While the tercentenary of Penn’s Founder will be marked throughout 2006, his actual birthday—January 17—was the occasion for numerous events here on campus, in Philadelphia, and around the world (including birthday bashes sponsored by Penn Alumni clubs from Mexico City to Singapore).
At Kelly Writers House, “Seven-Up on Ben” presented seven speakers each talking for seven minutes (more or less) about Franklin. After the reading, participants trekked across campus—led by a Franklin impersonator—to the basement of the Morgan Building at 34th Street, where they had dessert and watched the impersonator cut the ribbon on a recently acquired old-fashioned letterpress something like the one Franklin would have had, which—with two others of more recent vintage—will be used for classes in letterpress-printing in a collaborative project among the Writers House, the Fine Arts Department, and Van Pelt Library.
Penn alumni Charles Ludwig C’53 L’56, Art Saxon W’60 G’93, and B. Franklin Reinauer II W’38 were the moving force behind an annual Franklin birthday celebration held for the past eight years that has featured a luncheon and speaker highlighting various aspects of Franklin’s life and achievements, followed by a ceremonial procession to his gravesite. Ludwig passed away a few years ago, but the other two were on hand for this year’s event, at which Saxon presented Reinauer (above in photo) with the Franklin Bowl awarded annually at the celebration.