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Photography by Tommy Leonardi ’C89 (Football &Fun)
and Sarah Bloom (Arts & Culture)

Alumni Awards of Merit

Photography by Stuart Watson


Dale Borenstein Bell, MT’81 | Alumni Award of Merit

“Penn is not four years, Penn is for life.” Your daughter Brittany’s telling comment at the end of her senior year in 2011 echoes your constant refrain as an alumna par excellence. It’s a message your son Brandon, C’14, has also heard loud and clear: Lifelong connections with Penn only grow stronger with time.

As an undergraduate studying medical technology in Penn’s Allied Medical Professions Division, you established your initial bonds with Penn as a member of the Mortarboard Senior Society, and the Undergraduate Assembly, as a volunteer in the West Philadelphia Tutoring Project, and as a member of Hillel.

Soon after graduating and moving to northern New Jersey in the 1980s, you became a booster from afar on behalf of your alma mater as chair of the Penn Alumni Interview Committee of Bergen County. You have been matching local high school students with a small army of alumni interviewers ever since, making sure that aspiring Quakers have all the information about Penn they need. In 2004, you assumed presidency of the Penn Club of Metro NJ, galvanizing local alumni so effectively that the group won the Alumni Club Award of Merit in 2006. To this day, you continue to advise and mentor the Club’s leadership about best practices developed during your tenure. You also helped plan the Healthy Cities: Healthy Women Conference in New York City in 2011, a brilliant collaboration between Penn Alumni, Penn Nursing, and the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women that brought several hundred participants together to explore issues at the intersection of gender, health, and the urban environment.

Your calendar is filled with Penn events, sometimes more than one a week. Beyond your regional Penn activities, you are a tireless volunteer leader at the University level. You are president of the Class of 1981, serve on your Class Gift Committee, and have co-chaired both your 25th and 30th reunion committees. As a member of the Penn Alumni Board of Directors, you participate on the Alumni Programming Committee, Regional Clubs Advisory Board, and the Homecoming Host Committee.

You are always looking for new and different ways to give back. In spring 2012, serving as class president, you initiated, coordinated and participated in The Class of 1981 First Annual Community Service Project. Mid-way through a neighborhood tour of Philadelphia murals, you and your former classmates and friends grabbed brushes and paint buckets to work on a mural called “Finding the Light Within.” It has been installed at Horizon House, an organization near campus that works with individuals with disabilities and their families.

You met your husband of 28 years, Allan Bell, C’81, when you both were undergraduates. An involved alumnus himself and self-proclaimed “proud Penn husband,” he praises your “infectious Penn spirit and enthusiasm that have encouraged so many others to be ambassadors and advocates for Penn.” We heartily agree with his assessment.

For your investment of considerable time and significant talent, for your generous support for financial aid, for your boundless energy, and for always making Penn a priority for yourself and your family, Penn Alumni is pleased to honor you with the 2012 Alumni Award of Merit.


Jennifer Egan, C’85 | 2012 Creative Spirit Award

You are the perfect choice for the 2012 Creative Spirit Award. Your creative bona fides are firmly established; your work as a novelist and journalist is universally admired and widely lauded. But it is the word “spirit” in the title of the award that best expresses your connection with your alma mater –specifically, the way you encourage aspiring writers at Penn.

As a creative writing major, you honed your craft under the tutelage of Penn writer-professors such as Daniel Hoffman, for many years the poet-in-residence and director of creative writing at Penn; the late playwright Romulus Linney, who taught playwriting and fiction at Penn from 1982 to 1995; and Diana Cavallo, CW’53, a creative writing teacher of fiction and nonfiction, now retired. She recalls you as having been unusually serious about your work, even at a tender age. “[Jennifer] honed her craft, and that’s what stood out about her. She was willing to do it until it was right.” You also served as editor-in-chief of the Penn Review, and, presaging your later work as a journalist, you were a regular contributor to The Daily Pennsylvanian.

The Thouron Award you received your senior year at Penn was your ticket to Cambridge after graduation, where you studied, wrote and travelled for two years, before moving to New York City. You have described those early years in Manhattan as “difficult,” as you struggled to find your way financially and artistically. After a series of temporary jobs, you finally became private secretary to a countess, an afternoons-only job that left your mornings free for writing. About the same time, you started reading unsolicited manuscripts for The Paris Review, where invitations to weekly gatherings at editor George Plimpton’s expansive Upper East Side apartment gave you a glimpse into a legendary New York literary scene.

The struggle of your early years is eclipsed by your later successes—of which there have been plenty. Your novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and The Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Earlier, you wrote The Invisible Circus, which was released as a feature film by Fine Line in 2001; Emerald City and Other Stories; Look at Me, which was nominated for the National Book Award in 2001; and the bestselling novel The Keep. As a journalist, you have written ten cover stories for The New York Times Magazine, including an award winning feature, “The Hidden Lives of Homeless Children,” and have been published in The New Yorker, Harpers, Granta, McSweeney’s and other national magazines.

No matter how much critical acclaim you garner, you never forget your time at Penn or the fledgling writer you were during those years. Kelly Writers House did not make its appearance on campus until more than a decade after you graduated, but you frequently visit the Writers House and its young literary denizens. You are happy to share your insights with Penn students and alumni, encouraging them to embrace both the frustrations and satisfactions of the writing life.

For delighting your readers with one of the freshest literary voices of our time and with gratitude for the many ways in which you continue to reach out to Penn writers, it is an honor to bestow upon you the Creative Spirit Award for 2012.


Harve D. Hnatiuk, EE’74 | Alumni Award of Merit

You are the most gratifyingly grateful of alumni, always quick to point out that you feel a debt to Penn, which you credit with having given you so much. You have been so active that you have been described as “Penn’s quiet warrior.”

Since graduation, you have been tirelessly involved in alumni leadership with the University. You were president of the Class of 1974 for a full 15 years, continue to serve as a valued vice chair, and have served as your class’ newsletter editor and communication chair. You were president emeritus of the Alumni Class Leadership Council. You chaired the original committee that developed the Penn Reunion Leadership Conference, and then headed that committee for seven subsequent years.

Clearly, you have never met a reunion leadership role you didn’t like. You have been on the reunion committee for all of your class’ major reunions, from its fifth to its 35th, with successful—even record-breaking—results, and you served as your class’ reunion chair in 2009. You have been a committed and effective member of the Class of 1974 Gift Committee for each of your class reunions.

Even in non-reunion years, you have been the central force in gathering your classmates together for Alumni Weekend and Homecoming events. Without a doubt, your efforts were a significant factor in the selection of Penn ’74 as the recipient of the Class Award of Merit in 1983 and the David N. Tyre Award for Excellence in Class Communications in 2009.

You’ve put years into committee work, never hesitating to serve. You have long been an active member of the Penn Alumni Board of Directors, currently serving as its Vice President of Governance. You chaired, and continue to serve on, the committee that developed the first Class President’s meeting, held in March 2012. You have been active on the Penn Alumni Executive Committee, and the Philadelphia Metro Regional Alumni Club, as well as serving as an Engineering Alumni Society Board Member and Engineering Alumni Society Treasurer.

You are known for taking on the smallest of tasks and the largest of jobs—and doing all of them well. You have been a frequent, and highly readable, contributor to your class newsletter, and have made call after call during Penn Fund Phonathons.

Amazingly, you display the same tireless energy in all aspects of your life, from your work as an electrical engineer at Maida Engineering, Inc., where you hold the office of vice president, to an array of professional affiliations and involvements. You have held, and continue to hold, leadership roles in the National Society of Professional Engineers and the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers, among other organizations. You have been wonderfully active in your community as well.

In all of your undertakings, you have earned a reputation for integrity and honor, and for unswervingly going the distance. A warrior, indeed. We at Penn are grateful for how you have championed the Red & Blue since arriving on campus and we look forward to your involvement in the years ahead. Penn Alumni is honored to bestow on you the Alumni Award of Merit for 2012.


Paul Knox Kelly, C’62, WG’64 | Alumni Award of Merit

You are a champion of higher education with a strong belief that the university is the apt site for the sort of creative thinking that will solve the world’s problems. It is our good fortune that the University of Pennsylvania has been the focus of your engagement.

Your university years hold clues to what has followed: a double alumnus of Penn, you majored in English as an undergraduate and in finance as an MBA student at Wharton, focusing on what would become lifelong interests in both the humanities and business. Your participation in freshman track, lacrosse, and lightweight football foretold an ongoing passion for Penn Athletics. Your positions as assistant manager of fencing, on the Athletic Managerial Board, as class treasurer, and as a member of Sigma Chi and of the National Honor Society revealed your talent for leadership.

And lead you have, both in your professional life and as a Penn alumnus. You are widely considered to be an expert in cross-border investment banking, and you have been influential in introducing new financing concepts to the international capital markets. Highlights of your distinguished career include your current positions as President and CEO of Knox & Company, an investment banking firm, and Knox Enterprises, Inc., a diversified manufacturing company. You have shared your business acumen as a director on numerous corporate boards and as a lecturer, a writer for professional publications, and an expert frequently called upon by the media.

Closer to home, you have served as a University Trustee since 1997 (emeritus since 2010), providing counsel on a range of issues and serving on key committees, including Budget & Finance, Development, Facilities, and Audit & Compliance, which you chaired for several years. You continue to serve as board chair of the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business. Your philanthropy has been similarly ubiquitous, with significant gifts to the School of Arts & Sciences, the Huntsman Program, Athletics, and financial aid.

You are perhaps best known around campus for two distinctive landmarks. The Kelly Family Gates, an airy frieze of finely-crafted bronze hands and tools that relate to the creation of art, have been called the “crowning touch to The Charles Addams Fine Arts Hall” on 36th Street near Walnut.

And then there is the green-shuttered Victorian cottage on Locust Walk that bears your name. As habitués, newcomers, and casual visitors all know, Kelly Writers House is simply magical: a welcoming place where the coffee is fresh, the discourse is stimulating, and love of the written word reigns supreme. Your connection with the Writers House began in 1996, when you came to an unnamed, nascent literary salon and met with its student and faculty founders. Together, you created plans to create a home for creativity, an incubator of arts innovation, and a place in which great ideas might be generated, articulated, and performed.

You also helped its founders envision Kelly Writers House as a student-centered, participant-driven program, organized to be handed down to successive generations. And that is what it has become, as well as a model for subsequent learning hubs at Penn.

You are a true believer in the power of imaginative and non-linear thinking and poetic innovation. It is with great admiration for the exceptional creativity you have shown—in your own endeavors and on behalf of your University—that Penn Alumni is honored to bestow on you the 2012 Alumni Award of Merit.


James Joo-Jin Kim, W’59, G’61, Gr’63 | Alumni Award of Merit

When you arrived at Penn in the fall of 1955, you were one of only five Korean students in your class. Fast forward 57 years. This fall, there are more than 550 students from Korea on campus and more than 1,100 Penn alumni live in Korea. The change in numbers over the years is telling. It speaks to Korea’s emergence as a global presence with a stable democracy, a strong economy, and a sharp focus on education. And it speaks to Penn’s role as a leading international institution of higher education.

For over half a century, you have been a passionate advocate for Korean Studies at Penn. In the late 1960s, when you were busy founding Amkor Technology, Inc., now one of the world’s largest providers of semiconductor assembly and test services, you still found time for Penn. You helped launch the study of Korea at Penn and encouraged your classmate Dr. Yunsook Hong, CW’59, G’67, Gr’68, to teach the initial Korean language class. Ever since, you have been the driving force in building one of the first Korean Studies programs in North America into the vibrant academic program it is today. The program was recently renamed the James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies in your honor.

You have also built bridges between the City of Brotherly Love and the Land of the Morning Calm. You were a lead sponsor of the Wharton Global Alumni Forum in Seoul in 2010. Thanks to your support, the Penn-in-Seoul summer program brings together students from leading universities throughout the world.

You are an alumni leader par excellence. You have served on the Board of Overseers of the School of Arts & Sciences, Wharton’s Executive Board for Asia, and the Penn Alumni Board of Directors and Council of Representatives. Your tenure as a Penn Trustee included participation on the Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity, Academy Policy Committee, Development Committee, and Neighborhood Initiatives Committee. You currently serve as a Trustee Emeritus and as a member of the Board of Governors of the Lauder Institute.

You have said that your personal philanthropy is motivated by the desire to make a difference. By that measure, you have been enormously successful. We are grateful to you for generously endowing professorships at Wharton and at the College, for your contributions to Huntsman Hall, and for your ongoing support of student financial aid and of Korean Studies.

Penn is not alone in singing your praises. You are the recipient of honorary doctorates from Villanova University, where you taught economics, as well as from Chunnam National University in Korea. You have been awarded several Korean presidential honors for your outstanding role in industry. Here in Philadelphia, you support the Gesu School in North Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Fox Chase Cancer Center.

We were hardly surprised when Forbes magazine recognized you as one of its “48 Heroes of Philanthropy for 2011,” because you are our hero as well. For your caring connection to Penn as an alumnus, as a Penn parent, as an engaged volunteer, and as a philanthropic visionary, Penn Alumni presents you—James Joo-Jin Kim—with its Alumni Award of Merit for 2012.


Brett Edward Weinheimer, W’00 | Young Alumni Award 2012

You are particularly proud of your affiliation with Penn. You have enthusiastically engaged with your alma mater ever since your undergraduate years, when you first made your mark—literally!—by helping design the coat of arms that graces the entryway of Fisher Hassenfeld College House.

You began volunteering for the University early and tirelessly. As an undergraduate, you were a resident advisor, member of the Penn Band, an Admissions Tour Guide and served on the Quadrangle Renovation Committee, among other activities. As a senior, you became Gift Committee Chair for the Class of 2000, a position you have held ever since, in addition to co-chairing the successful Project 5000 for The Penn Fund, an initiative that brought 5,000 new donors to Penn. You have served on the board of the University Club at Penn. In 2006, you joined the Alumni Class Leadership Council (ACLC) and served as secretary before accepting the external vice president position. In this capacity you immediately began working to ensure that alumni classes have active, engaged leadership.

Years after graduation, you remain wonderfully present: Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, the popular sandwich shop you own near campus, is a bright spot in the days—and indeed, the nights—of many Penn students. You are a proud corporate sponsor of Penn Athletics, serving as the “official sandwich of Penn Athletics.”

Your enthusiasm and energy are unparalleled. You are an avid communicator with fellow alumni about University events. You cheerfully step in to help get jobs done, lead by example, and inspire other alumni class officers to broaden and diversify their activities.

You have set a high bar for all former Penn students, exhorting them to come together to raise their University to greater heights. You make a strong case for greater alumni participation across the board, whether by taking part in a class gift, returning to campus for Alumni Weekend or Homecoming, or attending regional club events.

You realized early on the importance of building friendships from all decades, as well as developing strong connections with staff and faculty at Penn. You are a role model for your generation, generously giving back to Penn and other charitable endeavors. You do what is good and right, selflessly without looking for accolades or recognition. You have spoken of feeling downright competitive in your drive to see the University endowment increase. Your passionate words and spirit have encouraged other young alumni to adopt the same goal.

You once eloquently asked: “If we all return to campus, become involved with a reunion or a regional club, and, if we remember Penn each year in our giving, who knows what more we can accomplish in our own little corner of Philadelphia and beyond?”
We are thrilled that you not only posed this question, but seek to answer it yourself and encourage others to do so, too. In grateful recognition of your model Penn citizenship and your inspiring alumni leadership, Penn Alumni awards you with the 2012 Young Alumni Award.


Melissa L. Wu, C’98  | Young Alumni Award 2012

You are ceaselessly productive and boundlessly dedicated to Penn. Your energy level is so high that one could be forgiven for thinking there are a dozen Melissa Wus. That’s how much you accomplish!

The high-octane energy you first exhibited as a freshman never flagged throughout your undergraduate years, as you participated in a dizzying number of extracurricular activities, from the Penn Pals, to the Minority Scholars Program to the Penn Environmental Group.

You kept up the pace after graduation, remaining engaged with Penn in your hometown of Los Angeles. By 2000, you were PennClubLA’s vice president and marketing manager; two years later, you were named president, a position you held until February 2012.

During this time—and while building a career as a marketing professional— you took on numerous other roles, including the president of PennClubLA. You served as part of the Penn Alumni Interview Program and co-chaired your class’ 10th Reunion Committee. You currently serve on your 15th Reunion Committee and on the host committee for Penn Nursing’s Healthy Cities: Healthy Women Conference, to be held this fall in Los Angeles.

As PennClubLA’s president, you were a visionary and innovative leader. After making increasing membership a priority, you sought out new alumni members, developed relationships with them, and encouraged them to volunteer. As a result, membership soared. Your fans—and there are many of them!—credit you as the reason they are involved with Penn.

You also revitalized the club newsletter and ratcheted up the use of social media by enlisting co-chairs to handle Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts, as well as the Club’s website. You implemented a communications strategy that featured focused messaging and streamlined event promotion.

And what events! During your years in leadership, you increased the number of club events by a whopping 75 percent, with activities all over Southern California. Determined to be inclusive, you collaborated with different University groups to involve all of the Club’s demographic groups and made sure that events were held close to where people live and work. Moreover, you worked to strengthen Penn’s connections with Los Angeles’ most prominent industry—entertainment, of course!—helping to organize six annual PennFest events. And you lent support to countless smaller-scale programs, from a PennGALA mixer to the yPenn Alumni Highball, drawing the local Penn community closer together.

Best of all, you accomplished all of this with an infectious sense of fun and a disarming modesty. You were unfailingly generous with your time, supportive of volunteers, welcoming to newcomers, and lavish with your praise of others’ contributions. Is it any wonder that, during your tenure as president, PennClubLA became one of the most active alumni clubs in the nation? Or that it was awarded the Alumni Club Award of Merit, not once but twice, in 2005 and 2011?

We are grateful for your past service and so pleased that you will remain active with the Penn Alumni Board of Directors as a member of the Regional Clubs Advisory Board. On behalf of Penn Alumni, we are delighted to present you with the Young Alumni Award for 2012. We look forward to being amazed by you for years to come.



Class of 1992 | Class Award of Merit
“The time and effort you invested in planning and execution led to record breaking results:  553 classmates attended your reunion, a benchmark number bound to inspire your own class, and others, in the reunion years ahead.”

Class of 1967 | David N. Tyre Award for Excellence in Class Communications
“While you set a high standard at earlier reunions, you truly surpassed it with this one by communicating in inventive and energetic ways” sending “e-mails to classmates that were chatty, fun, and informative…”

Penn Alumni Club of San Antonio | Alumni Club Award of Merit
“You may not be the largest Penn alumni club, but in your aspirations and effectiveness, you are truly outsized… Serving 546 people in South Texas,… you have no trouble keeping the Quaker spirit alive in the southern reaches of the Lone Star State!”

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