Christina Applegate does not attend the University. The 19-year-old star of Fox television's Married with Children doesn't even attend college. Such rumors are spread rapidly around campus and are passed down from class to class, but it is often difficult to pinpoint their origin. About half of the students contacted at random this week had heard the Applegate rumor. Depending on the version they heard, the actress who plays airhead Kelly Bundy had either been accepted for the following year's class, or was already a student on campus. Efforts to trace the myth where unsuccessful, as students did not recall exactly where they had heard it. "I just have heard it around," Wharton junior Melissa Smith said Tuesday. "I think at a party somewhere." Christoph Guttentag, director of planning for the admissions office, said that he first heard the rumor "about a couple of weeks ago" when some students in the admissions office were discussing it. "I've never heard of her applying," Guttentag said. "If somebody well-known would apply, we would know." Guttentag added that such rumors "don't spring forth and get spread for no reason, but I don't know what the reason for this one is." He added that several years ago, there was a prevalent rumor that a certain actress had applied to the University under an assumed name, but he doesn't remember which actress it was. This rumor, too, was unfounded. "I've never heard of anyone applying to Penn under an assumed name," he said. The only Applegate in this year's student directory, first-year grad student Catherine Applegate, said she is not related to the blonde star. "I'm a lot prettier than she is," Applegate said. "Probably a lot older too." And a spokesperson for Fox broadcasting in California said Wednesday that Christina Applegate does not attend college. · Television stars are not the only subject of people-related rumors on campus. An oft-spread myth concerns the assignment of freshman football players to the basement of Butcher/Speakman/Class of '28 in the Quadrangle. As the rumor goes, the entire freshman football team is normally quartered in this section of the Quad on coaches' orders. But residents of Butcher/Speakman denied any superior athletic ability on the part of their neighbors. "There are no football players on this floor," said College freshman Bridget Ward, who lives in the basement of Speakman. She said that she had heard the rumor even before coming to the University. Ward said that various people, when told of her rooming assignment, said, "Oh, I heard they put all the athletes in the basement." College sophomore Toni Minniti, who is the special projects manager for athletics in Butcher/Speakman, said that "It really is a total myth" and that athletic ability in her area of the Quad seemed "no stronger than in other areas." Assistant Dean for Residence Jane Rogers, who has been assigned to the dorm for two years, said that it might create a dangerous situation if the rumor were true. "I don't think anybody in a responsible position at the University would put a whole team on one floor," she said. Rogers said that the source of the myth may be the fact that unlike other sections of the Quad, Butcher/Speakman has almost all doubles, and "coaches like to have athletes room together." Rogers added that as a result, Butcher/Speakman might have gotten more athletes than other areas years ago, but that this is not the case this year. Residential Living "tries to apportion them equally," she said. · Ever notice that it takes forever for the elevators to leave the first floor of Van Pelt Library? Well, you're not the only one. Since the elevators often linger on the main floor even after students have pressed buttons, many have surmised that the elevators only move after a certain number of people have gotten on. Charles Jenkins, the manager for operational services at Van Pelt, said that he has seen students "jumping up and down" hoping to start the elevators. Jenkins said that the traveling patterns of the elevators are not based on weight, but on a timing device to which they are hooked up. He said that the first elevator must always leave ahead of the second one, and that theoretically, both elevators are not allowed to travel side by side, but "the elevators are old and not up to par." Jenkins added that due to the timing device, the doors of elevators on the main floor often close as a student is running toward them, and that students should not take it personally. · Most of the older legends on campus concern University buildings such as Irvine Auditorium. As legend has it, City Treasurer William Irvine donated a sum of money for the auditorium to be built with the stipulation that his son, who flunked out of the School of Fine Arts, design it. This myth was discussed in Daily Pennsylvanian articles in 1950 and 1973 and was said to have originated around 1932. According to files in the University Archives, the true story is that Treasurer Irvine was simply interested in the University and left money for the "erection, construction, and equipment of an auditorium where all University exercises may be held" when he died in 1914. He also left money to his sister Mary Irvine, who died in 1919 and forwarded her share to the University Trustees as well. The co-executor of William Irvine's will was John Bell, who was a University Trustee and later the governor of Pennsylvania. According to the 1950 article, Bell selected architect Horace Trumbauer, "one of the best architects in Philadelphia" and a Drexel graduate, to draw up the plans. He was reportedly assisted by his chief designer, University graduate Julian Abele. Obviously, neither Irvine nor any of his relatives designed Irvine Auditorium, but the rumor may have started due to questions about who actually drew up the plans. Correspondence between former University Archives Director Francis Dallett and a member of the late Trumbauer's firm suggested that the person who drew up the final plans was not chief designer Julian Abele but another man in the firm. An investigation into who drew up the final plans was inconclusive, but the designer of the building was certainly not one of the Irvines. · The myth that Vance Hall was accidentally built backwards, and that all of the windows were supposed to face Spruce Street and receive southern exposure to sunlight, has no factual basis either, according to the Hall's file in the University Archives. And the myth that the three High Rises, which were constructed around 1970, were built as "temporary structures" is one of the most common architectural myths. Jeff Rusling, the assistant director of work control for Residential Maintenance, said that all of his co-workers had heard the myth and that he had heard it himself while he was an Engineering student at the University in the late 70s. He said that he recalled one of his Engineering professors saying that the buildings had "one type of support [horizontal or vertical] but not the other." Director of West Campus Residences Nancy McCue said that the myth was untrue and that she was not sure where it had originated. She said that she vaguely remembered hearing that the rooms were designed so that they could be "changed over time." · One final myth that has been heard around campus from time to time is that alumna Candice Bergen, who currently stars in the CBS's Emmy-winning Murphy Brown, lost her virginity in a room in the Quadrangle. Calls to the show's publicity department were not returned this week. Some things will have to remain a mystery.Comments powered by Disqus
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