu

In memoriam: Clyde W. Summers, www.law.upenn.edu/blogs/news/archives/2010/11/in_memoriam_clyde_summers.html




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 - March 22, 2011, Volume 57, No. 26