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March|April 2023
Vol. 121, No. 4


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?
By Trey Popp

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.
By Samantha Drake

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.
By Julia M. Klein

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.
By Dennis Drabelle


From the Editor | Getting at the root.

Letters | Band hits the high notes, disappearing doctor diagnoses.


Alumni Voices | An ex-jock confronts his longevity.
Elsewhere | “Not a single tree survived for miles.”


King Commemoration | Candlelight vigil and other observances.
Social Justice
| MLK Lecture features 1619 Project creator Nikole Hannah-Jones.
| In pilot study, deep brain stimulation curbed binge eating.
| Pottruck Center celebrates 20 years of fitness with cake and more.
Music History
| Philadelphia Orchestra archives coming to Penn Libraries.
| $16.25 million to GSE for new leadership center and McGraw Prize.
Higher Education
| Law and medical schools withdraw from U.S. News rankings.
| Lacrosse standout Sam Handley looks back and ahead. Plus: By The Numbers.


| Penn’s lost and found Courbet landscape at Arthur Ross Gallery.
Exhibit | “Walking the Edge,” curated by photographer JJ Tiziou C’02.
Art & History
| An old painting and a new book unlock a family’s origins.
Briefly Noted


Lauren Hitt C’13 is AOC’s communications director.
The Penn Vet and Wharton alumni remaking veterinary emergency care.
Susan A. Hutson C’89 is Louisiana’s first Black woman sheriff.

Old Penn | The Penn Museum’s piece of a 4,000-year-old conifer.

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