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illustration by Josef GastCLASS OF ’61

On This Farm, Corpses Are Cultivated
Dr. William Bass III Gr’61 strode into his boss’s office one day and informed him, “I need a place to put dead bodies.” Continued...

Taking a Stand — On Screen
Dr. Wayne Goldner M’78 has delivered many babies. He also devotes a tiny fraction of his Bedford, New Hampshire, practice to performing abortions. As a result, he says, a few precautions are necessary. Continued...

Craving Catfish in the Land of Cassoulet
When Monique Wells C’81 V’85 was a biology major living in the W.E.B. DuBois College House, she invited over three classmates from her native Houston for a traditional soul-food dinner. “We had such a wonderful time preparing that meal and sharing memories of home,” she recalls. “I decided then that I wanted to do more cooking and entertaining.” Continued...

Dream Ticket
This year’s presidential contest may be a strictly Harvard (Gore)-Yale (Bush) affair, but a Penn alumnus was in the running for vice president. Sort of. Continued...

CLASS OF ’59 AND ’65
Double Play
When Philadelphia had two major league baseball teams, there was no middle ground: either you rooted for the Phillies or the Athletics. Continued...

Spreading the Message of Ubuntu
In the Xhosa language of South Africa, the word ubuntu refers to the belief in a universal bond of brotherhood and sharing. Jacob Lief C’99 first experienced this concept during a visit to the Zwide township in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, the summer before his senior year at Penn. So it is fitting that when he created a non-profit organization to improve education conditions in the black townships of that country, he named it the Ubuntu Education Fund. Continued...

Previous issue's Profiles | Sept/Oct Contents | Gazette home

Copyright 2000 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 8/22/00

250 IN 5

Cities Preparing
for Blackout

On October 14, African-American alumni will gather simultaneously in seven cities for The Penn Blackout. The nationwide party is designed to reacquaint black alumni with each other and Penn, as well as to spur contributions to the University’s undergraduate financial-aid program. It will serve as the inaugural event for 250 In 5, a fundraising initiative that began with the goal of raising $250,000 within five years for the DuBois Endowed Scholars Program and already promises to exceed those expectations.
It all started in 1999, when a number of black graduates from the Class of 1989 decided to host an event for their classmates in honor of their 10th reunion. Black to School ’99, as it was called, drew 150 alumni back to campus, not only from the Class of ’89, but from surrounding classes. “We really created a buzz,” says Lolita Jackson EAS’89, one of the party organizers and a National Committee member of 250 In 5. More importantly, $5,000 was raised and donated to the DuBois College House Endowed Scholarship.
“After much thought,” Jackson says, “we decided, based on the results of Black to School, that we could raise the bar. We felt that other classes would be just as inclined to donate.” So Jackson and David P. France C’89, another National Committee member, approached Ayana Green C’97 and Rachel Lawson W’97, both of whom are officers in the New York chapter of the Black Alumni Society. They put together a proposal and presented it to Penn last fall. “What began as a small idea eventually became a movement that encompassed graduates of many classes, geographic areas, extracurricular involvement and schools within Penn.”
Before announcing 250 In 5 this past spring, the 35-person fundraising team decided to raise $50,000 in seed money. Instead, it received more than $150,000 in pledges. With a matching pledge by an anonymous donor, the total raised so far is about $225,000. Jackson says the group plans to raise much more in the future.
“A lot of black alums have given to this endeavor as one of their first significant donations to Penn.” Before this initiative, Jackson says, “I think there was a little bit of [reluctance] for black alumni to give to a large pool of money, because there were few [campaigns] targeted to the black alumni population. We provided a forum which made it a bit easier.”
To gather more donations, The Penn Blackout will be hosted in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco/Oakland, Chicago, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C./Baltimore, with parties held simultaneously by time zone. The Blackout will be “really city-oriented,” with details planned by each locale’s hosts, Jackson says.

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