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Honors & Other Things

April 3, 2012, Volume 58, No. 28

Beltran Family Award: Ms. Rile

RileKaren Rile, a lecturer in the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, is the winner of the first annual Beltran Family Award for Innovative Teaching & Mentoring at the Kelly Writers House.

Ms. Rile is the author of Winter Music, a novel set in Philadelphia, and numerous works of fiction and creative nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in literary magazines such as The Southern Review, American Writing, Creative Nonfiction, The Land Grant College Review, Other Voices, and Apiary, and has been listed among The Best American Short Stories.

“She is a super-devoted and extraordinarily talented teacher who has taught part-time as a member of the Creative Writing faculty for many years. She offers writing workshops in fiction and creative nonfiction, and year after year her students, in their evaluations and otherwise, give her the highest possible praise as mentor and supportive writerly presence. She has always gone way out of her way to help emergent writers. And she has long been a friend of the Kelly Writers House and a member of the KWH community,” said Dr. Al Filreis, Kelly Family Professor of English; director, Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing; and faculty director, Kelly Writers House.

The award will provide her with a $1,000 stipend and up to $2,200 to spend on organizing and hosting a program at the Writers House in the coming academic year (2012-13).

Ms. Rile will be celebrated at the end-of-year “hub” party at the Writers House starting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25.


2012 Commitment to Excellence Award: Penn Museum

Preparing a landmark museum exhibit with rare mummies and hundreds of ancient Chinese artifacts is no small task. But what about coordinating a well-publicized exhibit after finding out the original artifacts can’t be used—and with only two weeks to prepare?

These were the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the Secrets of the Silk Road exhibition, which made its only East Coast display at the Penn Museum in 2011. Nevertheless, the museum still managed to put together a blockbuster event that saw record ticket sales in just a matter of weeks.

According to their original plan, the Silk Road exhibit was supposed to be a four-month-long display of rare artifacts before it returned to China. It included a nearly 4,000-year-old mummy as well as an array of well-preserved clothing, textiles, tools, coins and documents, and took the better part of a year to coordinate.

But in an unexpected turn of events, Chinese authorities informed Penn that the original artifacts couldn’t be used. The impact was devastating, especially since people expected the exhibit to open in two weeks. Incredibly, the Penn Museum still opened the exhibit on time through extraordinary leadership and innovative thinking. They used “dummy mummies” and life-sized photographs of the Silk Road artifacts to kick off the display, then implemented an overnight conversion to the real artifacts once Chinese authorities allowed the objects to be displayed. They also reworked their marketing and public relations plans to account for the reduced display time.

The result? Penn Museum sold over 42,000 tickets—including many sellout days. Not only did they provide a positive visitor experience that seamlessly maintained the beauty of the exhibit, they also helped increase regional awareness of the museum and define it as a key destination in the Philadelphia area.

In acknowledgement of their extraordinary leadership and creativity during such unusual circumstances, Human Resources is pleased to award the following staff members with Commitment to Excellence recognition. On April 24 their accomplishments will be honored at the Models of Excellence Awards Ceremony, 4 p.m. in Irvine Auditorium. RSVP to QOWL@hr.upenn.edu

Penn Museum
Aaron Billheimer, Exhibitions                 
Michael Burin, Building Operations       
Michael Condiff, Digital Media Center   
Bonnie Crosfield, Visitor’s Services       
Brian Daniels, Building Operations        
Amy Ellsworth, Digital Media Center     
Edgar Esteves, Building Operations       
Allison Francies, Exhibitions 
Emily Goldsleger, Membership              
Lynn Grant, Conservation     
Conor Hepp, Visitor’s Services              
Shawn Hyla, Information Technology
Bea Jarocha-Ernst, Membership            
Pam Kosty, Public Relations
Brian McDevitt, Building Operations     
Ben Neiditz, Exhibitions         
Courtney O’Brien, Exhibitions                
Kate Quinn, Exhibitions         
Kevin Schott, Exhibitions       
Bill Stebbins, Building Operations           
Dari Sutton, Public Relations 
Rajeev Thomas, Information Technology
Bob Thurlow, Traveling Exhibits             
Cynthia Whybark, Visitor’s Services      
Katherine Wong, Visitor’s Services        
David Young, Building Operations          
Dr. Xiuqin Zhou, Registrar’s Office


School of Arts & Sciences
Dr. Victor Mair, Department of
East Asian Languages & Civilization

—Division of Human Resources



Almanac - April 3, 2012, Volume 58, No. 28