The Olden Bough
Humans have revered ancient trees for about as long as we’ve chopped down forests. What does that fraught relationship reveal about our past? And can it illuminate a path toward a more hopeful future?
A Life’s Calling
For Liz Theoharis C’98, activism has been a way of life—from assisting her parents with their justice work, to community service as a Penn undergrad, to cochairing the recent revival of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign of 1968. The Presbyterian minister, social justice leader, and biblical scholar is committed to reframing the narrative around poverty and the poor while pushing for lasting policy changes.
Rich History, New Visions
At Penn Live Arts, the legendary Negro Ensemble Company is creating new work that explores this country’s racial tensions and challenges. A February world premiere, Mecca is Burning, brought together five playwrights to imagine how four Black families in Harlem might navigate a white-supremacist revolution.
Sir Henry Thornton, On and Off the Rails
Knighted by Britain for his work as the Allies’ “railroad czar” in World War I, the Penn alumnus and Pennsylvania Railroad veteran went on to remake the Canadian National Railways before the Great Depression, poor health, and scandal brought him low.
And the Band Played On
For 125 years, the Penn Band has been an omnipresent and energetic presence at sporting events, campus ceremonies, and whenever “Penn is out and about in the community.”
The Outsider’s Insider
If there is a crisis (and there have been a few lately), Andy Slavitt C’88 W’88 knows which expert to bring “in the bubble.” When he’s not taping his award-winning podcast, the former insurance executive and federal administrator has a day job:funding innovation in healthcare for those who need help the most. “I have one thing I care about,” he says. “Making this country better for the people who have been ignored for too long.”
Our annual photo gallery. Plus: Alumni Award of Merit winners and citations.
Drawing Down the Lightning, Making the Moment
On her inauguration day as the University’s ninth president, Liz Magill shared a vision of even greater impact and influence for Penn’s next chapter, picnicked on Shoemaker Green with members of the Penn community and some favorite musicians, and hosted a wide-ranging conversation with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan at a critical time for the institution.
The Penn Athletics Wharton Leadership Academy aims to turn varsity athletes into lifelong masters of team dynamics. Among the obstacles? Snowplow parenting, youth sports, self-reinforcing gender stereotypes, and the culture of leader-worship itself. Oh, and possibly a rattlesnake or a freak mudslide.
House of Resiliency
Opened in 1972 as a safe haven and a hub for Black students, Du Bois College House has overcome turmoil and undergone evolution over the last half century. Now, as it celebrates its 50th anniversary, what will the next 50 years look like for the small dormitory with big ambitions?
Liz Magill Is Listening (in a Good Way)
Penn’s new president says growing up in Fargo, North Dakota, is the most memorable thing about her, but former colleagues and University leaders would rather talk about her warmth, attention to others and their ideas, and ability to bring groups together for a common goal (though the Midwestern thing is interesting, too, and perhaps related).
Getting it Right(er)
PIK Professors Philip Tetlock and Barbara Mellers have figured out a better way to predict the future. Open minds welcome. Experts, not so much.
A longtime journalist’s new memoir recounts an “alternative” journey through the ever-changing print media landscape.
Three Penn alumni amassed three varied and valuable private collections, then bequeathed them to Philadelphia and the world. But what drove Mütter, Barnes, and Rosenbach?
For Efrén Olivares, whose childhood was split between Texas and Mexico, the push to reform US immigration policies and practices is both a marathon and a sprint. He shares his story of legal battles and personal struggles in an emotional new memoir, My Boy Will Die of Sorrow.