News briefs

Midas sat here

A trash pit uncovered in 1939 at Delphi held a statue that may be one of King Midas’ many treasures. Penn’s Keith DeVries believes the ivory statue of a lion tamer was part of the king’s gift to the god Apollo. King Midas ruled Phrygia, now Central Turkey, from at least 717 to 709 B.C. After sifting through archaeological finds and ancient written texts, DeVries, associate curator in the Mediterranean section of Penn’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, said the statue, long thought to be Grecian, is in fact Phrygian. If true, it would be the first artifact directly linked to Midas, legendary for his fondness for gold.


Healthier and more beautiful smiles are on the way for minority children in West Philadelphia. They can now visit a mobile dental van for oral health education, screening and referral services thanks to a grant from the Health Resources Services Administration to the School of Dental Medicine. Called PennSmiles, the program will allow the Dental School to treat local minority children in their own neighborhoods. Dean of the Dental School Raymond Fonseca said the initiative helps Penn strengthen its ties with the Philadelphia School District.

Mo’ better bonds

Moody’s Investors Service has improved its view on bonds from Penn and its health system [UPHS]. In its report, the New York bond-rating agency revised Penn’s outlook from “negative” to “stable,” noting UPHS’ ability to produce an operating profit, stabilize liquidity and implement more consistent financial practices and more stringent financial controls. Penn’s academic enterprise also didn’t go unnoticed—Moody’s credited the University with a large applicant pool, increased fundraising and research growth. It also noted the school’s endowment return as one of the best among its peers for fiscal year 2001.

Originally published on January 24, 2002