Dr. Suhnne Ahn and her cat Beauregard have packed up their belongings and made a cross-country move.
Ahn has left her post as house dean of Harnwell College House to become the dean of Residential Life and Student Activities at the Colburn School, a performing arts school in Los Angeles. She has led Harnwell since 2002, and before that she was director of student affairs at Johns Hopkins’ Peabody Preparatory. Ahn announced both her departure from Penn and her new role in an email to Harnwell residents on Dec. 19.
“I recently received an exciting opportunity that will take me away from Philadelphia and from our beloved Harnwell College House, where I have served as House Dean for many years,” she wrote, adding that the offer at the Colburn School was one that she “simply found too difficult to resist.”
Having a doctorate in musicology from Harvard, Ahn has always been passionate about the performing arts. Since 1997, she has also taught musicology courses at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins. While taking care of her responsibilities at Penn most of the week, she would take the train down to Baltimore on Saturdays to teach her graduate seminar at Hopkins.
While she is excited about her new opportunity, Ahn feels bittersweet when leaving Penn, explaining that she’ll always cherish her Harnwell memories like Casino Night and the Sapphire Ball. But most of all, she’ll miss her Harnwell students.
“Harnwell and Penn students are wonderful,” Ahn said. “They’re bright, they’re creative, they’re hardworking. We had a peaceful, wonderful environment at Harnwell.”
College sophomore Christina Roldan, a Harnwell resident, expressed her appreciation for Ahn as house dean.
“I got to know Dr. Ahn through the house events, and she was always a very sweet and personable lady,” Roldan said. “She was definitely your dream house dean.”
Roldan explained that among her best memories of Ahn are the monthly dean’s tea sessions she held for house residents. The sessions were an opportunity for both intimate discussions and delicious treats.
“She would have everyone sit in a circle, which for a big house like Harnwell is hard to do,” Roldan said. “But she always managed to have enough food for everyone. It was very nice.”
While students and faculty at Harnwell enjoyed nibbling at the English delicacies, it wasn’t all about the food.
“Instead of just being a food distribution point, dean’s tea was a place for conversation,” Harnwell Faculty Master Dr. Kent Bream said. “She started that tradition here, and hopefully we’ll continue it.”
Bream added that he also valued the role that Ahn played at Harnwell for so many years. He understands that Ahn’s new role is one that perfectly fits her passion for music and the performing arts.
“I know she loved Harnwell dearly. She has written songs that have become Harnwell’s theme songs,” Bream said. “But the opportunity to take such a high leadership role at an academic institution like Colburn in music, which is her field, she couldn’t turn down.”
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.