Final Four, Plus 20

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Collage by Robert Oringer

March Madness 1979.

BACK in 1979, Penn freshman Robert Oringer, W’82, created the collage (above) to commemorate the Penn men’s basketball team’s appearance — 20 years ago this month — in the final four of the NCAA Championship. To get there, the team, which had never been ranked in the top 20, shocked North Carolina (ranked number three), then went on to beat eighth-ranked Syracuse and St. John’s before falling to Michigan State in the national semifinals in Salt Lake City.
   “This lightly regarded basketball team, led by seniors Tony Price, Tim Smith, Matt White, and Bobby Willis, and junior ‘Booney’ Salters, would do what no other Penn team … had done: reach the final four,” wrote Frank Dolson, W’54, then the sports editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, in a piece that appeared in the April 1979 Gazette. “It was an incredible accomplishment.”
   Asked how he came to make the collage, Oringer recalls traveling in a rented car with a group of friends to North Carolina and witnessing the team’s surprise victory. Returning home to a campus fired up with basketball fever, and being a budding entrepreneur as well as sports fan, he started selling T-shirts on Locust Walk printed with the words Show No Pity in Salt Lake City. When the slogan was picked up by an Inquirer headline, he saved it, then started saving other articles from The Daily Pennsylvanian and the Daily News as well as the Inquirer, and added photos from his trip to North Carolina.
   Today, Oringer lives in Montreal and is the president of Can-Am Care, a leading provider of store brand diabetes-care products to chain and independent pharmacies. The original of the collage hangs, framed, on the wall of his home office. It measures about three feet by four feet, Oringer says. When Penn friends see it, “the reaction is incredible.”

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