When I walk along Kelly Drive I almost always pause at the series of terraces that make up the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial of American History—which some readers may recognize as the setting for the photos on the cover and in “The Newcomer Dividend,” senior editor Trey Popp’s feature profile of Wharton professor Zeke Hernandez, author of a new book that makes a business- and investment-oriented case for the value of immigration.

The memorial includes a variety of tableaux and sculptures of representative figures and their roles, including a somewhat dejected depiction of The Immigrant (“They came seeking freedom”). But more germane to Hernandez’s thesis in The Truth About Immigration may be the title of the monumental Jacques Lipchitz sculpture on which Hernandez can be seen sitting on page 27: Spirit of Enterprise.

Born in Uruguay, Hernandez also lived in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Argentina before making a fraught decision to come to the US when he was offered a college scholarship and ultimately making a life here. His interest in immigration came about more or less as a byproduct of research he was doing on cross-border investments and corporate expansion, in which he discovered a strong correlation between the presence of immigrants in a place and foreign investment there. Immigrants are “magnets of investment from their home country,” he told Trey, and also “disproportionately start businesses.”

Hernandez hopes that research like his can encourage rethinking the terms of debate over immigration in the US, which gets stuck on arguing whether immigrants are job stealers or victims and is “obsessed with how immigrants enter our country” but has little to say about “what immigrants do for the rest of us once they’re here.”

Penn has been home to two major breakthroughs in medical science in Carl June’s CAR T cell therapy for cancer and the mRNA vaccine research of Nobelists Drew Weissman and Katalin Kariko. In addition to their manifold benefits to society, these discoveries have generated significant revenues, with the assistance of the Penn Center for Innovation (PCI), the University office charged with managing technology transfer and related activities. In “Making Things Happen,” JoAnn Greco traces PCI’s origins and how it has developed since being established in 2014, highlighting some less headline-grabbing products it has helped shepherd to market and talking with PCI’s leaders about its history and plans for the future.

And Kathryn Levy Feldman LPS’09 offers a portrait of healthcare policy expert Ruth Katz CW’74 in “Our Policies, Our Health.” Currently affiliated with the Aspen Institute, in a pioneering 40-year career Katz has been a witness to and participant in history through her work as a Congressional staffer during the failed healthcare battle in the 1990s and the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2009.

This is also the issue in which we cover Alumni Weekend and Commencement, both of which went forward much as they normally do, though with some security and logistical adjustments arising from
College Green being closed off following the disbanding of an encampment set up there by pro-Palestinian protesters and lingering concerns about further disruptions. At Commencement, Interim President Jameson alluded to the “hard year for the world and for Penn,” and University Chaplain Chaz Howard C’00 spoke of fears that Commencement might be cancelled, as had happened elsewhere. “I’m glad we got to celebrate you all and have our ceremony today,” he said.

—John Prendergast C’80

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