Connecting Penn’s Past and Present

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ELSIE Sterling Howard CW’68, president of the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Society, remembers how frustrated she felt that her daughter Heidi Howard Tandy C’92 never got to meet any of her own classmates’ children while attending Penn.
    Those missed connections should be a thing of the past, however, with the formation of PENNdescendants, a group on campus for the children and grandchildren of Penn alumni. The organization held its first official gathering of legacy students in May, a send-off reception for graduating seniors at the Sweeten Alumni House.
    “We’re looking to do things around Penn traditions, especially sporting events,” says Jenn Brown C’00, one of the founding members. “We’d also like to take advantage of the alumni network and possibly bring in different alumni speakers.”
    PENNdescendants has been in the planning for a couple of years; Howard, a third-generation alumna, got the idea from a similar group at USC, where her other daughter, Liz, attended college.
    Whatever shape the organization eventually takes, “the real overarching issue,” she says, “is the generational bond that is forged for a university that’s almost 300 years old: to be able to count back generations and value each generation’s history, commitment and loyalty, that’s something to really celebrate in alumni relations.”

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