News Briefs

Power is 259th Commencement speaker

Samantha Power

Samantha Power, the United States permanent representative to the United Nations, a member of President Obama’s cabinet, and a Pulitzer-prize winning author, will deliver the address at Penn’s 2015 Commencement on Monday, May 18. As U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Power works to advance U.S. interests and address pressing challenges to global peace, security, and prosperity. Prior to her current role, Power served as special assistant to President Obama and senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights on the national security staff at the White House.

“We are honored that Ambassador Samantha Power will speak at Penn’s 259th Commencement,” Penn President Amy Gutmann says. “As a national and global leader, inspiring scholar and teacher, and courageous champion of human rights, Ambassador Power has had far-ranging impact here at home and abroad.”

At the Commencement ceremony, Power will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. 2015 Penn honorary degree recipients sharing the stage with Power are Arthur K. Asbury, the Van Meter Professor of Neurology Emeritus at the Perelman School of Medicine who is renowned for his clinical studies of peripheral neuropathies; Lee C. Bollinger, one of the country’s foremost First Amendment and legal scholars and Columbia University’s nineteenth president; Joan Myers Brown, the founder and executive artistic director of the widely acclaimed Philadelphia School of Dance Arts and the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO); Rita Moreno, an award-winning performing artist and star of film, stage, and television; Ellen Ochoa, a veteran astronaut and the eleventh director of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston; and Cass R. Sunstein, an author and American legal scholar in the fields of constitutional, administrative, and environmental law, as well as law and behavioral economics.

Penn tops green list

Penn tops the list of the 30 U.S. colleges and universities that use the most green power, according to the EPA’s Green Power Partnership program. The rankings, which are updated quarterly, include campuses with their own on-site, direct renewable energy and/or those whose electricity is supplied by green-powered partners. According to the rankings, Penn’s annual green power usage, which comes from wind, is 200,183,000 kilowatt-hours. Green power represents 51 percent of the University’s total electricity use.

Combined, the top 30 campuses use more than 1.9 billion kWh of renewable energy. This is equal to avoiding carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity used annually by more than 182,000 average single-family homes.

Nearly half—14 of the 30 top campuses—derive their entire electrical consumption from green power. To achieve this usage, 29 campuses use wind, 14 use solar, four use biomass, and one uses water (hydro) power. The campuses are varied in terms of regional location, size, and Carnegie classification.

The full list is available at the EPA Green Power Partnership at, a voluntary program intended to reduce the environmental impact of electricity generation by promoting renewable energy.

PWCC opening

Next month, Penn celebrates the launch of the Penn Wharton China Center (PWCC), which will serve as a bridge between Penn and China. The Center launch on March 9 and 10 will include a roundtable with Chinese universities to discuss issues facing higher education, panels led by Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett on China’s role in the global economy, prominent scholars’ panels on political, social, and legal dynamics facing China and the world, and sessions with Penn Deans talking about the future of their fields. For more information, visit the PWCC website.

Clean-up day

The 8th Annual Philly Spring Cleanup is set for Saturday, April 11, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents are encouraged to do their part to keep Philadelphia clean and litter-free. For more info, go to www.philadelphiastreets. com/philly-spring-cleanup.

Philly honors Penn

Philly Penn

Scott Spitzer

The City Council of Philadelphia recently honored Penn, among other area colleges, universities, and academic institutions, for participating in higher education partnerships with the city’s financially strapped school district.

Introduced by Councilman Curtis Jones and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and sponsored by every Council member, the resolution noted that the school district has been “severely inhibited by budget cuts, layoffs, and school closings in recent years,” and recognized Penn as one of the institutions helping public school students further their  academic careers by pursuing higher education.

The University was praised for its support of Penn Alexander School and Lea School through afterschool programs, behavioral and social supports, and professional development offered by the Graduate School of Education. Penn was also acknowledged for its support for workforce development offered by the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, and for providing college preparatory services to high school students.

“[City Council] honors and recognizes the dedicated efforts of institutions of higher education working to improve the quality of education through the School District of Philadelphia and by increasing overall academic opportunities for the greater community by making higher education more accessible for all Philadelphians,” the resolution read.

Schwartz named LDI, PPI fellow

Former U.S. Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz has been named both a Distinguished Policy Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) and a Visiting Fellow at the Penn-Wharton Public Policy Initiative (PPI).

Schwartz recently completed her fifth term representing Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District, and will bring her experience in government service and policymaking to bear in interactions with LDI Senior Fellows, Fellows, and students across campus, as well as through PPI’s Washington, D.C. office.

“We are honored to have Congresswoman Schwartz as part of our LDI community,” says LDI Executive Director Dan Polsky. “She has been one of the most effective legislators in the health care arena over the past decade. Her experience and her boundless energy will enrich the policy impact of the research of our senior fellows who bring data-tested, policy-focused research to the transformation of the nation’s health system.”

New PennPraxis leader

Randall Mason, an associate professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at PennDesign and chair of the school’s Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, was recently appointed the new executive director of PennPraxis, the applied research arm of the School of Design.

Before joining the PennDesign faculty in 2004, Mason worked as Senior Project Specialist at the Getty Conservation Institute, researching economic and social issues relating to heritage conservation. His professional experience includes several years of consulting practice, as well as co-founding the nonprofit research group Minerva Partners. He served on the Board of Directors of the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia from 2006-2013 and is currently on the board of Eastern State Penitentiary.

“Randy’s skills in building alliances with government and nonprofits, and serving as a leader in efforts to transform cities in transition demonstrate his great ability to engage stakeholders in meaningful conversations about the future face of cities around the globe,” says PennDesign Dean Marilyn Jordan Taylor.

West Philly jobs and training

In February, the University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) will launch the next session of its nationally recognized “Connect to Success” training program. In partnership with one of the largest parking management companies in North America, this three-week training program is tailored to motivated West Philadelphians who want
to build their career.

As a valet attendant, trainees will provide professional customer service when parking and retrieving cars throughout institutions within West Philadelphia. While training with WPSI for this opportunity, performance-based stipends are awarded for successful classroom performance.

Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and valid and clean driver’s license for more than three years, be currently unemployed, reside in the 19104, 19131, 19139, 19143, or 19151 zip codes, and be able to commit to at least 30 hours of weekly training for three weeks.

Applications are being accepted through Monday, Jan. 26. To submit an application, visit

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.

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.