Eugenio Calabi | In 1954, you developed what became known as the Calabi Conjecture. Acclaimed in mathematics circles, the Conjecture’s influence would be felt 25 years later in theoretical physics. Calabi-Yau Manifolds underpinned the development of string theory, helping us imagine the astonishing possibilities for what may lie beyond our known dimensions of time and space. Your arrival here in 1964 was the start of a new era for mathematics at Penn. You reshaped the department, recruited accomplished faculty, and trained a new generation of leaders.
Johnnetta Betsch Cole | An anthropologist, you served as a highly regarded faculty mentor at several universities. You have written and spoken widely about issues of race, gender, inclusion, and educational success. You served as president of two historically black women’s colleges. The first African American woman to lead Spelman College, you later left retirement to head Bennett College for Women. You broke down barriers as the first African American to chair the Board of the United Way of America and the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors for the Coca-Cola Company. As Director of the National Museum of African Art, you promote greater understanding of humanity’s shared African roots with thought-provoking exhibits, research and education, and community outreach.
Edna Adan Ismail | In 1961, you returned to your home country of Somaliland after having studied in the United Kingdom and dedicated your life to providing skilled, life-saving birth attendance and health care for women and children. In 1997, you became the first and only woman minister in the new government of Somaliland and you later served as its first woman foreign minister. In 2002, you used your own pension funds to open the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital, later opening the Edna Adan University Hospital in 2012. Over 14,000 babies have been safely delivered at your facilities, and the number of women receiving quality postnatal care has risen dramatically.
John Legend | A child prodigy in Ohio, you were already an accomplished musician when you arrived at Penn as a 16-year-old freshman. Your hard work was rewarded with superstardom as one of the world’s best known R&B/soul artists. You are a vocal proponent for access to quality education for all children. In Africa, your Show Me Campaign partners with local organizations to provide clean water, health care, and education. You have shared your music on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake. You partner with Project (RED) to benefit the Global Funds for AIDS and to aid those stricken with tuberculosis and malaria.
Raymond G. Perelman | A World War II veteran of the US Air Force, you are renowned and respected as a hard-working, forthright businessman. You built an independent career acquiring and leading companies, including the Belmont Iron Works and General Refractories. Today, you remain active as CEO of the multinational RGP Holdings, Inc. You give your time unstintingly on behalf of Philadelphia, serving on the boards of Penn Medicine, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and others. In 2011, you made the largest single gift in Penn history, creating a permanent endowment for what is now the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine.
Olympia J. Snowe | Your unparalleled 40-year career in politics was legendary for your ability to reach across the aisle, for your strong centrist beliefs, and for your generous mentorship of junior legislators. You co-chaired the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues and made women’s wellbeing a priority. You championed legislation to address pension survivorship benefits, workplace discrimination, violence against women, and gender inequity in NIH-funded research. As a senior member of the Senate’s powerful Finance, Commerce, and Intelligence Committees, you addressed far-reaching legislative issues, including the 2008 financial crisis and the Affordable Healthcare Act. In 2006, Time named you one of America’s ten best senators.
George A. Weiss | In 1987 you promised academic support and payment of the full cost of college or vocational training for 112 students at Belmont Elementary School in one of Philadelphia’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. That day, the Say Yes to Education Foundation was born. Today, nearly 65,000 Say Yes students and their families have received mentoring, academic support, and the benefit of free tuition. Your commitment to the Red and Blue is likewise legendary. A University Trustee since 1988, you have served as the Board’s Vice Chair, as a member of the Penn Medicine Board’s Executive Committee, as an Overseer for Athletics, and as Chair of Penn’s phenomenally successful Making History Campaign.
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