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Trauma center teams up

(07/13/95 9:00am)

The Trauma Center at the University of Pennsylvania is teaming up with the Trauma Center at Brandywine Hospital in an effort to serve larger geographic areas of eastern Pennsylvania. The union will allow Chester County residents to benefit from both institutions' resources at the same time, said Chief of the Division of Traumatology and Surgical Critical Care, C. William Schwab, MD. "By combining the services of a community trauma service with that of a university-based program, optimal care of the injured patient will be ensured," Schwab said. And Michael F. Rotondo, MD was named Schwab's counterpart at Brandywine Hospital. Physicians at the two trauma divisions will rotate between institutions. "The relationship is dynamic, not only because of the enhanced education and research capabilities, but because it is the first union of an urban Level I university-based center and a suburban Level II community-based facility in Pennsylvania," Rotondo said. Patients would benefit by having access to expertise from both institutions, Rotondo added.


University researchers are hard at work this summer

(07/13/95 9:00am)

Researchers at the University's Cancer Institute have discovered a treatment that prevents the formation of tumors in mice genetically programmed to get cancer. According to Mark Greene, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, the new treatment is the first proof that the growth of genetically-based cancer tumors can be deterred, and offers encouraging data in the search for a method to prevent cancerous tumors in humans. The technique, published in the July issue of Nature Medicine, involves the use of antibodies against a protein produced on the surface of tumor cells. Greene's research team demonstrated that when antibodies were applied to the tumor cells, the subsequent annihilation of the protein allowed the cells to resume normal growth. "What this means is that we can effectively suppress tumor development in a large fraction of these mice for almost their entire life span," said Research Assistant Professor Makoto Katsumata, who coauthored the report. But despite the encouraging results, the current treatment is not yet applicable to humans, and it will take years before the treatment could be made commonly available. "We aren't thinking of putting it into human's yet -- it's a mouse antibody," said Katsumata. "However, we're now working on small molecules that mimic this antibody. These are the type of chemicals that can be mass-produced for use on humans," Katsumata added. The most practical application of the treatment to humans would be to possibly prevent the recurrence of breast cancer in women who have had prior surgery to remove breast tumors, said Greene. Genetically-driven cancer and the use of genes to help eradicate the disease is a hot topic of research at the University's Cancer Center, with at least two other research projects currently underway in this field. One of the projects, led by Barbara Weber, Associate Professor of Medicine and Genetics and Director of the Breast Cancer Program, involves the search to find mutated genes which greatly increase a person's risk of breast cancer. Weber's team is currently mapping the various mutations observed on a gene discovered last fall, called BRCA1, and is also working to isolate another gene which carries mutations known to increase one's risk of breast cancer. "Those who have the gene not only get breast cancer at very striking rates, but also at earlier ages," said Weber. However, despite the possible advantages of knowing who is more susceptible to breast cancer than others, the test for the BRCA1 gene has become controversial because of the legal and ethical issues involved. Because insurance companies would most likely deny coverage to a person known to carry the particular gene, many patients attempt to keep the information private, Weber said. In addition, there are psychological difficulties with knowing that one is more likely to get breast cancer, said Weber, especially if one feels guilty about the possibility of passing the gene on to one's children. "It's quite a morass, because it's all so new," said Weber. In another research project, scientists are using gene therapy to treat a type of lung cancer strongly linked to prior asbestos exposure. The technique involves inserting a "killer" gene into the cancer cells, which allows the cells to be destroyed by a drug called ganciclovir. 'We're very excited, although we know that this particular treatment may not work," said Steven Albelda, Associate Professor of Medicine, Director of Lung Research and Co-director of Thoracic Oncology Laboratories. Albelda added that he is "absolutely convinced gene therapy will be a major player in the treatment of cancer down the road."


IN BRIEF: Holmes named to position

(07/13/95 9:00am)

Sidney P. Holmes was recently named Assistant Director of Commonwealth and City Relations at the University. Holmes was named to the position by University Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs, Carol Scheman. As assistant director, Holmes will take on several responsibilities some of which include: representing the University in state and city legislative and executive offices, develop and supervise communications between the University and state and city government, and provide legislative and regulatory review and analyses.


AROUND HIGHER EDUCATION: Harvard researchers discover link with frats and excessive drinking

(07/13/95 9:00am)

Last December, researchers at Harvard University made an announcement that came as no surprise to most students: college campuses across the country are a haven for binge drinking. Now, that same group of researchers says it has pinpointed the culprits, citing the stereotypical member of the Greek system as the source of the majority of this "party animal" behavior. These latest findings, published in the July issue of the American Journal of Public Health, indicate that students who drink excessive or dangerous amounts of alcohol were most likely to be white fraternity members involved in athletics. In addition, the greatest predictor of binge drinking was membership in a fraternity or sorority. Students in this category were four times more likely to binge drink than non-Greeks. Researchers defined binge drinking in males as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting in the past two weeks. For women, because of differences in metabolism and body weight, the limit was set at four drinks. More than 17,500 students at 140 randomly selected four-year colleges were surveyed for the study, which found that 44 percent of respondents had engaged in a drinking binge in the last two weeks -- 50 percent were men and 39 percent were women. The severity of binge drinking varied from campus to campus, the researchers also found. At one campus, only 1 percent of the students surveyed said they were binge drinkers. At another, the level was as high as 70 percent. And at 44 colleges, more than half the students reported drinking heavily in the past two weeks. Race also plays a factor in predicting who is likely to drink excessively. The study shows that white students were twice as likely to binge than non-whites. In January, fraternities at the University tried distance themselves from the "Animal House" stereotypes as the InterFraternity Council adopted a "Bring Your Own Beer" policy and pledged to restrict underage drinking at their parties. But the very weekend after the IFC ratified its BYOB policy, two fraternities were found to have violated the new alcohol guidelines. Monitors at Pi Kappa Phi and Zeta Psi caught the two fraternities serving alcohol at weekend social events. And while some colleges and universities are trying to draft policies to address the problem of binge drinking, one school has already taken action. Last month, the University of Texas at Austin shut down an all-male social club until the year 2000 after one of the group's pledges drowned in the Colorado River last semester. The student, who was underage, had been drinking heavily at an initiation event. The authors of the study called upon campus authorities to stop denying the extent of the problem of binge drinking and the problems it causes and start making broad institutional changes in attitudes toward drinking.


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.


Computer lab in DRL sabotaged

(07/13/95 9:00am)

Through an elaborate scheme, someone has sabotaged the Internet security of eight Macintosh computers in a computer lab in the David Rittenhouse Laboratory. The perpetrator installed a phony program, called "Mac Life Insurance," that secretly captured all of the text that was typed during all Telnet and Fetch sessions in room 2N40 of DRL, according to University Information Security Officer David Millar. Millar said its very difficult to say how many students may have been affected by the scam. He also warned that anyone who used their account in is room between June 1 and July 6 should have their password changed immediately. The perpetrator could be reading the students' mail, forging correspondence, altering their files or using their account to get additional privileges, he added. Information Security is currently investigating the scam. If an individual is caught, Millar said that the matter will be referred to the Student Dispute Resolution Center. "I take the matter seriously," Millar said. "I consider it a violation of the Ethical Computing policy to try to steal passwords like this. However, I have not yet heard any reports of this problem in any other campus labs. Dan Updegrove, associate vice provost of Information Systems and Computing, said that there are "serious penalties" for internet security violations. Updegrove, who is also the executive director of Data Communications and Computing Services, said that the phony program is known as a "trojan horse." While it might look and act like a Telnet application, in reality it is a fraud. "If it's done artfully it's darn near impossible to tell," he said. He added that Internet users should be wary of a scam if they observe that the program seems to be behaving differently, especially if it is operating at an unusually slow pace. Millar, Updegrove and Engineering senior and Internet expert Meng Weng Wong all agree that is relatively easy to install "trojan horse" software. "Computers on the Internet are insecure," Wong said. "Start with the assumption that everything you transmit is being intercepted, and that everything you have publicly available is under scrutiny. Then take advantage of the intelligence in the computer before you to encrypt your messages. "Protocols are being being developed that will make security on the internet less of worry," Wong added. "Right now, the Information Superhighway is an open road, but soon we'll have bulletproof cars to drive on it." Millar urged students to regularly change their password and encouraged lab administrators to be cautious of suspicious activity. Updegrove said that when students log into e-mail, they do not always check the message that informs them of the last time their account was opened. But, he said the "last login message" is a useful tool for determining if someone has accessed the account, because it tells the location of the last login.


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."


'Penn in Washington' brings students together

(07/06/95 9:00am)

WASHINGTON -- Moving to Washington, D.C. for the summer does not have to mean leaving school behind. In fact, more than 100 students participating in the Career Planning and Placement Service's "Penn in Washington" program have been able to keep in touch with other members of the University community while living and working in the nation's capital. The program, run by College junior Paula Feldman, provides "social, educational and cultural events for Penn students in the Washington area." Any University student living in the area can attend Penn in Washington events. The program has already sponsored happy hours at Washington bars, softball games against other schools, and a series of talks by Washington politicians and journalists. "The basic focus is to provide students with an insiders' view of policy-making in Washington to supplement their internship experience," Feldman said. "Also, [Penn in Washington seeks] to provide a social network with which to meet other students." Speakers have included NBC News White House correspondent and University alumna Andrea Mitchell, ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson and government officials from the Central Intelligence Agency and the Departments of the Treasury and Education. Feldman said most speakers have been very willing to talk candidly with the program's participants about Washington power politics. "There's been an incredible response from people in Washington," she said. "I've had far more acceptances to speak than I could put on the calendar." But Feldman added that she has been disappointed by a lack of student attendance at some events. Out of 130 students on the program's mailing list, only 30 have consistently attended Penn in Washington programs. "The problem is that students both don't have the time to take out of their work and don't have the interest for speakers who aren't big names," she said. Feldman added that she has begun to telephone students on the mailing list who she has not seen at events to make sure they know about the program. In addition to the series of speakers, Penn in Washington provide participants with many opportunities to meet students from other schools who are also in Washington for the summer. Feldman said she has been in constant communication with coordinators of similar programs from Yale University, Princeton University, University of California at Berkeley and other schools in order to schedule group events. Each school with a program in the area has hosted a happy hour for college students at a local bar, and there is a softball league of summer interns from different colleges. For the fireworks display at the Washington Monument on the Fourth of July, all the programs roped off a space on the Mall just for students. Feldman said the program's events have been marked by a "great spirit," adding that she has received only positive feedback.


Med. Professor publishes study on relieving PMS

(07/06/95 9:00am)

Relief might be in sight for women suffering from premenstrual syndrome, as a result of a new University study. The study, which was published in the this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, reports that the tranquilizer Xanax can relieve symptoms suffered by women with PMS. And the study found that the hormone progesterone, which is commonly prescribed for the treatment of PMS, is not effective. These findings come in the wake of a recent Canadian study that showed the antidepressant drug Prozac is effective in treating PMS. Xanax was determined to be "significantly" better than placebo or progesterone in reducing the overall severity of premenstrual symptoms, particularly improving mental function and mood, as well as in alleviating pain, the study reported. The study, which included 170 women, age 18 to 46, lasted for a three month trial and tested the efficacy of oral progesterone, Xanax and a placebo. Of those taking Xanax, 37 percent experienced a 50 percent reduction in symptoms, compared with 29 percent from progesterone and 30 percent from the placebo. Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Ellen Freeman, the principle author of the study, said that the Xanax discovery is important because it could help those women who were not aided by the use of Prozac. "This is a different kind of drug that could help the other women," Freeman said. The Prozac study, which was published in last month's New England Journal of Medicine, indicated that about half the women who took Prozac had an improvement in PMS symptoms. Freeman said any new research on PMS is exciting because five to 10 years ago there was no information on the subject. PMS afflicts two percent to 10 percent of menstruating women, and is marked by irritability, tension, mood swings, anxiety, confusion, swelling, depression, fatigue, insomnia, aches or other symptoms before each cycle. One issue the use of Xanax brought up was that of dependency. But Freeman contends that dependency is not a problem because the women take the drug for such a short time. Unlike Prozac, which is taken every day, Xanax is only taken for about 10 days while the PMS symptoms persist, Freeman explained. Xanax, made by UpJohn, is also known as alprazolam and is part of a class of anti-anxiety drugs called benzodiazapines.


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.


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.


Philadelphia celebrates July 4th in style

(06/29/95 9:00am)

New Orleans has always had its Mardi Gras, and New York City its New Year's Eve all-night decadence. Now finally Philadelphia, that often overlooked East Coast City with a reputation for being nasty to tourists, is hosting its own holiday party worthy of national stature -- "Welcome America." In principle, "Welcome America" resembles the patriotic national holiday known to most Americans as "Independence Day." But how an 11-day holiday, complete with an appearance by the Beach Boys and enough fireworks to forever tint the smog from the Schuylkill Expressway, be referred to by the name of a holiday only occurring one day a year? Last year, about a million tourists and city residents alike took part in a more modest, six-day version of the celebration. Welcome America spokesperson Caroline Piven estimated that this figure could more than double this year. "Sunoco Welcome America has two purposes," she said. "To celebrate America's birthday for everyone in the area, and to make Philadelphia a destination city." Today's first Welcome America activity, a "Summer Mummer's Parade," begins at 7 p.m. at the Gallery. Hundreds of Philadelphia famed New Years paraders will march from City Hall to the Liberty Bell. And as early as 6 a.m. Saturday, hot air balloons will be released into the air at the New Jersey waterfront and set adrift above the Delaware River. Too tired from all that booing and cheering at the Welcome America boxing fight between Prince Charles Williams and Merqui Susa at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Friday night? Don't worry -- the Moon Glow Balloon Festival will be repeated at 8:45 p.m. that evening, and at 6 a.m. each morning of the celebration. Other events on Saturday include the Liberty Lighted Boat Parade and Concert at Penn's Landing from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m., and late-night shopping in Center City. Shopping opportunities continue on South Street the next day with the "Great American South Street Skate, Picnic and Sidewalk Sale." At noon July 2, the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn's Landing will officially open its door to the public. And from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the concerto Soloists Concert Band will fill Independence National Historic Park at 5th and Market Streets with chamber music. Fireworks begin at 8 p.m. Monday night at Penn's Landing, Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell will honor United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees Sadako Ogata of Japan with the Philadelphia Liberty Medal at 5th and Chestnut streets. At 1:30 p.m., the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution will present a band concert at Independence Square at 5th and Market streets. Touch the Liberty Bell at Independence Square, while at the same time a bell-ringing from the Centennial Bell in the Independence Hall Tower will begin and by the America Starts Here! parade at 20th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard. Welcome America festivities culminating later that Independence Day with fireworks at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway by the Art Museum at 8 p.m. The Beach Boys and the Philadelphia Orchestra will lull the lengthy celebration to a close with the "Sunoco Sweet Sounds of Liberty."


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.


Vivett convicted for abducting student in 1993

(06/29/95 9:00am)

Keith Vivett, who carjacked, robbed, raped and shot a College of General Studies student in the face in October 1993, was convicted by a jury last week. Vivett was convicted of aggravated indecent assault, two counts of robbery, kidnapping and a weapons offense. The 26-year-old student was walking to her car in the public parking lot at 34th and Chestnut streets October 20 at 9:30 p.m. when Vivett kidnapped her, according to Assistant District Attorney Curtis Douglas. Vivett forced the student into the backseat of her car at gunpoint and robbed her of $7. He then drove her to North Philadelphia, and forced her to remove her clothing in the car. He then sexually molested her. After driving around for 20 minutes, Vivett stopped the car and molested the student again. He then gagged her with her bra and forced the nude student into a house, where he shot her in the face. "I felt the hot metal on my face," the student told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I thought I was going to bleed to death." Still conscious, the student played dead, waiting for the man to leave. After Vivett fled in the victim's car, she went out into the street asked someone to contact police. The student was taken to Jefferson Hospital and was released later that week after being treated. Common Pleas Judge Arnold New sent Vivett to prison to await sentencing in September. The student's lawyer 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.


Search for new police commissioner going well

(06/29/95 9:00am)

The search for a new University Police Commissioner has kicked into high gear as the July 31 resignation date of current Commissioner John Kuprevich approaches. According to Executive Vice President John Fry, the search is moving along well. He reported that a field of 70 or more applicants has been narrowed down to 15 people. He described the applicant pool as being "extremely qualified." "I'm really excited about some of the people who have applied," Fry said. And he added that a new commissioner would most likely be chosen in the next month or month and a half. Fry said the next step is for the field of 15 to be narrowed down to six, which could happen in the next week to 10 days. Faculty, administration and students are involved in the process of narrowing the number down and interviewing the individual applicant, he said. Kuprevich announced on April 13 that he would resign his position at the University on July 31. Since his resignation, Kuprevich has maintained that he will stay involved in campus law enforcement. According to University of New Mexico Lieutenant Steve Lewis, Kuprevich is on the short list of UNM's candidates for the next commissioner of public safety. Kuprevich was the University's first commissioner of public safety and oversaw the University Police department and the Victim Support and Special Services unit since assuming the post in December 1990.


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.