News Briefs


Welcome home

Whether you’re a member of the Class of 2009 or 1949, Penn wants to welcome you back to campus for this year’s Homecoming weekend, held Nov. 5 through 8.

This year’s celebration will focus on arts and culture at the University, in conjunction with the Arts & the City Year initiative. There will be film screenings, gallery tours, musical performances, open houses, athletic events, guest lectures and kid-friendly workshops throughout the celebration. Highlights include:

·         The 75th Annual Alumni Award of Merit Gala on Friday, Nov. 6, from 6 to 10 p.m., where James A. DePreist, W'58, ASC'61, HON'76, will be the first recipient of the Penn Creative Spirit Award.

·         Don’t miss the chance to applaud Penn performers past and present at the Alumni and Student Cabaret on Friday, Nov. 6, from 10 p.m. to midnight at Platt Student Performing Arts House.

·         Families are welcome on Saturday, Nov. 7, at Quakerfest, held on College Green from 2 to 3 p.m.

·         Raise a toast to dear old Penn and munch on some snacks before heading to Franklin Field for the 3:30 p.m. kickoff of the Penn-Princeton football game.

·          Cap off the weekend on Sunday, Nov. 8, with a brunch and tour at the Morris Arboretum, from 9:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

For a complete list of events, and registration information, go to

Feeling neighborly

Penn has been placed at the top of the “Saviors of Our Cities” list, rating higher education institutions on their community engagement and good-neighbor policies. The University ranked first, along with the University of Southern California, on the list released in early October during the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities conference held in Philadelphia.

Penn led the “honor roll,” of 75 colleges and universities tapped for their community involvement in economic, social and cultural issues. Three other universities in the Philadelphia region—Drexel, Temple and Widener—also made the list.

The list was compiled by Evan S. Dobelle, president of Westfield State College in Massachusetts. Dobelle told the Philadelphia Inquirer he assessed schools using a number of factors, including financial commitment to community engagement, faculty and student involvement, access that students from diverse backgrounds have to the university, alumni giving and how well the universities have done in establishing a “collaborative vision” with their communities.

Penn was the only Ivy League university in the top 25, with particular note given to its work with local public schools through the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships.

Stimulus funds at Penn

The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is designed to create jobs and spur economic activity—and has also delivered the largest increase in basic funding in the history of federally funded scientific research: $21.5 billion. With one of the largest research communities in the world, Penn has been a recipient of some of these stimulus funds to support ongoing and future research projects in most of its 12 schools. A new website, launched in mid-October, is keeping track of all Penn projects supported by stimulus money. The site, WEB ADDRESS HERE, includes the most up-to-date numbers of total grants and dollars awarded, as well as news stories on some stimulus-funded projects that range from gene therapy and robotics to public education and neurological disorders.

The Penn stimulus funding site also has links to the National Institutes of Health, Penn's Office of Research Services and the federal government’s ARRA site, For more information, go to WEB ADDRESS HERE.

Be a mentor

Standing or adjunct faculty, lecturers, post-doctoral fellows or senior academic staff who regularly teach and advise undergraduate students can apply to be a College House Fellow. In this residential, two-year position, Fellows work with Faculty Masters to develop each College House as an educational resource for the University, promoting academic programs in residence, fostering faculty and student interaction, and building strong and supportive House communities. Fellows also supervise undergraduate students in laboratory settings, and mentor their research.

On average, between two and five Fellow positions are filled each year. Candidates are reviewed by the Undergraduate Deans, the Office of College Houses and the individual Faculty Masters and House residents and staff.

For more information about College House Fellow opportunities, please contact David Fox, director of academic initiatives in the Provost’s Office, at or 215-573-5636.


Originally published on October 29, 2009