Notice Anything?

Since its debut in 1902 as Olde Penn, the design of the Gazette has changed many times—starting with the removal of that vestigial e. We introduce the latest new version with this issue. Like someone who changes hair-style or -color, takes a fashion risk in choosing a new suit, or otherwise alters his or her “look,” the Gazette staff is sending it off with dueling emotions, both wanting the magazine to be seen as appealingly different and yet recognizably itself—in other words, that it be judged an improvement.

The magazine’s previous design dates from October 1993. We’ve tweaked it over the years, but after a decade the basic template was showing its age and no longer reflected the dynamic nature of the University and Penn alumni.

We think this design accomplishes just that, creating a bold visual identity for the Gazette and a more coherent framework for readers. It is the work of the magazine’s art director, Catherine Gontarek, who improved upon the occasional useful suggestions offered by the editors and patiently suffered the rest.

This issue introduces some content-related changes as well—beginning with the contents page, which now provides more detail on what’s inside the magazine and, we hope, more reason to open it.

We’ve added two new columns to “Notes From the Undergrad” and “Alumni Voices” to create a department called “First Person.” “Elsewhere” will be oriented toward the experience of place—travel, but something more personal than a list of favorite hotels and best shopping. In “Expert Opinion,” faculty, alumni, and students will share their special knowledge with readers. In this issue, memoirist Beth Kephart C’82 describes a visit with a Spanish count famed “for his breed of toro bravo—bulls so aggressive and brave they were sometimes spared the death sword,” and Ed Keller C’77 ASC’79, CEO of marketing-research firm RoperASW, explains how “the Influentials” affect pretty much everything Americans do, buy, or believe.

Sports, which has been a bit of an orphan towards the back of the magazine, now joins the other campus news as a subsection within “Gazetteer.” We also will be supplementing the regular column by Dave Porter C’82 with more photos and other material.

The book-review—renamed “All Things Ornamental,” paraphrasing the Franklin quote—has been reconfigured as a general arts section. And, in what may be the greatest practical benefit to readers, “Alumni Notes” are now listed by class year rather than decade.

Outside the Gazette, there are a few other changes going on at Penn this year. In “Gazetteer” we offer an update on President Rodin’s decision to step down next June, her goals for the coming year, and the formation of a presidential search committee, led by trustee chairman James Riepe W’65 WG’67.

For our cover story on Penn’s innovative major in digital media design, senior editor Samuel Hughes immersed himself in “The Cult of DMD.” He came back with the goods on a program that is enormously challenging intellectually—requiring a rare combination of right- and left-brain thinking, not to mention great dedication and stamina—and that also sounds like a lot of fun.

Also in this issue, Joan P. Capuzzi Giresi C’86 V’98 details the discovery by the veterinary school’s Dr. Hans Schöler that male-mouse stem cells can transform into eggs, which stunned the scientific community and raised a whole new set of questions for bioethicists—besides prompting headlines like “Who Needs Ovaries?” And freelancer Jon Hurdle chronicles the annual Wharton Business Plan Competition, in which hundreds of would-be entrepreneurs compete for prize money and the chance to pitch their idea to expert judges and potential venture capitalists—undaunted by the weak economy and the average one-in-five chance of survival for new businesses.

—John Prendergast C’80

2003 The Pennsylvania Gazette
Last modified 09/02/03

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