Campus Buzz

Success has many parents: And all of them—Penn administrators, elected officials, School District of Philadelphia staff and 100 actual parents of school children—turned out for the official dedication of the Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School Oct. 7. About 500 guests heard remarks from Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Ted Kirsch, President Judith Rodin, School District CEO Paul Vallas, Principal Sheila Sydnor, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, State Representative James Roebuck and mayoral representative Nancy Morgan. After the ribbon-cutting, Graduate School of Education Dean Susan Fuhrman, former Philadelphia School Superintendent Constance Clayton and Alexander’s daughter, Rae Pace Alexander-Minter, paid tribute to the life of the woman for whom the school, which students are calling the “Sadie School,” is named. Kirsch said, “I hope that this school will be a model,” and Vallas expressed hope that all Philadelphia public schools would eventually be as well-housed as this one. Upon leaving, the guests received notecards with animal drawings created by Penn-Alexander kindergarten and first grade pupils.

Absolutely fabulous: That’s about the best phrase your Buzz correspondent can summon up to describe both the new Carriage House home for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center and the official ribbon-cutting event Sept. 26. Before cutting the ribbon, President Judith Rodin said, “No student should ever spend his time at Penn feeling that this is a place to be endured.” Co-lead donor Vincent Griski (C’85) recalled Penn’s response to his and David Goodhand (W’85)’s offer. “We had all of our arguments ready for why we want to do this, but the conversation quickly turned to Where are we going to do this?” he said. “We weren’t ready for that response.” Other notables on hand included Provost Robert Barchi, PrideFest impresario Malcolm Lazin, veteran activist and physician Walter Lear and other major donors to the center.

His number’s up too: It appears that Dean of the College Richard Beeman struck a nerve with his Sept. 17 New York Times op-ed essay criticizing the ratings-driven academic world created in part by U.S. News & World Report. More than 100 people looked up his e-mail address, which wasn’t given in the story, and sent him comments, “all very supportive, with perhaps one exception,” he told Buzz. The hosannas came from two main groups: faculty members dismayed at the rising tide of consumerism in the college classroom and parents whose children were currently in the college hunt. “They’re tormented by the admissions process,” he said of the latter. “They want help in freeing themselves from the status-conscious competition and finding the right colleges and universities for their kids, but many confessed that they themselves had fallen for the mania of getting their kids into these top 10 schools.” Beeman plans to submit another essay criticizing collegiate consumerism to The Chronicle of Higher Education next spring.

Originally published on October 17, 2002