Penn Compact 2020/

Engage Locally, Nationally and Globally: Shoemaker Green, Penn’s Newest Public Common

Created in honor of emeritus trustee Alvin Shoemaker, Penn’s newest landscape project has spread a 2.75 acre welcome mat of green at the door of the Palestra and Franklin Field. Featuring a central lawn surrounded by walkways, a rain garden, and outdoor seating, Shoemaker Green is located along 33rd Street between the David Rittenhouse Labs and the Weiss Pavilion at Franklin Field.

"I am so glad we are able to honor Al for his years of service to Penn with this alluring addition to our campus," Penn President Amy Gutmann says. "Shoemaker Green’s natural beauty is an ideal gateway to Penn Park and a new kind of public commons that is as environmentally sensitive as it is beautiful. It is something that we can proudly invite all members of our community to enjoy."

Shoemaker, a former chairman of First Boston Corporation, is a graduate of the Wharton School, where he previously served as an overseer. He is also a former chair of the Athletics Overseers.

As chair of the trustees from 1986 to 1994, Shoemaker oversaw the Campaign for Penn fund-raising effort, which brought in $1.4 billion and initiated efforts to purchase the postal lands, which is now the site of Penn Park. He currently serves on the steering committee for Penn’s $3.5 billion Making History campaign.

Shoemaker and his wife established the Sally & Alvin V. Shoemaker Professorship in Anthropology, and the Shoemaker family, including four children who are Penn alumni, are active volunteers for the University.

“Shoemaker Green has a lot of the qualities of College Green, which is pedestrian-friendly,” says Anne Papageorge, vice president for facilities and real estate services. “It connects the core of campus to Penn Park via Smith Walk, and it makes the surrounding buildings much more visible.”

The project’s multiple sustainability elements are highlighted by a rain garden in the northwest corner that will serve as a basin to capture rainwater run-off and filter it before it is collected in a 20,000-gallon underground cistern and used for irrigation of the site. Shoemaker Green has also been a pilot project for a national landscape architecture rating system called the Sustainable Sites Initiative, similar to the U.S. Building Council’s LEED certification process.

Read more information on Shoemaker Green as part of the Penn Connects campus development plan.

Text by Julie McWilliams
Video by Kurtis Sensenig
Photos by Stuart Watson, Steve Minicola & Scott Spitzer