Reform and Redirection

As associate editor Dave Zeitlin C’03 writes at the start of this issue’s cover story, you probably haven’t heard of Henry Glover, who was shot dead and his body burned in a car by police in New Orleans in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The case never received the national attention that the later deaths of George Floyd and too many others generated, but his is “one of the most egregious cases of police misconduct in recent American history,” according to Jared Fishman C’99, who as a federal civil rights attorney led the prosecution of the officers involved.

In “Chasing Justice,” Dave describes Fishman’s work investigating the case alongside an African American female FBI agent (earning them the nickname “The Black Girl and the Jew”), his time at Penn, and how his quest for justice for Glover’s family was inspired by the tragic death of a former camper he’d known from his work as a counselor at the Seeds of Peace camp in Maine. (Also included is an excerpt from Fishman’s 2023 book about the case, Fire on the Levee: The Murder of Henry Glover and the Search for Justice After Hurricane Katrina.)

Jared Fishman’s work as a prosecutor required extraordinary persistence against long odds, but these days he channels that impulse towards systemic reform. In 2020, he left the DOJ to create a nonprofit called Justice Innovation Lab. “In the Balance,” by JoAnn Greco, highlights four books by alumni that, in different ways, make the case for setting off in new directions in life and work.

In Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away, Annie Duke Gr’92 asserts that, despite its connotations of failure or lack of nerve, developing a knack for knowing when to abandon a job, relationship, or any pursuit is a necessary and equally important corollary to the more widely lionized grit. The book draws on examples from Duke’s days as a professional poker player, stories of people and companies wrestling with their choices, and the insights of top researchers on human behavior and decision-making.

Simone Stolzoff C’13’s The Good Enough Job: Reclaiming Life from Work includes multiple examples from people in diverse work situations to make the case that, as with parenting, good enough is fine. Also featured are authors Rachel Friedman C’03 G’07 and Marci Alboher C’88, who respectively explore crafting a life after early artistic ambitions turn sour and pivoting to second careers or other pursuits later in life.

I’m not sure Rajiv J. Shah M’02 GrW’05 knows when to quit. The title of his new book, Big Bets: How Large Scale Change Really Happens, leaves some room for doubt. In “Risk and Reward,” Julia M. Klein profiles Shah—possessed of “unflagging optimism,” a “fierce sense of mission,” and formidable powers of persuasion—who became president of the Rockefeller Foundation in 2017 after stints with the Gates Foundation, as USAID administrator in the Obama Administration, and in other positions in government and the private sector working on global public health, climate, and development issues.

This issue also includes our annual Homecoming photo essay and citations for the Alumni Awards of Merit, Penn Alumni’s highest honor. As always, our congratulations to all the winners!

And news came as we were going to press that Penn Medicine’s J. Larry Jameson had been named interim president of the University. See his first message to alumni in “From College Hall” and read more about him in “Gazetteer.”

—John Prendergast C’80

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