News Briefs

Penn Wharton China Center announces grand opening

Penn Wharton China Center

The Penn community is invited to celebrate the opening of the Penn Wharton China Center (PWCC) in Beijing—the next natural step in the University’s longstanding engagement with China and East Asia.

The grand opening of the PWCC will occur over a period of six months, with events taking place from March 2015 through September 2015. Events will include the March Launch, a series of academic symposia at PWCC featuring Penn faculty experts and partners; “The First 100 Days,” a showcase of the depth and breadth of Penn’s  programming in China; and a Center Dedication and Gala Celebration on Sept. 10, hosted by President Amy Gutmann to highlight Penn’s engagement in China as a defining element of the Penn Compact 2020.

Located in the Central Business District of Beijing (pictured), the Center will serve as a bridge between Penn and China, facilitating bilateral collaboration and advancing the University’s commitment to inclusion, innovation, and impact at the local, national, and global levels.

Penn senior awarded Rhodes Scholarship

Rutendo Chigora, a Penn senior from Harare, Zimbabwe, has been named one of Zimbabwe’s two recipients of a Rhodes Scholarship, which will fund two or three years of study at Oxford University in England. At Oxford, Chigora will pursue a master’s degree in public policy.

“Rutendo is a great representative of the outstanding and dynamic students at Penn,” says Andrew Binns, vice provost for education in Penn’s Office of the Provost. “We are very proud of her success, and we are grateful to the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships and to all the faculty and staff who supported her work.”

Chigora has conducted research on microfinance in Ghana, post-apartheid economic identities in South Africa, and the impact of social and economic remittances on African development. Chigora founded ZW Connect, a business incubator that creates economic opportunities for vulnerable communities in Zimbabwe. ZW Connect was a social venture challenge winner at the 2014 Clinton Global Initiatives University Conference. She will graduate in May 2015.

Penn ranked No. 1 for safety and security

Penn was recently ranked No. 1 in safety and security in the higher education sector, according to Security Magazine’s Security 500 list. This is the eighth consecutive year that Penn has taken the magazine’s top honors in its respective market.

The Security 500 Benchmarking Survey tracked 18 vertical markets, collecting unique data where appropriate, and applied the data to key metrics, which include the dedication of resources each organization makes to their safety and security programs. The survey received its information from data supplied directly by national universities and colleges, as well as data obtained through public resources and records.

“We are so grateful to be recognized for the eighth year in a row by Security Magazine as the No. 1 public safety organization in the country within the university market,” says Maureen Rush, vice president for public safety. “This accomplishment would not be possible without the continual support of our President Amy Gutmann, Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli, Provost Vince Price, and the exceptional dedication of the people of the Division of Public Safety.”

University introduces new express shipping process

Penn recently introduced eShip@Penn, a new and enhanced express shipping process, to be deployed in the coming months.

While the primary goal of the new system is to minimize the University’s risk associated with moving hazardous or other regulated materials and to ensure compliance with safety and other mandates, the online system also offers benefits to all University shippers. These include allowing users to choose from a variety of carriers to determine which one best meets their specific needs; shop and compare costs to ensure that schools and centers receive the best price available; track shipments from an integrated at-a-glance dashboard, regardless of the carrier used to ship the package; and pre-print shipping labels.

For those individuals who do need to ship hazardous materials, the system verifies that shippers have the proper training and helps ensure that shipments are prepared in accordance with the most current dangerous goods regulations from the International Air Transport Association and the United States Department of Transportation. The system also provides guidance to those who need to ship internationally.

For more information, email

Tech trade

Trade-In Tech

Curious about what to do with your old laptop, smartphone, display, tablet, or MP3 player? You may be able to trade it in through a new technology trade-in program, launched by Computer Connection. Participants can check out the trade-in value of old technology at and then fill out an online form before bringing devices into Computer Connection, located on the second floor of the Penn Bookstore, 3601 Walnut St. Faculty, staff, and students will receive a gift card loaded with the trade-in value of the technology, which can be used toward the purchase of anything in the store.

Gift and coat drive

When you’re shopping for gifts this holiday season, consider picking up something extra and donating it to the annual gift and toy drive, run by Penn Volunteers In Public Service (Penn VIPS). The drive runs from Dec. 1 through 17 and all toys and gifts will support the annual holiday party sponsored by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, as well as People’s Emergency Shelter, local schools, Potter’s Mission, Bridges to the Community, Intercultural Family Services, and many more.

All items for the holiday drive must be new, unused, and unwrapped. Donations may be dropped off at the following locations: President’s Office, Provost Office, Museum Reception Desk, African-American Resource Center, Human Resources, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, Netter Center, Information Systems & Computing, the Wharton School, School of Nursing, LIFE, Research Services, Student Health, Translational Research Laboratories, School of Social Policy and Practice, Comptroller’s Office, Gift Planning, and Facilities and Real Estate Services.

Penn VIPS is also holding a coat drive from Dec. 1 through the 17, in which people may donate gently used winter coats in good condition, for both children and adults. Donations may be dropped off to Isabel Sampson-Mapp on the 2nd floor of the Netter Center, 111 S. 38th St.

For more information, contact Sampson-Mapp at 215-898-2020 or

Support a family

Penn VIPS is sponsoring the “Adopt-a-Family” program, in which departments, offices, and centers around the University “adopt” a deserving family for the holidays. The program is usually done in lieu of departmental gift exchanges. The department treats the assigned family to presents, and sometimes a holiday dinner.

Departments are provided with information about the family, including names, ages, and sizes of each family member; they may request a “wish list” from the family or may choose their own gifts.

Families are selected from the Baring House Family Service Agency and local shelters. A small number of referrals are also accepted. The selection of families begins in November and assignments are made during and prior to mid-December.

To participate in the program, contact Isabel Sampson-Mapp at 215-898-2020 or

Food for fines

This month, the Penn Libraries are running Food for Fines, an annual food drive and fine amnesty program that is now in its fourth year. Patrons can donate non-perishable goods and help knock some money off of any overdue book fines. For each food item donated, $1 will be credited toward a patron’s account, up to a maximum of $20. Credit cannot be applied to lost book replacement fees.

Last year, patrons generously donated enough food to provide 430 meals to individuals across Philadelphia. All food donations benefit Philabundance.

Food donations will be collected at the Van Pelt Circulation Desk. Items should be non-perishable and packaged in boxes, cans or plastic bottles. The library cannot accept items in glass containers or past their expiration date. Please consider donating the following high-priority items: canned/shelf-stable tuna, macaroni and cheese, canned pasta, canned beef stew, canned chili, plastic containers of creamy peanut butter, plastic containers of jelly, canned green beans, canned corn, canned fruit, and breakfast  cereal or hot cereal. Participants do not have to have library fines to donate.

For more information, email or call 215-898-7566.

President's Engagement Prizes

President Gutmann

Penn President Amy Gutmann recently announced the launch of the President’s Engagement Prizes, competitively awarded annual prizes for Penn seniors to design and undertake fully funded local, national, or global engagement projects during the first year after they graduate.

As many as three prize recipients—preferably one each for local, national, and global engagement—will receive $50,000 for living expenses and up to $100,000 for project-implementation expenses.

“The President’s Engagement Prizes are unique in higher education,” Gutmann says. “These prizes invite students to think creatively, on a large scale, about the meaning of engagement. In doing so, our graduates will have the opportunity to do well by doing good and make a profound difference in people’s lives locally, nationally, and around the globe.”

The President’s Engagement Prizes are the newest addition to the Penn Compact 2020 Presidential Initiatives, which include a comprehensive effort to raise an additional $240 million for the endowment to support undergraduate financial aid.

New website highlights PIK professors

A recently launched website,, provides a way to stay updated with the ongoing, world-changing work of the University’s 15 Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) professors—a figure Penn President Amy Gutmann plans to grow as part of the Penn Compact 2020 initiative.

Gutmann’s 2005 announcement of the PIK initiative has made Penn a particularly enticing home for professors whose world-renown work bridges multiple academic disciplines. At a university where commitment to interdisciplinary research and teaching is rooted as deeply as the ivy that clings to its brick, PIK professors represent a signature Penn strength.

By providing each PIK professor with appointments in two Penn schools, the initiative supports the full breadth and depth of their pioneering work. At the same time, it builds on the network of meaningful exchanges that take place across the University’s 12 schools, 141 research centers and institutes, 89 majors, and myriad departments: exchanges that create, debunk, and modify knowledge in ways that reverberate through Philadelphia, the United States, and the world.

Green Fund accepting applications for fall deadline

The Penn Green Fund is currently accepting ideas from the University community about ways to improve Penn’s environmental performance and reduce campus emissions.

Proposed Green Fund projects must support goals and objectives outlined in Penn’s Climate Action Plan, a long-range strategy, launched in 2009 and updated in 2014, to reduce the University’s carbon footprint and enhance its overall sustainability.

Since 2009, this initiative of Penn’s Green Campus Partnership, funded by the Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services, has seeded innovative ideas in environmental sustainability from Penn students, faculty, and staff.

The fall deadline for grants more than $7,500, up to $30,000, is on Oct. 31 at 5 p.m.

To apply and to learn more about the Green Fund, visit the Green Campus Partnership website.

Science and Lightbulb cafés kick off fall lineup

The lineup for the fall semester Penn Science Café and Penn Lightbulb Café was recently announced and includes conversations about everything from ancient divination to predicting heart disease with Twitter.

The lectures, held on Tuesday evenings at World Cafe Live Upstairs, are free and open to the public. Each hour-long talk begins at 6 p.m. and is followed by an audience Q&A session. Seating is limited. For a full list of Café details, visit

'Home Tweet Home'

Home Tweet Home

Morris Arboretum

“Our Feathered Friends” is a three-season-long celebration of the many birds that make their home at the Morris Arboretum or migrate through the area. As part of the celebration, “Home Tweet Home: Designer Birdhouses on Display” runs at the Arboretum through Sept. 1. Crafted by artists, talented individuals, and bird lovers of all kinds, more than 30 designer birdhouses are presented throughout the 92-acre garden. The exhibition is free with admission. Birdhouses may be available for purchase.

“Our Feathered Friends” will showcase special bird-themed events, classes, trips, and tours through October. “Early Bird Saturdays” are held on the first Saturday of each month. For the “Morris, the Merrie Little Owl Scavenger Hunt,” pick up a clue guide at the Visitor Center and see if you can find Morris, the Arboretum’s seasonal mascot, in some of his favorite resting spots.

For a complete list of exhibitions and presentations, fun family events, and classes and trips, visit the Morris Arboretum website.

Annenberg dean to stay through 2018

Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price recently announced that Michael X. Delli Carpini, the Walter H. Annenberg Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, has agreed to an extension of his term as dean until June 30, 2018.

“Michael has been an energetic, wise and widely admired leader since his appointment as dean in 2003,” Gutmann says. “Our recent consultations across the Annenberg School and the University have reaffirmed for us the high esteem in which he is universally held. We are confident that he will continue to strengthen Annenberg’s reputation as the nation’s preeminent school for the study of communication during this three-year extension of his second term.”

During Delli Carpini’s time as dean, Annenberg’s graduate students have emerged as leaders in academic, industry, and public sector positions around the world.

Gather ye rosebuds


Scott Spitzer

Penn’s 258th Commencement will be held on Monday, May 19, at Franklin Field, located at 33rd and South streets. The gates to the field will open at 8:30 a.m. for guest seating. Guests will be seated in the southeast, east, and northeast stands of the stadium; guests should enter through the south stand entrance, located on South Street.

Degree candidates will assemble in Hamilton Village by 8:45 a.m., process down Locust Walk, and enter the field at 9:30 a.m. The ceremony will begin at 10:15 a.m. upon the entrance of the academic procession (the President’s party and faculty) and will conclude at approximately noon.

The ceremony will feature the conferral of degrees, the awarding of honorary degrees, greetings by University officials, and remarks by Commencement speaker John Legend.

Commencement will be held rain or shine. Guests should come prepared for all weather conditions, including rain and hot sun. Tickets are not required for admission.

For more information, visit the Commencement website.

West Philly job program seeking applicants

Want to work in security services? In June, the University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative will launch the ninth session of its Connect to Success program. In partnership with Allied Barton Security Services, this four-week training program is tailored to West Philadelphians pursuing a career in security, hospitality, and customer service.

In this role, individuals will secure campus buildings and ensure the safety of students, staff, and visitors. Four weeks of performance-based stipends are awarded for successful classroom performance. The application deadline is Friday, May 9.

To be eligible, individuals must be unemployed or under-employed (earning $9 an hour or less), a resident of West Philadelphia—as defined by zip codes 19104, 19131, 19139, 19143, and 19151—a high school graduate with either a diploma or GED, and be able to commit to at least six hours of training, five days per week, beginning June 2.

For more information, or to apply online, visit

Penn named a Tree Campus USA

For the fifth consecutive year, Penn has earned 2013 Tree Campus USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation.

The University achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards: a Campus Tree Advisory Committee, a Campus Tree Care Plan, a Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures, an Arbor Day Observance, and a Service Learning Project.

“Penn is committed to maintaining the urban park-like setting of our campus,” says University Landscape Architect Bob Lundgren. “In addition to the tree management and care provided by staff and consultants, we offer programs both here and at the Morris Arboretum to engage volunteers and students in the conservation of our green space located in the center of a busy city environment.”

LPS launches new chemical sciences degree

On April 1, the College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) at Penn officially opened applications for its newest master’s degree: the Master of Chemical Sciences. The program, the first of its kind in the Ivy League, offers current and aspiring professionals in the chemical sciences a path to build their expertise in a compact time frame.

Vice Dean for Professional and Liberal Education Nora Lewis says the program has been in demand for some time.

Most students will be able to complete the 10-course program in 18 months, and will have full access to Penn’s chemistry faculty and research facilities. The degree will culminate in a capstone project, a large-scale project that students design themselves to gain a deeper understanding in an area of particular interest.

“I’m excited about adding yet another highly motivated, intellectually outstanding group of students into the mix, who will be pursuing careers in a new field for LPS,” Lewis says.

Gutmann announces plan to increase financial aid endowment

Penn President Amy Gutmann recently unveiled an ambitious new initiative designed to raise an additional $240 million for undergraduate financial aid, bringing to $600 million the total amount of philanthropic support for undergraduate education raised in the past decade.

During this period, Penn’s all-grant, no-loan policy—launched during its Making History Campaign—has decreased by 10 percent the average cost of a Penn education to all undergraduates with demonstrated financial need, who can graduate debt-free. Next year it is estimated that the average grant for students receiving aid will be $41,700.

“This new Penn Compact 2020 Presidential Initiative,” Gutmann says, “will allow us to expand the impact of our all-grant, no-loan program, which has proven to be hugely successful in opening Penn’s doors to thousands of talented, hardworking students who could otherwise not afford a Penn education.”

People of Penn

People of Penn

Scott Spitzer

People make Penn go ’round. Toddlers, teenagers, and young adults. Twenty-somethings, 30-somethings, and 40- and 50-plus. Sexagenarians, septuagenarians, octogenarians, and maybe even more. The “Greatest” Generation, the Silent Generation, and those that came before. Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers, and Millennials. Students, faculty, and staff.

People who think, study, create, build, support, give, advise, care, protect, serve, and people who make other people.

Like the Earth without the sun, Penn without people would be a lifeless, dark, and derelict place.

“People of Penn” is a Current multimedia project highlighting only a modicum of the diverse members of University faculty and staff in his or her work space. Each acts as one of the tens of thousands of beats to Penn’s everpumping heart and centuries-old soul. They are, in part, police officers, doctors, curators, biologists, clinicians, and fabricators. Check out the entire feature at the "People of Penn" webpage.

Each is unique in his or her own right, and together they make us whole. Me, we.