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Breaking news, updates, and other between-issues items of interest from The Pennsylvania Gazette.

We’ve Moved!

Penn Gazette Extra has moved! We’re now located within The direct link is Please bookmark the new address for future use.

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How to Fix Obamacare’s Glitches

Penn’s Ezekiel Emanuel offers a prescription for how to fix the problems afflicting the roll-out of the federal health-insurance exchange.  Emanuel, who was one of Obamacare’s architects, is vice provost for global initiatives and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy.

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Angela Duckworth Snags “Genius Grant”

Penn psychology assistant professor Angela Duckworth has been named a MacArthur Fellow

As Gazette contributor (and Boston Globe “Braniac” columnist) Kevin Hartnett wrote in a 2012 feature story, “Duckworth is best known for the study of ‘grit,’ which she defines as ‘perseverance and passion for long-term goals.’ Today grit is a buzzword in the hallways of charter schools around the country, where teachers, principals, and deep-pocketed board members have all come to believe that inculcating grittiness in students is every bit as important as building academic skills.”

Read the whole Gazette profile of Duckworth here.

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1984: The Year Van Pelt Library Captured a US President

Ever get stuck in an elevator in Penn’s main library?  So did Gerald Ford, 19 years ago yesterday.  A little-known fact, until The Atlantic posted a memorial story online yesterday.


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Throwback Thursday: The Penn Relays

The first Penn Relay took place in 1895. In 1910, owing to the festive atmosphere, the event was officially dubbed the “Penn Relay Carnival.” Over the years, the Relays have become one of the University’s most venerable traditions.

So, for this week’s Throwback, we’ve complied a selection of Penn Relay photos from the Gazette archives—enjoy!

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Throwback Thursday! Van Pelt Library is dedicated, 1962

Van Pelt dedication

President Harnwell dedicated the library in October, 1962.

As students gear up for finals, it’s worth noting that Van Pelt Library was completed in June, 1962, and it was dedicated in October. You might recall that last December, the Gazette published a feature about Van Pelt at 50.

But back in December, 1962, the Gazette dedicated a good part of the magazine to celebrating the library’s opening. The opening quote, from President Gaylord P. Harnwell, read: “There are few events of greater significance in the long history of this institution.”

The library’s appeal? “Reinforced concrete, brick and glass: all have been brought into play to form a harmonious entity,” the magazine reported. And even back then, the Gazette made sure to mention that the the undergraduate study area “remains open long after the rest of building is locked.”

To 50 years of all-nighters!

A page from the Gazette: December, 1962.

A page from the Gazette: December, 1962.



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The Wendy Walk honors Penn alum, benefits cancer research

From feft to Right: Robert Landes, Wendy Landes, Jackie Landes, Matt Landes, and Ali Landes.

From feft to Right: Robert Landes, Wendy Landes, Jackie Landes, Matt Landes, and Ali Landes.

When Wendy Landes C’77 was diagnosed with Liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer, her three children – Ali,  Matt, and Jackie – weren’t sure how to cope. “We were hurting as children to see our mom so sick, and we wanted to empower her,” said Ali.

So, they organized the Wendy Walk, in order to raise awareness about Liposarcoma and to raise money in order to find a cure. The Wendy Walk is now held on three different days in three different  cities – New York, LA and Miami. The event has also attracted a lot of Penn students and alumni – 20 members of the Wendy Walk committee are from Penn.

About 2,000 people participated in the walks last year, according to Ali, and about twice as many donated money to the cause. The organization has raised $1.3 million  so far.

This year’s walk will be different. Wendy passed away in March after a five-year battle against the cancer. But Wendy, who was a successful divorce lawyer, had such an influence, that 700 came to her memorial in LA and 400 attended her funeral in New York.

The Wendy Walk, which started out as a project for the family, “has become a real resource for people with cancer,” Ali said. But even for those who aren’t affected, the walk is motivational.  It’s about positivity, about “taking whatever life throws at you and making the most of it,” Ali said. That’s what her mom taught her.

Visit to participate or donate. The Wendy Walk in Miami is coming up this Sunday, April 14th.

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Throwback Thursday: May 1970 – Students go on strike.

photo 1

Students gathered on College Green.

In May, 1970 the Gazette reported that about 2,500 students, staff and faculty walked out of their classrooms and offices and gathered at the Palestra for an antiwar rally. The action followed President Richard Nixon’s announcement that he would be sending US troops into Cambodia. The Vietnam War was in full swing and students across the country were protesting. During the rally, one speaker announced that he had just received a telegram: the National Guard had opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University.

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The Strike broke out during finals period, and in a show of solidarity, a majority of professors granted extensions and postponements. Sociology Professor Philip Pachoda explained, “We are not primarily concerned with shutting down the University… In the face of this grave crisis almost all members of the University now  perceive the need to suspend ‘business as usual.”

On the fourth day of the Strike, students gathered on College Green and held a memorial for the students who died at Kent State, and on the seventh day, 2,000 students from Penn and Drexel joined 14,000 others and marched to Independence Hall.

The Strike carried on until the end of finals period.

photo 2

On the first day of the Strike, students rallied at the Palestra.

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Throwback Thursday! The College of Liberal Arts for Women opens in 1933

Eighty years ago (and 50 years after the Trustees voted on it) the College of Liberal Arts for Women opened for admission. Although women were already being admitted into the School of Education, this was the first time Penn was offering women the chance to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree. The Gazette covered this groundbreaking development, along with lots of images of women–inexplicably–playing sports. Read on!


Previously, the biology and fine-arts departments had also admitted some women. There was debate about whether to make Penn co-educational, as Temple University and New York University were at the time, or to open a separate college for women, as Harvard, Brown and Columbia had done.

Dr. George McClelland, Vice-President in Charge of the Undergraduate Schools, wrote a long piece in the April 15th, 1933 issue of the Gazette  explaining his decision. It wasn’t a total victory.  “The practical effect of the policy just announced is to make available to women, for the first time, the degree of bachelor of arts,” McClelland wrote. But,  he added: “The creation of a College for Women at the University of Pennsylvania, in a structural sense, is a matter of the indefinite future. There are no funds on hand for such a project, and none are in sight.”

The creation of the new College allowed women in the School of Education, after two years, to choose between professional studies and “purely cultural courses.” In essence, it allowed them to pursue a broader degree in the liberal arts rather than a degree in education.

The school did eventually find the funds to expand the college, and in 1976, Penn became fully coeducational.



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Throwback Thursday: November 1943 Penn joins the war effort

In the November 1943 issue of the Gazette, Penn President Thomas S. Gates published a letter stating that “The University of Pennsylvania has now assumed a definite place in the war effort.

Of course, by then, the Second World War was well underway, and Penn’s involvement in the war effort had begun long before. The University hosted army and navy men in training, even as many left Penn to serve overseas.



Navy V-12 training took place behind the Penn Museum.


Servicemen used Houston Hall Commons as a mess hall.

“While no one expects to return to the world that existed before the war,” Gates wrote, “all of us feel that, chastened by fire and struggle, higher ideals and nobler efforts may dominate our thinking afterward.”

- Maanvi Singh

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