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Photography by Tommy Leonardi C’89

Alumni Award of Merit Citations

Cynthia Warner Johnson Crowley, CW’52

A champion of women’s sports, you garnered 12 varsity letters at Penn, served as a member of the Women’s Athletic Board, and earned membership in our Athletic Hall of Fame. As an undergraduate you excelled in golf, basketball, and softball and were elected to ATHLON, the Women’s Athletics Honor Society. A thinker and student leader as well as an athlete, you majored in philosophy, joined the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, and were elected vice president of your senior class. With consummate fairness, you credit three relatives—your grandfather and your Penn alumni father and your husband ññwith encouraging you to achieve your personal best in all things. Today, you are both an award-winning educator and a Penn immortal, with a team room in the Palestra named in your honor.

Clearly, you inspire others to greatness. With your champion athlete daughter, Cynthia Wetmore Crowley, you generously sponsor the Ivy Softball Championship Trophy and the Farquhar-Baker Ivy Women’s Basketball Championship Trophy. Recently, reflecting on your own “glory days” of basketball, you decided to create the Harshberger-Johnson-Brendel Prize, which honors more than 60 years of women’s varsity basketball at Penn. 

Your service on Penn’s Secondary School Committee suggests another of your passionsññ education. A high school teacher for more than 26 years, you have taught some 3,000 students to commit themselves to lifelong learning and the improvement of society. But you did not stop there. You carried your message even further as a member of the Delegation to China for Gifted and Talented Education. Your distinction in your field has won you a place in Who’s Who in American Education. 

You have said of the Penn prize you established for women’s basketball that it “provides tangible evidence of that timeless, invisible bond that holds all of us together as Pennsylvaniansññfaculty, students, alumni, strangers, friendsññin the long Red and Blue line.” Finding no words more compelling than your own, Penn Alumni is delighted to further strengthen that timeless bond by presenting you with the Alumni Award of Merit on this fifteenth day of October 2004.

David Patrick France, C’89

Living the kind of multi-faceted life for which Penn strives to prepare its students, you excel as independent promoter and producer, artist, and lawyer in New York City. As a Penn student, you were an active resident of the W. E. B. Du Bois College House, joined the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and graduated with a degree in international relations. Already a talented performer, innovator, and entrepreneur, you were a founding member of Penn’s now thriving Arts House Dance Company, where you served as both a dancer and a choreographer. You also participated in other arts endeavors such as Ebony Inspiration and Spring Fling. We are delighted that you have continued to choreograph your life to include Penn. 

Very much a social activist, you strengthen the Penn community through your work on the Secondary School Committee of Brooklyn, and as a member of the Penn Alumni Diversity Alliance and the James Brister Society. In order to galvanize African-American attendance for your 10th reunion, you co-hosted “Black to School ’99,” which was a follow-up to the famous “Black to School” party you conceived and hosted at the beginning of your senior year. Igniting the project with your abundant energy and creativity, you helped throw a nationwide party that brought African-American alumni together from seven cities for what you dubbed, “The Penn Blackout.” Capitalizing on the momentous enthusiasm and turnout of these events, you felt you could do more and helped devise the idea of “250-in-5,” an initiative that began with the goal of raising $250,000 within five years to fund the W. E. B. Du Bois College House Endowed Scholarship. Under your leadership as co-chair, the initial goal was quickly surpassed and you are now approaching your new million-dollar target. You were also a key member of your 15th reunion’s planning and gift committees, helping the Class of 1989 set attendance records and win the 2004 Class Award of Merit.

An active alumnus, you attend many Penn events both in New York City and on campus, have helped plan others such as PennFest NYC, and, even better, you continue to create them. Drawing on your professional skills, you founded and chaired the 2002 and 2003 Penn Media Summits in New York, day-long events exploring the media industries and all they encompass. Each Penn Media Summit attracted an incredibly diverse group of over 200 alumni, who were inspired by numerous panels that entertained as well as informed. The event also engaged select current students, who were able to attend for free and share in unique mentoring opportunities. You also co-created Bacchanal Redux, an innovative event that will bring together Penn performing arts groups and their NYC alumni to perform for—and network with—one another.

Dazzling us with your creative thinking, careful planning, and expressive presentation, you have increased Penn’s stature on campus, in New York, and across the nation. This fifteenth day of October 2004, Penn Alumni now proudly adds its inaugural Young Alumni Award to your many glowing credits.

Ira Harkavy, C’70, Gr’79

Passionate, idealistic, and committed to change, you not only exemplified the socially conscious student of the sixties, you went on to help make your concerns a core part of the University’s mission. A leading voice on campus, you protested the war in Vietnam and the shortcomings of American institutions, including Penn, in advancing social justice. Unfortunately, not all of the problems went away immediately. Fortunately, neither did you. The Penn of today, the Penn that you helped shape, is an engaged, civic university where students are better educated and more service-oriented than ever before. It is one of which alumni can be particularly proud.

After earning two degrees from Penn, you stayed right here, serving as Vice Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, doing the teaching that you love, and making Penn’s relationship with West Philadelphia a life-long project. The parent, with your alumna wife, of two alumnae daughters, you are also a parent of the modern service-learning movement. The concept of academically-based community service as practiced at Penn, with its emphasis on research, teaching, problem solving, and structural change, is copied around the world. Campus Compact, the national organization that promotes service learning, gave you its highest honor, the Thomas Ehrlich Award, named for a former Penn provost and University Trustee. You have led us in working with public schools, non-profits, and communities of faith in confronting critical societal problems. In 1992, you founded Penn’s Center for Community Partnerships. Serving as Associate Vice President and Director of the CCP, you travel around the country sharing your enthusiasm for its mission and message and attract highly committed alumni to its board. 

As a teacher of history and urban studies, you are revered for practicing what you teach. Students flock to your service-learning seminars, where the democratic classroom is your hallmark, and then go forth and make award-winning contributions of their own. At Penn you have helped create an urban education minor, a public interest anthropology concentration, and an urban health track in the Health and Society major; you founded the Penn Public Service Summer Internship Program, and helped found the West Philadelphia Improvement Corps, the Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development, and the International Consortium on Higher Education. 

As an alumnus, you are one of Penn’s most compelling ambassadors, going on the road for Alumni Relations to interact with fellow graduates. Not surprisingly, alumni love hearing from you, as do we all. Long may you continue to build upon Franklin’s great tradition of linking theory and practice to create a better world. It is with enormous gratitude and pride that Penn Alumni presents you with the Alumni Award of Merit on this fifteenth day of October 2004.

David I. Katzman, W’63

For over 30 years, you have been the heart and soul of a group known for its heart and soul—the Long Island Alumni Club. More than one member asserts with pride that you were both the reason for their joining in the first place and for their continuing enthusiasm and involvement. Serving as a Club officer for ten years, you had many successes, but it was during your two-year tenure as president that the Club’s membership and its treasury increased threefold. Those accomplishments alone would have earned you the club’s highest accolade—the Jack White Award—which you were duly given in 1982. 

As a Penn undergraduate, your great Penn spirit was already much in evidence. Not only were you a member of the Sphinx Senior Society, but you served as Sports Editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. Fortunately for us all, your enthusiasm for Penn athletics has remained undiminished. Ever a loyal Quaker, you held the position of the Long Island Club’s athletic chair for 20 years, making enormous contributions to our pride and prowess. Your efforts did not go unnoticed. In 1982, Penn Soccer presented you with its Alumni of the Year Award. Over the years, you have worked closely with coaches to recruit vigorously for the baseball, soccer, and basketball teams, bringing us All-American athletes, NBA draft choices, and Penn Athletic Hall-of-Famers. 

A former member of the Penn Alumni Council of Representatives, you have served as Chair of the Long Island Secondary School Committee since 1994. Giving of yourself generously to the cause, you have personally hosted and funded annual functions for students and families and organized many other Penn events, including award dinners and college fairs. In countless ways, you have touched the lives of fellow Club members and alumni, prospective and matriculating students, Penn faculty, administrators, Alumni Council on Admissions representatives, and admissions officers. Away from the University, you continue to personify the spirit of Penn through your selfless commitment to community service. 

If this were a DP sports headline it might read: “Team Player Triumphs—Leads with His Heart.” With our own heartfelt cheers, Penn Alumni gratefully presents you on this fifteenth day of October 2004 with the Alumni Award of Merit.

E. Gerald Riesenbach, W’60

Recognized in Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best Lawyers” issue as being among the top in your profession, you have dedicated countless hours ññ none of them “billable”ññ to your alma mater. 

It was 34 years ago that you first got on the case as a Capital Gifts volunteer and Class Agent. Soon, you were volunteering for The Penn Fund, where your talent for persuasion was put to good use as part of the telethon brigade. From there, you went on to serve for five years as Vice President of the Class of 1960 and then for ten as its President. With a dazzling display of leadership, you helped your class become the first to raise $1,000,000 for its 25th reunion. Since then, you have made record-setting a regular occurrence for your class and have been invited to instruct the reunion committees of other classes. For the past several years you have been an invaluable participant in the Penn Reunion Leadership Conferences. 

Always in the forefront of progress, you contributed to the momentum that has brought alumni back to Penn in droves. During your recently completed term as President of the Organized Classes, you ushered in many significant changes including a new name: the Alumni Class Leadership Council. Your expertise has come into play yet again as chair of a review of the Penn Alumni By-Laws. Simultaneously, you are helping us engage a growing and diverse alumni community by serving as Vice President for Governance on the Penn Alumni Board of Directors and as a member of the Executive Committee and the Council of Representatives. Across the University, whether as part of a fundraising committee for the Annenberg Center or personally advocating for the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, you take every opportunity to advance Penn.

The proud father of two Penn alumni and a highly engaged civic leader, you inspire us with your loyalty, energy, and commitment. At past ceremonies recognizing Penn’s most dedicated volunteers, you have been among our most enthusiastic celebrators. Tonight, we celebrate you. On this fifteenth day of October 2004, please accept with Penn Alumni’s gratitude and esteem, the Alumni Award of Merit.

Matthew Rosler, C’96

A Long Island transplant to Southern California, you live an eventful lifeññ and lucky for us, many of the events have to do with Penn.

First of allññyou attend events. Whatever the Penn functionññbreakfast or dinner, film screening or summit, reception or celebration ññ if it’s in LA, you are there. Secondññyou promote events. You help design and produce websites and are always at the ready to promote the latest in on-line tools that keep all alumni everywhere tapped-in to Penn functions. And when it comes to being part of an event, you are ready at the drop of a hat, mask, or wig to take to the stage. But where you really shine in the event department is in their creation. 

As a leading member and recent president of the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Association of Southern California—perhaps better known as Penn Club LA—one of your many duties included running the annual “Penn in Pictures,” featuring local alumni who work in the entertainment industry. Its overwhelming success inspired you with another idea. Why not create a film and music festival that would showcase emerging talent rather than already established artists, and why not include alumni from all around the country? And so it was that PennFest LA was born. In addition to featuring bands of alumni musicians and film clips directed, produced, or starring Penn alumni, the festival spotlights work by students in Penn’s Digital Media Design program. Now in its fourth year, PennFest LA was the model for its East Coast counterpart, PennFest NYC. The audience keeps coming—and your credits keep rolling. Already having served as a member of the Penn Alumni Council of Representatives, you recently joined the Penn Alumni Communications Committee with an eye toward reaching out to our worldwide alumni through new and innovative technologies. 

In the not too distant past, when you were a student in the College, you earned kudos as a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, Friars Senior Society, Pipe and Stein Senior Honor Society, and, of course, Mask & Wig. Now, in recognition of your ongoing loyalty, leadership, and talent for putting Penn in the spotlight, Penn Alumni is pleased to present you with its inaugural Young Alumni Award on this fifteenth day of October 2004.

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