PREMIERE

Action! … and drama, comedy, horror, science fiction, romance, Hollywood blockbusters, and quirky independent features alike—all playing at The Bridge: Cinema De Lux at 40th and Walnut Streets. The long-awaited theater, whose
completion was delayed by the financial problems of Penn’s original partner, is set to open November 8, seven months after a new deal was announced between the University and Cinebridge Ventures, a division of National Amusements, Inc.

Besides all-stadium seating, six screens showing a mix of Hollywood and independent films, and standard concession fare, the Bridge will offer special food service (with indoor and outdoor seating), free parking—and, for those seeking the real flavor of a Hollywood premiere, optional valet service.

EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH

Lawsuit by Prison Inmates Dismissed A lawsuit accusing the University of injuring and mistreating several hundred prison inmates during research studies of skin treatments in the 1960s and early 1970s has been dismissed by a federal appeals court. The suit had sought unspecified damages for the pain and suffering of the former inmates who participated in the research experiments.

Filed in Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas in October 2000, the suit accused Penn and Dr. Albert M. Kligman Gr’42 M’47 Int’51, emeritus professor of dermatology—as well as the City of Philadelphia, Dow Chemical Company, the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical firm, and Kligman’s Ivy Research Laboratories—of “negligence, carelessness, and recklessness” in “allowing infectious diseases, radioactive isotopes, dioxin, and psychotropic drugs” to be tested on the former prisoners “without their knowledge.” Some of the research, which took place at Philadelphia’s Holmesburg Prison, led to the development of Retin-A, an anti-wrinkle cream.

The panel ruled that the plaintiffs had been aware of the facts of the case for many years, and could have filed the suit before the time limit expired.

Although the use of “willing, compensated prisoners for biomedical research was a commonly accepted practice by this nation’s scientists” in the 1950s and 1960s, the University has stated, “it is now understood and agreed throughout the global scientific community that prisoners—regardless of their consent to participate and/or receipt of monies for same—cannot be considered appropriate candidates for any biomedical studies.”

Previous issue's Gazetteer | Nov/Dec Contents | Gazette home



AROUND CAMPUS Remembering 9/11 There was no need to ask for whom the local church-bells tolled—at 8:45 a.m., at 9:03, at 9:43, and again, finally, at 10:10. Though the day’s activities were many and multifarious, the scores of maroon t-shirts worn by student volunteers said it all: Continued...

AROUND CAMPUS Freshmen Get the Message: “There is No Sure Thing” They processed in flip-flops and strappy sandals, sneakers and loafers. Students from 65 countries and 52 states and territories took their places on College Green one early September night in the first official gathering of the Class of 2006. Some arrived in garrulous clusters of newfound friends; others appeared to be quietly taking everything in. Continued...

GIFTS Annenberg’s Final “Extraordinary Gift” Less than two weeks before the Hon. Walter H. Annenberg W’31 Hon’66 passed away at age 94, the Annenberg Foundation announced that it was giving Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication $100 million. Continued...

AWARDS Solar Neutrinos Shine on a New Nobel Laureate As the Gazette was going to press last month, we learned that Dr. Raymond Davis Jr. Hon’90, research professor of physics and astronomy at Penn and a research collaborator in chemistry at the Brookhaven Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., has been awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in physics for his pioneering research in the field of solar neutrinos. Continued...

APPOINTMENTS From Quantico to Walnut Street It’s common for organizations to talk about “casting a wide net” and seeking out “non-traditional candidates” to fill senior administrative posts. More often than not it’s just that—talk. Continued...

STUDENT LIFE Carriage House Dedicated as LGBT Center The skies were stormy, but the rainbow ribbon stretched across the front of the Carriage House provided a bright spot of color as it awaited cutting on September 26. Continued...

MUSIC After the Prelude: Chopin Reconstructed The year was 1839—a tumultuous one for FrÈdÈric Chopin, then 29 and in fragile health. The Polish composer had fled to the Spanish island of Mallorca with his paramour, the novelist George Sand, and there, in an abandoned monastery, composed a trove of preludes and other pieces. Continued...

PENN AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY Kick-Starting the Internet in Ghana While Google, Netscape, and Telnet are part of Penn students’ everyday reality, that Internet technology is “still a dream” in countries like Ghana, points out Joseph Sun, director of academic affairs at the School of Engineering and Applied Science. To help turn that digital dream into reality, Sun spearheaded Penn’s involvement with the Hewlett-Packard Digital Villages project in that West African nation last summer. Continued...

ANNIVERSARIES 150 Years of “Caressing the Divine Details” of Engineering Half a Century of Animals and Optimism at New Bolton Center Continued...

RESEARCH Of Mice and Kids (and Piglets) It sounds like something out of Greek mythology, or maybe Kafka: One male animal (in this case, a mouse) produces the sperm of … a pig. Or a goat. Or another mouse. Continued...

ACADEMIC CENTERS New Home, Name, and Faculty
for Afro-American Studies
“Thirty years after the Afro-American Studies program was born at Penn, in ferment and discontent, it is wonderful to see us at this point,” said President Judith Rodin at the late-September opening of the Center for Africana Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences, formed from the merger of Afro-American Studies and the Center for the Study of Black Literature and Culture. Continued...


Previous issue's Gazetteer | Nov/Dec Contents | Gazette home

Copyright 2002 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 11/04/02

DEATHS

Walter Annenberg
Dies
On October 1, the Hon. Walter H. Annenberg W’31 Hon’66, emeritus trustee of the University, founder of the Annenberg School for Communication, and the most generous donor in Penn’s history, died at his home in Wynnewood, Pa. Please turn to the obituary on page 86.

RANKINGS

Going
Fourth
Though it continues to take all rankings with a large grain of salt, the University can’t help but be pleased by its continued ascent in U.S. News & World Report’s annual “best colleges” issue, published September 23. Penn tied for fourth place—its highest ever—in the “Best National Universities —Doctoral” category, whose candidates “offer a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master’s and Ph.D. degrees.” (Also sharing the fourth-place spot were California Institute of Technology, Duke, MIT, and Stanford. Princeton was ranked first, with Harvard and Yale tying for second.) Last year Penn tied for fifth.

The rankings take into account a variety of factors, including faculty resources (in which Penn was the top-rated school), peer assessment, selectivity, acceptance rate, the percentage of full-time faculty, the size of classes, SAT/ACT scores, the percentage of freshmen in the top 10 percentile of their high-school class, financial resources, and alumni giving.

While she did not endorse the magazine’s methodology, Penn President Judith Rodin acknowledged that the rankings have a “real effect” on students trying to decide which schools to apply to.

“I think going up into that top cohort, whether it was six or five or four, is really what’s important,” she told The Daily Pennsylvanian. “Being in that top group, which Penn deservedly is, I think matters to our applicants.” (So, in some circles, does Penn’s selection as one of Seventeen magazine’s top 10—sixth, actually—“coolest colleges.”)

When the U.S. News rankings were released, Dr. Richard Beeman, the history professor who serves as dean of the College, wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times in which he argued that the rankings “are flawed in their conception and pernicious in their effect on prospective students and their parents.”

“It may be the case that the U.S. News rankings are as conscientiously and fairly constructed as anything that has yet come along,” he wrote. But rankings in general “underestimate the amount of work it takes to get a college education and overestimate the importance of a university’s prestige in that process. In that way, they may do considerable harm to the educational enterprise itself.”