Search Results


Below are your search results. You can also try a Basic Search.




Van Pelt College House to undergo a virtual revolution

(07/13/95 9:00am)

Virtually everyone in Van Pelt College House will notice the new environment when they return this fall. English Department Undergraduate Chair Al Filreis has been appointed Faculty Master of the dormitory by Provost Stanley Chodorow. He will hold the position for a three-year term, after which it can be renewed upon review. Filreis is replacing Marco Frascari, who will be the new Architecture Department Chair. Academic Programs in Residence Director Chris Dennis said that as Faculty Master, Filreis is a member of the Residential Faculty Council, which meets at least monthly to "carry out its mission of developing the educational and academic potential of Penn's residential system." Filreis said he has big plans for the future of Van Pelt College House. Along with newly appointed Van Pelt Faculty Fellow James O'Donnell, a Classical Studies professor, Filreis intends to use technology to enhance the quality of life for the residents. This goal comes as no surprise to students and faculty who know the two professors. And it is one of the main reasons wy they were selected for the initiative by the provost. "When announcing to me by e-mail my appointment to the position of faculty master, and noting that Jim O'Donnell would also be moving into the house, the provost jokingly reminded me to be sure to foster 'an actual community as well as a virtual one,'" Filreis said. He said he hopes the need for such a virtual community in a College House, "where lively live discourse is the thing," is recognized. "I hope Van Pelt will soon be a place where that lively discourse will be livelier as the result of new media used to intensify social-intellectual life still further -- a discourse that never sleeps," he said. One of Filreis's and O'Donnell's projects is to have put all of the residents on a special Van Pelt listserv, which is already up and running. O'Donnell said he sees his move to Van Pelt College House as an "opportunity to make things happen at the intersection of the academic community of the campus and the world beyond that we can now reach through the electronic networks. "The chance to put myself through a reeducation course in student life and ideas -- necessary, now that I am no longer as young as I used to be -- is a bonus of great value," he added. "It will be an exciting place, that I guarantee." Filreis said that as a prominent faculty figure in the dorm, he intends to be a be a part of students' lives and conversations. He said he and O'Donnell plan on continuing the "e-geek/computing group," as well as the Van Pelt House Council -- a student committee which organizes programs and allocates funds for house activities. This is an important time for the College House system, "since the new-look undergraduate education to come will have close connections to academic programs in residence," Filreis said. "We hope to manage the sort of acute integration of academic and residential that planners for '21st Century' undergraduate education have been dreaming of," he added. Many students who will be living in Van Pelt next year are looking forward to working closely with Filreis and O'Donnell. "I am really excited about having Al and Jim in the Van Pelt community," Van Pelt College House Computer Manager Marsha Chan Wai Hong said. "I believe that they will spur networking awareness throughout the dormitory," the Engineering senior added. Even residents who are not active participants in the networking community are anticipating a positive experience. "I'm not much into e-mail in general, but this sounds like a step in the right direction towards improving communication around the house and may very well lead to a strengthened sense of community," Wharton senior Adam Blitz said. There are 25 faculty members in the University's College House system. Dennis said faculty involvement in the University's House system can be traced back to the early seventies. "Since that time, about 180 faculty members have lived in residence, making Penn's program of faculty involvement one of the most intensive the the country," he said. Summer Pennsylvanian staff writer Salman Sajid contributed to this article.


Smith Hall to be demolished in near future

(07/13/95 9:00am)

Smith Hall may not even make it to the end of the summer. According to Vice Provost for Research Barry Cooperman, the University was issued a permit by the city late last month that allows for both the demolition of the building and the construction of phase one of the Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Phase one entails the construction of a $34 million, 86,000-square-foot high-tech building on the Smith Hall site. This site was officially approved by the Air Force last month when it signed a Record of Decision and released the necessary funds. This approval came after more than four years of planning, discussions and controversy. Since the initial plans for the IAST were released, many students and alumni have expressed concern over the idea the historic building will be destroyed in order to make room for the IAST. For now, the University is in the process of preparing Smith Hall for demolition. This involves removing all of the asbestos in the building and hiring a contractor to undertake the project. "There is still a lot of prep work," Vice President for Facilities Management Arthur Gravina said Tuesday. Cooperman said the earliest the building can be demolished is next Wednesday because the demolition notice has to be posted at least 21 days prior to the act. But Gravina said he does not expect the demolition to take place until "sometime this fall or late summer." He added that the University is currently in discussion with seven contractors, and that meetings will begin to be held next week. The University is looking into many different options, since there are various ways to approach tearing down the building. Cooperman said the date of the demolition is contingent upon the contracting how the bidding process goes. "We will see how the bids come in," he said. "Obviously it is a long project and we are intent on getting the best price." Gravina said the University wants to insure that the demolition is done safely. Since Smith Hall is a small building, he does not expect that the job will be done by explosion. This project began in 1991, when the federal government selected the University as the site for the IAST. The project was then turned over to the Department of Defense and subsequently to the Air Force. The project is slated to create space for the Chemistry Department, additional Chemical Engineering laboratories and research space for the Bioengineering Department. Three years ago, the Air Force began an Environmental Impact Study, analyzing the plan's historical and environmental significance, focusing specifically on Smith Hall. In March, the Air Force finally completed the EIS and deemed the site appropriate. And last month's release of the Record of Decision made it official. As of March, the Air Force had already allocated $23.75 million in grant money for the entire project, according to Associate Director for Federal Relations Carl Maugeri. Its total contribution could reach $35 million. Cooperman has estimated that the construction phase of the project will cost between $44 and $50 million, and that the entire project could cost up to $70 million. Phase two of the project will consist of remodeling the Morgan Building and the Music Building and constructing a new wing that will connect the two buildings from the rear. For the third phase, the University will construct an engineering-science library in Hayden Hall. This will be expensive, and may take a long time to construct. The fourth and final phase of the project is the retro-renovating of space in both the engineering and chemical complexes. Because this phase is routine renovation work, its budget can be cut if the costs of the project become too high. Gravina has estimated that the entire project will take two years to complete.


U. hurt by foreigner labor salary policy

(07/06/95 9:00am)

A recent policy change in the United States Labor Department is requiring universities to pay its foreign employees a salary that is now the same as what workers for private industry are earning. This has a direct effect on the University, which employs "a couple hundred people on H-1B Visas," the group of foreigners specified in this new policy, according to Associate Director of International Programs Ann Kuhlman. H-1B is a method that allows foreign professionals to work legally in the country while they attempt to find permanent residency. Kuhlman said most of these workers are employed at the University in impeaching and research capacities. Part of the process of getting an H-1B application is having to attest that your employer is paying the prevailing wage for that occupation, she said. Kuhlman added that there are several ways to calculate the prevailing wage, but that "the surest way to do it is to ask the department of labor what the prevailing wage is for a particular occupation, which is what we do." But a recent ruling eliminated the distinction between types of employers, which means all foreigner researchers must be paid at the same rate, whether they are working for an industry or a university. "The problem is that academic researchers are not paid what industrial researchers are paid," Kuhlman said, adding that these are two very different job markets. Assistant Vice President of Policy Planning David Morse said there are a number of ironies that make the rule "kind of crazy." He explained that the salary for a worker doing research in industry could be twice as much as the salary of a postdoctoral fellow who is doing research for a University. "So you'd end up paying a foreign postdoctoral fellow not only more than a US postdoctoral fellow, but you would also end up paying the postdoctoral fellow who is not a professor more than an assistant professor, more than an associate professor, and in most cases more than a full professor as well," Morse said. He added that the case the government is basing the prevailing wage on has nothing to do with either research or universities, but that it actually had to do domestic child care. "The Labor Department appears to be extrapolating from that and telling the regional administrators that they have to apply these rules to everyone in terms of making distinctions between US and non-US nationals," he said. Morse said the University has had several conversations with the Labor Department, both separately and in conjunction with other major universities and organizations. "The Labor Department has asked us to come up with a set of functions that distinguish between industry-based and university-based research people, namely postdoctorate fellows," he said. Morse said some of these distinctions include the fact that postdoctorate fellows do not teach, they need greater supervision and that "these are still relatively junior people." He added that the University is currently attempting to work out a system with which it can demonstrate these distinctions. "It is unreasonable and will cause enormous hardship," Morse said. "And it would have a terribly skewed effect in terms of salaries of comparable postdoctorate fellows from the US doing the same work and faculty members as well."


FOCUS: Rodin and Chodorow: Year One

(07/06/95 9:00am)

When Stanley Chodorow met Judith Rodin last April, he was pleased to discover that they had a similar set of goals for the future of the University. "We had a lot in common, but were not exactly alike," he said. "In a way, we complimented each other in our differences. And one year later, both Provost Chodorow and University President Rodin feel that they have been a productive team. "I think in terms of the goals that we set for our administrative team in the first year, we have moved forward on many of them," Rodin said. The first goal they set out to achieve was to implement the recommendations of the Commission on Strengthening the Community, a project launched by the previous administration aiming to improve many aspects of University life. The Commission's report, which was released last April, included recommendations on housing Greek life and relations between faculty, students and staff. Rodin said that most of the Commission's 60 recommendations had been put in place by January. "We felt very strongly that the work that was begin last year was important and that it galvanized the interest and intention of faculty and students and staff in a very significant way," she said. Rodin added that the administration took this project so seriously because they felt they could make a "bigger and stronger Penn" by implementing as many of the Commission's suggestions as possible. The first project that the Rodin-Chodorow administration initiated on its own was the Provost Council on Undergraduate Education's creation of a model for the 21st Century Undergraduate Experience. Chaired by Chodorow, PCUE -- comprised of nine subcommittees of students, faculty and staff -- released phase one of its proposal in May. Phase two will organize and monitor the progress of the present committees. "The 21st Century project for the undergraduate experience is at full steam," University spokesperson Barbara Beck said. "Indeed, some projects will begin on a pilot basis next year." Chodorow explained that one of PCUE's objectives is to create an environment that prepares students for success, in addition to making the University a more comfortable, fun and effective place for students. "We want students to look back two years down, five years down, 12 years down, 30 years down and say, 'I am what I am because Penn really made a contribution to my being, and God was that fun,'" he said. Following the shocking off-campus murder of Al-Moez Alimohamed in August, the University went to work to increase the level of safety on and off campus. Rodin said the University has also been concerned with improving its relations with the immediate community. In February, Rodin unveiled a master safety plan for the University, designed to increase security both on and off campus. The plan included the construction of five security kiosks placed at strategic points running through the center of campus and heavily travelled off-campus streets, creating a series of Community Walks. The new administration also tried to keep student charges as low as possible for the upcoming year. And they were successful -- the University experienced the lowest percentage increase tuition and room and board in 20 years, as well as the lowest increase in the Ivy League. "We wanted to signal to students and to the families that we do understand that the costs of higher education have been escalating enormously, and that we intend to do our part at Penn to manage our resources well and to think seriously when we raise rates about what it means to the families," Rodin said. Rodin was also responsible for establishing a new leadership team this year, which included Coopers & Lybrand partner John Fry as executive vice president -- the University's top financial officer. And former Food and Drug Administrations Deputy Commissioner for External Affairs Carol Scheman was hired as vice president for government, community and public affairs -- a position created to link the University with federal, state and local governments. "I am extremely pleased with the outcome and with the commitment of the new team to Penn and where it is going," Rodin said. Along with a new team came a new approach to many old issues -- not the least of which was the idea of a student center. In January, Rodin and Chodorow scrapped year-old blueprints for the Revlon Center, which had been in the works since 1988. They replaced this with the Perelman Quadrangle, for which construction should begin in December. The project will renovate and restore Irvine Auditorium and Logan, Williams and Houston halls in order to create student offices, meeting rooms, eating and lounge areas, rehearsal and gallery space and an auditorium with variable seating arrangements. The announcement of this new center originally came a shock to many student groups that had been promised space under the Revlon Center plan. But the project has gained substantial support from members of the University community. In April, University Trustee and alumnus Ronald Perelman pledged a record $20 million to the new center, doubling his original pledge to the Revlon concept. And last month, University Trustee and alumnus Stephen Wynn committed $7.5 million to the project. Added to the $2.5 million from class gifts given during Alumni Week, the University has already raised nearly half of the $69 million cost. "In just 10 months, President Rodin has attracted several of the largest charitable gifts ever made to the University," Beck said. "And she managed to be enough of a presence on campus so that deans, faculty, students and employees are incredibly enthusiastic about her leadership." In November, Rodin was named to an independent committee to analyze security and safety at the White House. She also worked with two Keystone subcommittees, as a member of an advisory board composed of civic leaders from across the state. Rodin, who estimated in April that she spends 15 percent of an average semester away from campus, said last week that she expects to spend about the same amount of time on the road next year. But she added that she is trying to get more control over her on-campus time. "As a personal goal for next year, I really do want to continue to meet more faculty and students and staff and spend a little less time in formal meetings," Rodin said. "I think I have been out a lot, but I would like to continue that and not think, 'well gee, I did that -- that was last year.' "I get tremendous energy and ideas from being out there and really spending time with people who are part of Penn, and I want to fashion my schedule for next year in a way that continues to allow me to do that," she added. Chodorow set a similar personal goal for next year. "At mid-year, I started this program of meeting with students on a regular basis, and it worked well both for me to understand the students and for the students to understand me," he said. "And a lot of students tell me, 'you know, you are not such a bad guy.' "But I had a much harder time, and I am going to take much more time this year, getting to know the faculty," Chodorow added. Chodorow's relationship with students got off to a rocky start early in his term, when he was quoted in The Daily Pennsylvanian as saying, "The problem with student participation is that many of them don't have much time. It's not as if students are the best organized people in the world." This angered many student leaders. He admitted last week that one of the things he had to adjust to this year was the different traditions of participation and the decision-making processes adhered to by the University and University of California at San Diego, where he had been chancellor. "I didn't really know what to expect coming to a new institution," he said. "I didn't have a lot of preconceived notions, although naturally you expect things to be like what you know, and Penn is very different from UCSD." Chodorow added that he found his regular meetings with students in the spring to be "tremendously useful." "The character of someone who comes to Penn needs to be understood by someone like me," he said. And College senior and Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Lance Rogers said that although he has not had the opportunity to work closely with the provost, he respects that Chodorow keeps an open mind. "If Provost Chodorow is set on doing something and someone comes forward, no matter who that someone is, and presents a logical argument, he will listen to that person, and in some cases even change his mind," Rogers said. Chodorow said his thoughts on undergraduate education evolved as he learned more about the University's traditions. "In the time that we worked on PCUE, I did learn the traditions and my expectations and my notion of how Penn does its undergraduate education ? changed quite a lot," he said. "It became about Penn, not about what I knew from this other institution. "And that happened in lots and lots of areas where Penn is organized so differently," Chodorow added. In particular, he discovered that the University's leadership is different from what he was used to. "Judy Rodin is a leader of a sort you come across very rarely," Chodorow said. "She has ferocious intelligence and determination to get things done that you rarely see." Another aspect of the University that surprised him was that "Penn is a place where you can actually get things done." He contrasted the University to UCSD, where every process has a procedure and everything is pinned down. "And in that kind of environment, even with the kind of drive Judy has, it takes longer," Chodorow said. "It is a very formal process. "Here, leadership has more room to move and things can happen more quickly," he added. "And Judith is exactly the right person to take advantage of that." Chodorow said he was also impressed by how much the administration was able to get done in a one year period. "Me and Judy changed the way we do our capital planning," he said. "I can't tell you how long that would take and how much consultations with state agencies that would require at UCSD. "But we were able to create a new process this year, and next year we will use that process which will make our capital projects more rational," Chodorow added. "When you think about the fact that I had to spend the first six months figuring out what the place was like before I was in a position to do something, we accomplished an enormous amount." He said that ever since the first time he came to visit the University, he has recognized the University as an institution ready for a sudden and drastic improvement. "At that point we were just coming from a billion dollar campaign, we had spectacular new resources and new energy," he said. "The little engine that could became a pretty good sized engine that could. "There was spirit, and you want to pick up on that," Chodorow added. "You don't want to pick an institution out of the gutter, you want to join it as it's starting to trot. And this institution was already at a good trot." He added that the other thing he noticed was that faculty and students "absolutely loved this place." "I thought this was a lovable institution, and I wanted to be at a lovable institution," he said. Chodorow said his goal is to make the University even more lovable. "So faculty and staff and students don't have to say, 'I love this place but?,'" he said. "They can just say 'I love this place.'" Rodin had a different feeling when she visited the campus last year because she was coming home, both to the University and to Philadelphia. She feels that her status as an alumna is an advantage for the University. "I believe and hope that it is true that it has helped me to relate to the students very well, particularly the undergraduates, because I was an undergraduate here and really do remember what it felt like," she said. And Rogers said the University was "lucky to get someone who was familiar with Penn and its traditions." Rodin said she has also been impressed by the warm feeling that people have for the University. "One of the most striking things to me is how many undergraduates stop me on campus and tell me how happy they are," she said. "And that never happened to me at Yale, and maybe I was just the provost so they didn't feel that they needed to tell the provost, but it is wonderful. It really is." Beck said Rodin is "well underway to building an efficient, well-run institution that is prospering during a time when many other universities are failing." "Time and time again this year, President Rodin demonstrated that good leadership includes teaching and learning, building relationships and influencing people, as opposed to exercising one's power," she said. Philadelphia Mayor and University alumnus Ed Rendell said Rodin has "injected new energy into Penn." "She's a great symbolic leader," he said. "But it is too early to tell whether she will make substantial changes."


College dean focuses first year on students

(07/06/95 9:00am)

Robert Rescorla had big plans for undergraduate education when he became College of Arts and Sciences dean a year ago. He was especially interested in providing research opportunities to all undergraduates. "It seems to me that this is one of the greatest contributions that a research institution can make to its undergraduates," Rescorla said. Along with the deans of the three other undergraduate schools, he sat on the 21st Century committee, which focused on improving undergraduate education. He also chaired the Research Experience subcommittee. And he was pleased to report that his strong interest in research was able to be included as an important part of the resulting recommendations. He said he has also been trying to reward individual students, adding that the College Alumni Society funded eight student research projects this year. And this year's 25th reunion class gift goal went towards financing a research project, he said. "This came about as a result of discussions with alumni and their seeing the importance of undergraduate research," Rescorla said. And funds from the Pew Foundation have allowed his office to support a "wide range of educational initiatives," including ongoing assistance to the restructuring of the calculus curriculum around Maple and supporting many electronic innovations for the English Department. The money has also been put towards the development of many individual courses, such as research experience courses in economics and psychology. And it has been used to reconsider how some of our chemistry courses are taught and to develop a new way of teaching Hebrew. "It is very important that we be able to support the creative efforts of our faculty in developing new courses and teaching opportunities," he said. Rescorla also appointed a committee concerned with students' mathematical ability, as well as their analytical skills. The committee is chaired by Psychology Professor Paul Rozin. "My own belief is that they are going to find some shocking deficiencies," Rescorla said. He has also strived to increase respect for good teaching. In February his department awarded the first Kennedy Chair for excellence in good teaching to Undergraduate Mathematics Chair Dennis DeTurck. And in May the College Alumni Society presented Religious Studies Chair Ann Matter with the first Outstanding Teaching Award. In perhaps the most ambitious attempt to recognize excellent teaching Rescorla recognized the top 50 instructors, based on Penn Course Review ratings. He then wrote them personal thank-you letters. "Often you feel like nobody notices," he explained. Rescorla said he feels that all of these initiatives are paying off. "I think it is really happening," he said. "I think people are now paying much more attention to teaching." He said a large part of his job is overseeing the department, which includes the College Advising Office. "I hadn't appreciated that I was inheriting such a large staff," he said. "The number of things that just happen in this office that I don't have to make happen is amazing. "All of the people really care about undergraduates," Rescorla added. "In a way, it is kind of awe-inspiring to be a part of it." He said he was worried that when he gave up his position as chair of the Psychology Department, he would become out of touch with "what the University is about." "I was concerned that I wasn't going to have much contact with students," he said. But Rescorla went out of his way to insure that this was not the case. He said he found it useful to hold a lunch in a different dining facility every Friday, during which he was accessible to students who wanted to talk with him. And he also maintained his in-the-classroom contact with students by teaching a course in the spring. He also worked to improve communication with parents by personally writing letters telling them what is going on on campus. "It's been an historic problem that parents don't feel like participants," he explained. School of Arts and Sciences Dean Rosemary Stevens said Rescorla has an enthusiastic commitment to undergraduate education, which shows in everything he does. "I just think he is superb, and Penn is very fortunate to have him in this position," she said.


FOCUS: Rodin and Chodorow: Year One

(07/06/95 9:00am)

When Stanley Chodorow met Judith Rodin last April, he was pleased to discover that they had a similar set of goals for the future of the University. "We had a lot in common, but were not exactly alike," he said. "In a way, we complemented each other in our differences." And one year later, both Provost Chodorow and University President Rodin feel that they have been a productive team. "I think in terms of the goals that we set for our administrative team in the first year, we have moved forward on many of them," Rodin said. Their first goal was to implement the recommendations of the Commission on Strengthening the Community, a project launched by the previous administration aiming to improve many aspects of University life. The Commission's report, which was released last April, includes recommendations on housing, Greek life and relations between faculty, students and staff. Rodin said that most of the Commission's 60 recommendations had been put in place by January. She said the administration directed a lot of energy into this project because they felt they could make a "bigger and stronger Penn" by implementing as many of the Commission's suggestions as possible. The first project that the Rodin-Chodorow administration initiated on its own was the Provost's Council on Undergraduate Education's creation of a model for the 21st Century Undergraduate Experience. PCUE -- chaired by Chodorow and comprised of nine subcommittees of students, faculty and staff -- released phase one of its proposal in May. Phase two will organize and monitor the progress of the present committees. Chodorow said one of PCUE's objectives is to create an environment that prepares students for success, while at the same time making the University a more comfortable and fun place for students. "We want students to look back two years down, five years down, 12 years down, 30 years down and say, 'I am what I am because Penn really made a contribution to my being, and God, was that fun,' " he said. Following the shocking off-campus murder of Al-Moez Alimohamed in August, the University went to work to increase the level of safety on and off campus. Rodin said the University has also been concerned with improving its relations with the immediate community. In February, Rodin unveiled a master safety plan for the University, designed to increase security both on and off campus. The plan included the construction of five security kiosks placed at strategic points running through the center of campus and heavily travelled off-campus streets, creating a series of Community Walks. The new administration has also tried to keep student charges as low as possible for the upcoming year. And they were successful -- the University experienced the lowest percentage increase tuition and room and board in 20 years, as well as the lowest increase in the Ivy League. Rodin was also responsible for establishing a new leadership team this year, which included Coopers & Lybrand partner John Fry as executive vice president -- the University's top financial officer. And former Food and Drug Administrations Deputy Commissioner for External Affairs Carol Scheman was hired as vice president for government, community and public affairs -- a position created to link the University with federal, state and local governments. "I am extremely pleased with the outcome and with the commitment of the new team to Penn and where it is going," Rodin said. Along with a new team came a new approach to many old issues -- not the least of which was the idea of a student center. In January, Rodin and Chodorow scrapped year-old blueprints for the Revlon Center, which had been in the works since 1988. They replaced this with the Perelman Quadrangle, for which construction is slated to begin in December. The project will renovate and restore Irvine Auditorium and Logan, Williams and Houston halls in order to create student offices, meeting rooms, eating and lounge areas, rehearsal and gallery space and an auditorium with variable seating arrangements. The announcement of this new center originally came as a shock to many student groups that had been promised space under the Revlon Center plan. But the project has gained substantial support from members of the University community. In April, University Trustee and alumnus Ronald Perelman pledged a record $20 million to the new center, doubling his original pledge to the Revlon concept. And last month, University Trustee and alumnus Stephen Wynn committed $7.5 million to the project. Added to the $2.5 million from class gifts given during Alumni Week, the University has already raised nearly half of the $69 million cost. "In just 10 months, President Rodin has attracted several of the largest charitable gifts ever made to the University," University spokesperson Barbara Beck said. In November, Rodin was named to an independent committee to analyze security and safety at the White House. She also worked with two Keystone subcommittees, as a member of an advisory board composed of civic leaders from across the state. Rodin, who estimated in April that she spends 15 percent of an average semester away from campus, said last week that she expects to spend about the same amount of time on the road next year. But she added that she is trying to get more control over her on-campus time. "As a personal goal for next year, I really do want to continue to meet more faculty and students and staff and spend a little less time in formal meetings," Rodin said. "I get tremendous energy and ideas from being out there and really spending time with people who are part of Penn, and I want to fashion my schedule for next year in a way that continues to allow me to do that." Chodorow set a similar personal goal for next year. "At mid-year, I started this program of meeting with students on a regular basis, and it worked well both for me to understand the students and for the students to understand me," he said. "And a lot of students tell me, 'You know, you are not such a bad guy.' "But I had a much harder time -- and I am going to take much more time this year -- getting to know the faculty," Chodorow added. Chodorow's relationship with students got off to a rocky start early in his term, when he was quoted in The Daily Pennsylvanian as saying, "The problem with student participation is that many of them don't have much time. It's not as if students are the best organized people in the world." This angered many student leaders. He admitted last week that one of the things he had to adjust to this year was the different traditions of student participation in the decision-making processes at the University and the University of California at San Diego, where he had been chancellor. "I didn't have a lot of preconceived notions, although naturally you expect things to be like what you know, and Penn is very different from UCSD," he said. College senior and Undergraduate Assembly Chairperson Lance Rogers said that although he has not had the opportunity to work closely with the provost, he respects Chodorow for keeping an open mind. "If Provost Chodorow is set on doing something and someone comes forward, no matter who that someone is, and presents a logical argument, he will listen to that person, and in some cases even change his mind," Rogers said. Chodorow said his thoughts on undergraduate education evolved as he learned more about the University's traditions. "In the time that we worked on PCUE, I did learn the traditions and my expectations and my notion of how Penn does its undergraduate education?changed quite a lot," he said. "It became about Penn, not about what I knew from this other institution. And that happened in lots and lots of areas where Penn is organized so differently." Chodorow said he was impressed by how much the administration was able to get done in a one year period. "Me and Judy changed the way we do our capital planning," he said. "I can't tell you how long that would take and how much consultations with state agencies that would require at UCSD. "But we were able to create a new process this year, and next year we will use that process which will make our capital projects more rational," Chodorow added. "When you think about the fact that I had to spend the first six months figuring out what the place was like before I was in a position to do something, we accomplished an enormous amount." He said that ever since the first time he came to visit the University, he has recognized the University as an institution ready for a sudden and drastic improvement. "At that point we were just coming from a billion dollar campaign, we had spectacular new resources and new energy," he said. "The 'little engine that could' became a pretty good sized engine that could. "There was spirit, and you want to pick up on that," Chodorow added. "You don't want to pick an institution out of the gutter, you want to join it as it's starting to trot. And this institution was already at a good trot." He added that the other thing he noticed was that faculty and students "absolutely loved this place." "I thought this was a lovable institution, and I wanted to be at a lovable institution," Chodorow said. And he is intent on making the University even more lovable. "So faculty and staff and students don't have to say, 'I love this place but?,' " he said. "They can just say 'I love this place.' " Rodin had a different feeling when she visited the campus last year because she was coming home, both to the University and to Philadelphia. She feels that her status as an alumna is an advantage for the University. Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, a University alumnus who knew Rodin while she was a student at the University, said that Rodin has "injected new energy into Penn." "She's a great symbolic leader," he said. "But it is too early to tell whether she will make substantial changes."


Students, faculty question tenure process at U.

(06/30/95 9:00am)

Jericho High School '93 Jericho, N.Y. A School of Arts and Sciences Personnel Committee voted in March to deny tenure to popular English Professor Gregg Camfield, shocking many members of the University community. "I did absolutely everything I was supposed to do and to have this happen is quite surprising," Camfield said after hearing of the decision. And many students and English professors -- including Department Chairperson John Richetti -- said they were upset by what they saw as a great injustice. According to Richetti, the requirements for tenure are research, scholarship and service, all of which Camfield said he had fulfilled. Last May, he received the English Undergraduate Advisory Board's (UAB) first annual teaching award. He has also published one book and has a second under contract. And Camfield served on the College's writing committee which helped institute the writing requirement. Undergraduate English Chairperson Al Filreis described Camfield as "just the sort of faculty member we need to retain." He explained that Camfield is especially popular among his students, as he regularly receives perfect 4.0 evaluations in the Penn Course Review. Many members of the English UAB who have had Camfield as a professor said they were extremely disappointed at hearing the news of his rejection. "Outraged doesn't even begin to cover it," said College senior Liz Fekete. "Gregg Camfield is one of the best teachers at this University and I think that fact is uncontestable." She added that she feels the administration acted in a hypocritical fashion. "Maybe I was wrong to believe that University [administrators] meant what they said when they said they were going to support teaching and undergraduate education," Fekete said. "But they have proven by this case that they didn't mean a word they said." The English UAB organized a letter writing campaign in support of Camfield within days of the decision. These letters were directed at SAS Dean Rosemary Stevens, College Dean Robert Rescorla and Provost Stanley Chodorow. The group also wrote up a petition protesting the decision. English UAB member and College senior Michelle Falkoff said the student protest was also against the tenure system itself, which was the subject of much debate this year. Several weeks before Camfield's rejection, Assistant Geology Professor George Boyajian was also refused a permanent position at the University by the same Personnel Committee. However, despite his immense popularity among students, and the fact that he had the unanimous support from his department during his evaluation, Boyajian said at the time that he was not terribly surprised by the Committee's decision. "I have felt from day one that tenure was a crap shoot," he said. "Some people that deserve it probably don't get it -- some people who get it don't deserve it." And in February, the Committee denied full professorship to Associate English Professor Vicki Mahaffey, who is also the graduate chairperson of the English department. More than 40 members of the University community joined together in a demonstration against that decision in front of Van Pelt Library.


Freshmen to read play for project

(06/30/95 9:00am)

Jericho High School '93 Jericho, N.Y. According to Academic Programs in Residence Director Christopher Dennis, the text was chosen because of the wide range of topics it addresses. Dennis described Arcadia as "a play about the intersection of two groups of people separated in time by almost two centuries, but connected by blood, culture, science, mathematics, literature and even landscape into a common human situation." "It is a very fresh, very compelling text and one that I think our new students will find lively and interesting," he said. He added that the play is similar to some of the works chosen for the project in previous years. "Like Einstein's Dreams, it combines sort of a good vibrant narrative with some interesting approaches of science and issues of the time," he said. The book was chosen from a pool of approximately 200 works. William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Albert Camus' The Stranger and Charles Dickens' Hard Times were among the works that made the final cut. The Residential Faculty Council formed the core of the project's planning group, according to Dennis. There were also two student representatives from the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education involved in the decision. "The group met and narrowed selections," Dennis said. "And finally we got a book that we thought offered a lot of different attractions ? to people of many different disciplines." Arcadia was published two years ago, and was first produced in London. Dennis said the play "is widely identified as the most important work of one of the world's most distinguished living dramatic artists." The Penn Reading Project was introduced four years ago as an intellectual gateway for incoming students to the University. It is intended to introduce students to faculty members and each other. Previously years have featured such texts as Bacchae and Frankenstein. A copy of Arcadia will be sent to every incoming freshman. These students will be involved in discussion sessions with faculty members on September 3.


U. admits 4,960 students into Class of 1999

(06/30/95 9:00am)

2,427 students have enrolled Jericho High School '93 Jericho, N.Y. Only 33 percent of high school applicants were accepted to the University this year, making it one of the most selective classes in recent history, according to Admissions Dean Lee Stetson. Of these, 2,427 students enrolled in the Class of 1999. But Stetson said he expects to lose approximately 100 students before September. He said students typically withdraw for three reasons-- getting taken off of waitlists at other schools, being unable to meet the financial commitment or because they want to take a year off. Regular decision applicants were accepted at a rate of 25 percent, compared to 32 percent last year. Out of the 15,050 applicants, 4,960 students were admitted, Stetson said. "This was the most challenging selection in my tenure of almost 18 years," he added. The number of admitted students climbed 25 over last year's 4,935 accepted students. The average combined Scholastic Aptitude Test score for the enrolled group was 1286 -- 686 in math and 600 in verbal. This total is 11 points higher than last year's class. The average achievement test score was up eight points to 637. And the average applicant ranked in the top three percent of his class versus four percent last year. At least one student from every state was admitted to the University, Stetson said. This includes one from Wyoming, two from both North and South Dakota and three from Montana --the states most at risk of under-representation. Despite the University's efforts, no students enrolled from either North or South Dakota, Montana or Idaho. But four students enrolled from Utah, and nine from Nevada. There will be 217 international students in the Class of 1999. This is up 46 from last year's figure. Of the students admitted, 3,256 were accepted into the College of Arts and Sciences. And 1,505 of these students sent in positive replies. Stetson projected that 1,480 of these students will enroll. Wharton accepted 607 students--up from 571 last year. Stetson attributed this increase to a stronger academic pool, making it necessary to accept more students in order to yield 380 matriculants. There were 425 students enrolled in May. The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences accepted 1,047 applicants up from 1,020 last year. Stetson said he would like to see between 360 and 380 enroll. While 419 of these students accepted, Stetson said he expects to lose some of these students to waitlists. The Nursing School, which suffered a 25 percent decrease in applications this year, accepted 108 of its applicants. Only eight of these were male. Stetson said 78 of these students have enrolled. There were 120 students accepted to the Management and Technology program, and 51 into the International Studies programs. Women will make up 49 percent of the class. Stetson said this number is equivalent to last year's, adding that in the past it has been 43 percent. The number of minorities accepted to the University dropped this year from last year's 1,911 to 1,864 -- making up 37 percent of the admitted students. Of these, 804 enrolled-- which is up from 794. While the number of enrolled black students was down nine to 145, Stetson said he expects this figure to increase by the fall due to continued recruiting efforts. The number of Asian Americans was up 12 to 524 and the number of Hispanic students increased by seven to 130. The University enrolled 120 students from Philadelphia high schools. This number is up from last year's 107.


Chaplain Johnson to retire; no replacement named yet

(06/29/95 9:00am)

The University will lose one of its greatest sources of support tomorrow, when Chaplain Stanley Johnson retires after 34 years of service. And the position will never be the same again. When Johnson announced his retirement in March, University President Judith Rodin and Provost Stanley Chodorow set up a committee to evaluate the role of a chaplain at a modern university. The committee, which was chaired by Social Work Professor Jane Lowe, included Barbara Cassel, the assistant vice provost for University life, Reverend Ralph Ciampa, the Pastoral Care director of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and Assistant to the Provost Linda Koons. Lowe said the group interviewed leaders of Hillel, the Newman Center and the Christian Association, as well as students and faculty. "There was a general consensus that the office of chaplain should continue and that there should be a search undertaken at some point for a new chaplain," she said. The committee recommended the position be maintained and expanded to include work with all of the various campus ministries and groups, Lowe added. "The bottom line is that the position should remain and be expanded to encourage inter-religious and intercultural dialogue," she said. The group submitted its proposal in April, but Chodorow said he and Rodin have not yet decided what the future is for the chaplain's office. And Rodin said they have not even set up a committee to search for a replacement for Johnson. "It's a two-phase project," she explained. "We have the report and we will be moving to appoint a search committee." But Chodorow said it is not unusual for the University to be without a chaplain for the summer. "Reverend Johnson has always spent the summer on Nantucket," he said. Rodin confirmed that there will be an acting chaplain appointed, in accordance with the committee's recommendation. "We've had several volunteers," she said. "There are several people who think they'd really love to do it. "Chaplain Johnson has set a wonderful model and I think a lot of people think it would be a great job as an interim position," she added. Johnson was hired in 1961. During his tenure at the University, Johnson has served primarily as a counselor, spearheading programs for students with questions about their sexuality and dealing with women's issues. The programs are now independent agencies. Johnson also served as dean of admissions from October 1974 until 1977. He said in March that he will be spending his free time traveling, volunteering and pursuing various hobbies.


New Era trustee replaced by U. Law School grad

(06/29/95 9:00am)

The University's involvement with the Foundation for New Era Philanthropy case has just become even more complex. The group's creditors held their first meeting on Monday, during which they voted to reject interim bankruptcy trustee John Carroll III, and replace him with former federal Judge and University Law School Graduate Arlin Adams. Adams is also a trustee emeritus of the University, an honorary title given to the most distinguished Trustees upon their retirement from the Board. But although some of the creditors raised the question of conflict of interest during the election because of his potentially biasing ties to the University, University Spokesperson Barbara Beck said there is nothing to be concerned about. "Judge Adams is a man of sterling character," she said. "He is a trustee emeritus -- an honorary designation so he does not vote and he does not chair committees." And to avoid any unnecessary controversy, Adams announced at the elections that he would resign from his position as trustee emeritus trustee if he were selected. Last week, Carroll released calculations which showed the University making $2.1 million from New Era. These figures were in direct contrast with the $1.55 million loss that University officials had originally projected. The $1.55 million figure represents the amount of money the University invested in New Era. But University officials will not be able to confirm or deny this gain until it completes its own investigation, which is being conducted by Coopers & Lybrand. University spokesperson Phyllis Holtzman said last week that the firm will be investigating two major issues. "They are going to look at the University's procedures that led to this involvement with New Era," she said. "And they are also looking at this whole money issue to try and figure out what the different funds represent." Along with his bankruptcy figures, Carroll also submitted a set of rules requiring organizations that made money from New Era to return some or all of their gains to help offset charities that were devastated. But it is possible that these rules will not remain under Adam's leadership. "We do not know if there will be changes in procedures," Beck said. "We will have to wait to see who the new trustee will be. "Once a permanent trustee is appointed, he or she will decide," she explained. New Era, which is based in Radnor, Pa., with offices in London and Hong Kong, promoted itself as an innovative new charity capable of doubling nonprofit institutions' money by soliciting matching funds from a pool of anonymous wealthy donors, who supposedly relied on the charity to find worthy causes. Along with the University, hundreds of nonprofit organizations deposited their money with New Era, which said it would hold the funds for six months in brokerage accounts -- rather than in escrow -- and claimed to be investing it in certificates of deposit or treasury bills while finding matching donors. But John Bennett Jr., the charity's president, admitted to his staff last month that the anonymous donors did not really exist.


Watcher to become deputy provost

(06/29/95 9:00am)

Law and Economics Professor Michael Wachter will take office as deputy provost Saturday, replacing Physics Professor Walter Wales, who served in the position for almost three years. Wachter has been the director of the Center for Law and Economics since 1984, and holds a faculty post in the law school. He was selected for the deputy provost position in March. In the past, the deputy provost has been responsible for all faculty matters -- including appointments, grievances, benefits, promotions and overseeing tenure cases. He would also act for the provost in his absence. But Provost Stanley Chodorow said in March that Wachter's position is going to have less of a focus on personnel issues. Instead, Chodorow said Wachter will be using his new position to focus on academic planning. "He will work with me to set the agenda for the Academic Planning and Budget Committee and work with the deans on the review of academic programs -- an essential element of academic planning," he said. Chodorow added that Wachter will be at the center of all strategic planning and institutional research in the provost's office. "It will be through Wachter that the continuing process of planning the new undergraduate experience will connect to the broader issues of academic planning," he said. And he said he will be relying on Wachter for advice on "a wide variety of issues that fall within my responsibility." Chodorow added that he plans to create a new position in the provost's office to handle personnel, police and faculty members' individual issues. Wales announced his intention to step down effective December 31, 1994 last April. But he agreed not to vacate the post until the deputy provost search committee, headed by History Professor Richard Dunn, completed its work. Wachter has been at the University since 1969. He was a faculty assistant to former President Martin Meyerson in the early 1970s. He was involved implementing the University's current budgeting system. And after returning full-time to the faculty, he served on the Academic Planning and Budget Committee for many years. "He earned a reputation for deep knowledge of the University and for sound judgement," Chodorow said. Wachter was unavailable for comment.


Scott Reikofski named acting director of fraternity and sorority affairs

(06/29/95 9:00am)

Scott Reikofski, the Assistant Director of Student Life Activities and Facilities, has been appointed as acting Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs for a one year period, starting Saturday. Reikofski is replacing Tricia Phaup, who announced earlier this month that she is leaving the University in order to pursue another job offer. The University will be appointing an interim person to take over Reikofski's responsibilities in the Department of Student Life, according to Associate Vice Provost for University Life Larry Moneta. "That job works with the Senior Class Board on a lot of events, so it is really important," he said. Before coming to the University two years ago, Reikofski had "a strong background in student group advising and the fraternity and sorority world," Moneta said. He added that Reikofski is committed to the issues that Tricia Phaup was involved in. "It is really helpful that he was able to step in," Moneta said. "I hope that he will be able to sustain all of the really good things that Tricia started while we take the time to contemplate the future." And Reikofski said he feels "really good" about being appointed to this position. "I guess I look at it as a vote of confidence at what I was able to do here," he said. "I was kind of flattered that they knew I had a fraternity background and that I might be interested." Acting Vice Provost for University Life Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum said she is "absolutely delighted that Scott has agreed to begin working as the acting OFSA director." "He is very very knowledgeable about the fraternity and sorority system at Penn," she said. "He will bring an enormous enthusiasm to the position and I believe he will be a terrific partner to the program." McCoullum added that Reikofski will have three primary areas of responsibility, serving as the University's liaison to the BiCultural InterGreek Council, the InterFraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council, to alumni of the Greek system and to all students on campus. Reikofski said he wants to continue the relationships that Phaup built up during her tenure at the University. But he added that he wants to work on the degree of segmentation with the Big C, the IFC and Panhel. "I want to see them continue to grow together and come together as a system, but still maintain them in recognizing their structural differences and the different needs that they have," he said. He added that he would be interested in taking on this job as a permanent position. "This was the first job that I have had in higher education that did not include fraternities," Reikofski said. "It will be nice to get back to that. "I see this as a chance to step up to a director's level at the University and sort of audition for the part," he added. But Moneta said his department has not even begun to think about who the permanent director will be. "We are going to await the continued efforts for the University's long range direction for undergraduate education before doing anything," he said. "We want to make sure that what we bring in is really consistent with all of their undergraduate initiatives."


Perelman revealed as Better America Foundation's top donor

(06/29/95 9:00am)

University Trustee Ronald Perelman broke all records in April when he committed an unprecedented $20 million to the University for the construction of a student center that will bear his name. But he is not only the University's biggest supporter -- he is also Senator Bob Dole's. Perelman has been listed as the top contributor to Dole's Better America Foundation. Dole (R-Kan), who received $250,000 from the University alumnus, announced two weeks ago that he shut down the foundation at the end of the month. He had been accused of indirectly using the funds towards his presidential bid. The foundation was created in 1993 as a nonprofit organization that would serve as a think-tank for Republican causes. And last week, Dole was forced to released the names of the 131 donors who contributed approximately $4.9 million to the foundation. And Perelman tops the list with a $250,000 gift. The fact that Perelman, a longtime supporter of the University, has offered such a substantial contribution to a candidate whose proposed balanced budget contains such severe educational cuts, has puzzled some observers. Not only does Dole advocate drastically cutting the amount of government funding to education, but he also attacks both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. University officials have in the past decried the elimination of any of these programs. But Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs Carol Scheman denied this week that Perelman's investment in Dole's foundation creates a conflict of interest to the University. And University President Judith Rodin declined comment on the issue. This is not the first time Perelman has substantially backed a political candidate, but most of his donations have been to the Democratic party. In 1988, he donated $100,000 to former New York Governor Mario Cuomo's gubernatorial race. However this gift violated the $25,000-a-year limit on political contributions, and Perelman was forced to agree to pay several thousand dollars in civil penalties five years later. Perelman repeated his support of Cuomo in the 1994 New York gubernatorial race, this time donating $91,000 -- the largest contribution of the campaign. This time the gift was legal because the money went towards a "soft money" account, so that the funds could be directed towards administrative expenses or passed along to state parties, but not used directly for the campaign. Perelman also was one of the top donators to President Bill Clinton's campaign in 1992, offering a substantial donation of $170,000. But in 1988, Perelman seemed to be slightly ambivalent as to which party to support in the election, because he gave donations of more than $100,000 to both Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis and former President George Bush.


Alumnus contributes $7.5 million towards Perelman Quadrangle

(06/22/95 9:00am)

Main walkway to named Wynn Commons University Trustee and alumnus Stephen Wynn has committed $7.5 million to the Perelman Quadrangle, according to University President Judith Rodin. And with this gift, the University is halfway to completing the full expense of the project, she said. "We have $20 million from Mr. Perelman and $7.5 million from Mr. Wynn and $2.5 million from class gifts that we got from the last alumni week grouping," she added. "So we already have $30 million towards the project and we have literally just announced it." Wynn, who graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in English Literature in 1963, is Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mirage Resorts Inc. -- one of the nation's largest casino companies. He has been credited with being the first to bring entertainment to gambling, making Las Vegas a place for the whole family to enjoy. Wynn donated the money to help with the construction of the common area that lies between Irvine Auditorium and Logan, Williams and Houston Halls. This area will be named Wynn Commons. The project involves the renovation and restoration of the four buildings to create student offices, meeting rooms, eating and lounge areas, rehearsal and gallery space and an auditorium with variable seating arrangements. Rodin said Wynn expressed interest in the Perelman Quad early in its planning stages. "When we first presented the potential Perelman Quad project to the Trustees in January, Steve got very excited by the project and asked me to alert him in how we were doing," she said. She added that while she has known about Wynn's intention to donate this money for a while, she waited to announce the gift until the Trustees met Thursday morning. Rodin said Wynn is very committed to the concept of a main street where people can congregate. "As somebody whose business is spaces where people meet and come together and engage in a variety of activities, I think he realized the power of this space," she added. "And we are very grateful for that." Wynn serves on the University Trustees' Budget and Finance and External Affairs Committees. And his wife Elaine is a member of the Board of Overseers of the University's Graduate School of Education. Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Virginia Clark said Wynn has contributed to several University fund-raising programs in the past, but that this is his largest gift to date. "He thinks the project is terrific," she said. "He is very supportive in our plans?and wanted to be helpful in making it come to fruition." Rodin said she hopes to have a few more major gifts towards the Perelman Quad by the end of the summer. The total price of the project is now estimated at $69 million, and $9 million in deferred maintenance funding has already been allocated and used for the repair of Logan Hall's exterior. Construction of the student center is expected to take 36 months. Rodin said she hopes the project will start this fall.


University goes all out to get a 'hot school' image

(06/22/95 9:00am)

If image is everything, then the University is on its way to having it all. "The sense is that Penn is a University whose time has come, and this sense is critical," University President Judith Rodin said at Thursday's External Affairs meeting with the University's Board of Trustees. And to insure that this does not change, the University has spent the last year searching for an Associate Vice President for Communications, a job Rodin described as "a unique position." She said the person selected will serve as a central spokesperson representing the University as well as serving as a key planner in the strategic policy of the University. This position has been vacant since last March, when Carol Farnsworth left the University upon being named Vice Chancellor for Communications at the University of Denver. Although the University has interviewed numerous applicants for the post, Rodin said they have yet to find the perfect candidate. Rodin said the position will be "a very welcome and needed addition to the University," although she said she believes the University's image has seen an improvement over the last year. "There is a real sense that Penn is a different place -- a place that is committed to good relationships with our neighbors both internally and externally," she said. And University Secretary Barbara Stevens agreed, saying that there has been a "solid increase in Penn's news coverage." Last year, the University ranked seventh in print news coverage of national universities, and fifth in broadcast coverage. University spokesperson Barbara Beck said this news coverage will increase dramatically with the 50th anniversary celebration of ENIAC, the world's first electronic computer, which will take place in February. So far, media ranging from Good Morning America to The New York Times have expressed a strong interest in the ENIAC celebration. "ENIAC is going to establish Penn as a leading University in the information age," Beck said. In order to further foster this relationship with the media, the University has to work on several areas -- including managing crises, communicating one message for all of the schools and increasing relevant media coverage to build public support for the University's mission, Stevens said. Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs Carol Scheman agreed that attention has to be paid to the way the University controls crises before they "blow up in the press," like with the Water Buffalo incident two years ago. Rodin suggested that the root of the problem is the lack of communication between the individual schools and departments. "We have potential crises brewing?because this is such a decentralized environment that things can go on without anybody knowing," she said. And with these changes, the University will be well on its way towards an improved public perception. Committee Chairperson and University Trustee Leonard Lauder said that as the University gets "hotter," the media will pick up more of its news. "It is easier to sell a hot lipstick than one nobody wants," he said, drawing from his experience in the cosmetic business. This analogy captured Rodin's attention, prompting her to ask him, "Should I think of myself as a hot lipstick?" But Lauder was quick to explain himself. "No, think of the University as one," he responded. "We can discuss the other later."


U. Chaplain honored; officials share goals with Trustees at stated meeting

(06/22/95 9:00am)

The University's Board of Trustees had their Stated Meeting Friday afternoon, capping two days of intense committee meetings. Trustees Chairperson Roy Vagelos started off the meeting by awarding University Chaplain Stanley Johnson with the E. Craig Sweeten Award for Distinguished Service, in honor of the 34 years he served at the University. Johnson is retiring at the end of the month. Then University President Judith Rodin addressed the Trustees, summing up the major accomplishments of the year. She was proud to announce that the University's balanced budget successfully reduced core administrative costs and that the budget experienced the lowest growth in unrestricted costs in over a decade. Rodin also told the Trustees about the completion of phase one of the Provost's Council on Undergraduate Education's 21st-century Penn Undergraduate Experience, as well as the safety initiatives that have been implemented under the Master Security Plan. Then Provost Stanley Chodorow gave an update on the status of the numerous positions the University is attempting to appoint. This was followed by a report from Admissions Dean Lee Stetson, who informed the Trustees that the University received a record number of applications this year and that it had the lowest admit rate ever at 33 percent. Medical School Dean William Kelley, who is also chief executive officer of the University Health System, said the recent merger of the University Health System and Presbyterian Medical Center and two nursing homes is "extremely important for the continued development of our teaching program." Former Trustee chairperson Alvin Shoemaker reported that the Campaign for Penn showed no sign of slowing down this year, making $175 million-- $2 million more than last year. He also announced that undergraduate financial aid is the key fund raising goal for the near future and informed the group that construction on the Perelman Quadrangle is scheduled to begin in December. And Bruce Mainwaring, Chairman of the University Museum's Board of Overseers, said the museum has embarked on a plan for a new wing. He added that renovations to Harrison Auditorium and the museum's entrance may be in store.


Calculations show U. gaining from New Era

(06/22/95 9:00am)

When the Foundation for New Era Philanthropy filed for bankruptcy last month, hundreds of organizations that invested with the group were facing a stark future. But the University may have been one of the lucky ones. According to recent calculations by Philadelphia Bankruptcy Trustee John Carroll III, the University may have actually ended up making $2.1 million from New Era. These figures are in direct contrast with the $1.5 million loss that University officials had originally projected. "The $1.5 million that we said earlier is the amount of money that the University currently has with New Era awaiting matching funds," University spokesperson Phyllis Holtzman explained. But she said the University cannot confirm the $2.1 million gain until it completes its own investigation, which is being conducted by Coopers & Lybrand. "This is what the trustee reported according to his calculations," Holtzman said. "But the University at this point can't really verify that for sure because we have our own audit going on and we really need to see how that all turns out." The firm will be investigating two major issues. "They are going to look at the University's procedures that led to this involvement with New Era," she said. "And they are also looking at this whole money issue to try figure out what the different funds represent." But even if Carroll's $2.1 million figure is accurate, the University may not have the money for long. Along with his bankruptcy figures, Carroll also released a set of rules, which might require organizations that made money from New Era to return some or all of their gains to help offset charities that were devastated. Holtzman said the University expects to return funds under the supervision of the courts. "But we don't know what amount or what time that would be," she said, adding that the University will not know its fate until the final accounting is complete. "We really expect that the court will be working on a fair formula and when all of that is complete, we will be returning some funds," Holtzman said. She added that she could not rule out the possibility that the University will take a loss as a result of investing with New Era. New Era, which is based in Radnor, Pa., with offices in London and Hong Kong, promoted itself as an innovative new charity capable of doubling nonprofit institutions' money by soliciting matching funds from a pool of anonymous wealthy donor, who supposedly relied on the charity to find worthy causes. Along with the University, hundreds of nonprofit organizations deposited their money with New Era, which said it would hold the funds for six months in brokerage accounts -- rather than in escrow -- and claimed to be investing it in certificates of deposit or treasury bills while finding matching donors. But John Bennett Jr., the charity's president, admitted to his staff last month that the anonymous donors did not really exist. Summer Pennsylvanian staff writer Josh Fineman contributed to this article.


U. Administration to address performing arts needs

(06/22/95 9:00am)

Perelman Quad not expected to solve space problems At Friday's Facilities and Campus Planning Committee Meeting with the Trustees, Rodin admitted that the plans for the Perelman Quadrangle will not accommodate all of the University's performing arts needs. "We have been pursuing alternatives," she said. "There is a need to spread out on campus." Rodin said officials are now rethinking the Annenberg Center as an option for providing students with more performing arts space. "The students have not had much opportunity to use the Annenberg Center because of the rates and rent structure," she said. But until recently, University officials have used the promise of performing arts space in the new student center as an appeasement to student complaints. In January, Provost Stanley Chodorow rejected a proposal submitted to him by representatives from the performing arts council and the undergraduate assembly, recommending that the site of the Eric 3 Campus Theater on 40th Street be converted into performing arts space. One of his main reasons at the time was that ample performing arts space would be provided in the Perelman Quadrangle. Rodin stressed that this is an issue the University is paying close attention to this summer. She said the goal is to make sure there is sufficient performing arts space for students, separate from what will be provided by the Perelman Quad. "By the end of the summer, we will have a very satisfactory plan and set of announcements for when the students come back," she promised.


Campus movie theater to open for business

(06/15/95 9:00am)

It is lights, camera and action for the movie theater at 39th and Walnut streets. Cinemagic 3 at Penn is opening tomorrow with the blockbuster film Batman Forever on two of its three movie screens, according to Cinemagic Owner Andrew Sheppard. This theater is replacing the AMC Walnut Mall 3, which closed last November because it could not keep up with competition from larger theaters in the area. But Sheppard said Cinemagic will not have the same problem, because it will have a different priority than the AMC. "We will be getting pictures that students and faculty want to see," he said. "In the past that seemed like second or third or fourth priority." As examples of films the theater will be showing, Sheppard said he has reserved Pocahontas starting June 23, and Apollo 13 starting June 30. Sheppard added that extensive renovations were done to the theater during the year. Some of the changes include refurbishing the seats, installing an ultra-stereo sound system and adding television monitors throughout the lobby displaying upcoming previews. There will even be a monitor running 24 hours a day so people walking by can see it, he said. And the ticket box office now has a new indoor location so patrons do not have to purchase their tickets outside in the cold weather, Sheppard added. "Everything was basically ripped out," he said. "At least right now it looks like a brand new theater inside." Associate Treasurer Chris Mason estimated that these renovations cost Sheppard and the University somewhere between $75,000 and $100,000. Sheppard said there are a few differences between Cinemagic and other movie chains. There will be a security guard at the theater every night, Sheppard said. And unlike many other theaters, Cinemagic pops popcorn fresh for every show. He added that like the AMC, the theater will provide a discounted ticket price $4.50 for students. Tickets will cost six dollars for adults and four dollars for children and senior citizens. Mason said the University worked in conjunction with Cinemagic to open the parking lot at 40th and Walnut streets, "in attempt to help the other merchants on 40th Street towards Market." The lot, which opened up six weeks ago, provides parking for only two dollars, Mason said. "We are hoping that with the movie theater there, people will use that instead of parking on the street," he said. Last fall, the University negotiated with the Ritz Theater as a possible replacement for the AMC. But those negotiations fell through and Cinemagic became the company of choice. The Cinemagic theater was slated to open in March, but plans got delayed as a result of the fire at The Convenient Food Store, located at 39th and Walnut streets, in February. Sheppard described the smoke damage as "extensive," adding that "a lot of things needed to be wiped down." The Eric 3 Campus Theater on 40th Street also closed last August when its contract expired. Representatives from the Performing Arts Council and the Undergraduate Assembly submitted a proposal to officials in December, recommending that the site be converted into performing arts space. But Provost Stanley Chodorow rejected the idea in January, on the basis that it was too expensive and that ample performing arts space would be provided in the Perelman Quadrangle. And UA member Eric Tienou said earlier this week that "everything is really up in the air and pending discussions about the Perelman Quad." "Even PAC's priority is the Perelman Quad and this theater is secondary," the College senior said. Tienou added that he is still looking to continue discussions about using the theater for performing arts space.