News Briefs

Penn Vet Clinic

photo credit: John Donges

Free Clinic for Pets

Last month, as part of the University-wide celebration of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, staff from Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine hosted a free dog and cat vaccination clinic. Sixty Penn Vet volunteers administered vaccines free-of-charge to 185 animals, including 29 walk-ins.

“This is the second year we’ve run this clinic and it was a huge success,” says David Holt, professor of surgery at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital. “As part of the West Philadelphia community, we have a responsibility to share our resources with our neighbors so that we can work to prevent the occurrence of infectious diseases in their companion animals. The event was a total success—and one we plan to offer year after year.”

In addition to administering the vaccinations, Penn veterinarians implanted nearly 70 microchips in pets, an essential tool for the successful return of a cat or dog to its owner should it escape from the home. Twelve low-cost spay/neuter vouchers were also sold.

Praise for Skirkanich

Add yet another accolade to Skirkanich Hall’s already long
list of praise.

The building, home to Penn’s Bioengineering Department in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, has received the 2010 Institute Honor Award for Architecture from the American Institute of Architects. The AIA jury, when making the award, said the building has “a thoughtful use of materials, genius in vertical circulation, solid programmatic resolution … both delicate and dramatic, all in all a beautiful project.”

Covered with mossy green brick, the building stands in contrast to its traditional red-brick neighbors. Skirkanich is cantilevered over 33rd Street, and giant glass shingles counterbalance the density of the surrounding masonry, bringing filtered light into the laboratories.

Skirkanich was designed by the firm of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects and was dedicated in 2006.

Weiss gives $20 million gift

George A. Weiss, a Penn alumnus, trustee and chair of the Making History campaign, has presented the University with a $20 million gift to advance the Penn Integrates Knowledge initiative launched by President Amy Gutmann in 2005 as part of the Penn Compact.

The gift is designated to fund four PIK professorships as part of Penn’s commitment to attracting scholars whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge. To date, 10 distinguished faculty members have chosen to work as PIK Professors, each holding a joint appointment in two schools.

Penn’s Making History campaign recently reached a significant milestone, having raised 75 percent of its overall $3.5 billion goal. Weiss’ gift brings the amount raised for faculty support to more than $386 million.

Weiss is president of George Weiss Associates Inc., a moneymanagement firm with offices in Hartford, Conn., and New York. At Penn, Weiss is a charter trustee and vice chair of the Executive Committee of the Board. Over the years, he hasgiven more than $80 million to the University for endowed professorships, a deanship, endowed scholarships, the WeissTech House and the Weiss Center for International Financial Research at the Wharton School.

Stimulus update

As one of the world’s leading research communities, Penn has benefitted from funding provided by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This stimulus package has delivered the largest increase in basic funding in the history of federally funded scientific research, totaling $21.5 billion. To date, Penn has received $169 million. University researchers have applied for 1,403 grants; a total of 333 have been awarded. To stay up-to-date on ARRA-funded projects at Penn, visit the website at

Lounge around

Some of the neighborhood’s most popular businesses are showing off their goods and services at the series, UCity @ ULounge. All programs take place on Penn’s campus at Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th St., from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Remaining programs include a one-hour Forrest Yoga class on Feb. 10, from Studio 34, located at 4522 Baltimore Ave. The Curio Theatre Company, housed at 815 S. 48th St., presents scenes from Shakespeare’s play, “Twelfth Night,” on March 24. In the spring, on April 7, Neighborhood Bike Works, located at 3916 Locust Walk, encourages people to bring their bike for a free safety check. For more information, go to

Originally published on February 4, 2010