Campus Buzz

Operation Priceless Treasure: By virtue of its being one of the two institutions involved in the excavations that unearthed the Royal Tombs of Ur in the 1920s and 1930s, the University of Pennsylvania Museum is taking the lead along with its excavation partner, the British Museum, in tracking down the objects looted from the Iraqi National Museum of Antiquity after Saddam Hussein’s ouster. Associate Professor of Anthropology Richard Zettler, curator-in-charge of the Museum’s Near Eastern section, met with his British Museum counterparts and museam officials from other countries April 29 in London to work out ways to coordinate efforts. “If we can put together what we have with what they have and [excavation supervisor Sir Leonard] Wooley’s field notes, we may be able to piece together what is missing and determine the best way to help,” said Museum Director Jeremy Sabloff. Zettler will deliver two special public briefings on the National Museum looting, the international recovery efforts, and the responses discussed at the London meeting next week. He will speak to the campus community on Friday, May 9, and to the general public on Saturday, May 10, at 2 p.m. at the Museum, 3260 South St. The talks are free with your PennCard or Museum admission. Reservations are requested; phone 215-898-2680 to RSVP.

Calling all First Friday fans: This year, the annual Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition is part of the Old City gallery scene, with Gallery Siano, 309 Arch St., hosting the event. Alex Baker, curator of contemporary art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, is the show’s curator. He has chosen a cross-section of works from 17 emerging artists at Penn in a variety of forms, including painting, sculpture, installation and video. The works run the gamut from socio-political commentary to scientific exploration and include both representation and abstract work. The opening reception is tomorrow, First Friday, May 2, from 5 to 8 p.m.; the exhibition runs through May 29.

U-City makes the grade: The University City District (UCD) has released the 2003 edition of its annual “University City Report Card,” and the numbers continue to look good. Major crimes continued to fall in 2001 (the latest year for which figures were available), dropping 19 percent. Enrollment in the neighborhood’s colleges and universities continues to climb, and 2002 saw major additions to the neighborhood employment, retail and entertainment scene. You can get a copy of the “Report Card” by calling the UCD at 215-243-0555.

Give ’em the business: Didn’t win anything in our campus survey? Business Services is currently conducting eight customer satisfaction surveys, each with its own set of fabulous prizes. You could win a personal digital assistant from the Computer Connection, free parking from Transportation and Parking, $100 in PennCash and more. To access the surveys, visit on the Web.

Originally published on May 1, 2003