Penn Unveils Stunning Designs for the Pennovation Center

Rendering via Penn/HWKN

Rendering via Penn/HWKN

If it’s one thing we’ve learned covering the real estate scene in Philly it’s this: don’t sleep on Penn. Why? Because just when you finally start to wrap your head around their the award-winning Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology and get all cozy with the Henry A. Jordan Medical Education Center, they smack you firmly in the face with yet another stunning example of top-notch design. This time it’s for their 58,000 square-foot building in the center of their planned innovation park at 3401 Grays Ferry Avenue.

Penn’s Board of Trustees approved the new designs for the Pennovation Center at the Pennovations Works Site on the Schuylkill River. New York-based architects HWKN (Hollwich Kusher) will “rehabilitate an existing industrial building once used for material-science research,” according to a press release from Penn.

Here’s how Penn describes the new-look building: Read more »

String of Robberies Near Penn, Drexel Appear to Be Connected

Police are warning that a string of robberies in West Philadelphia near the campuses of Penn and Drexel appear to be connected. Cops yesterday released surveillance footage (above) of a robbery on the 3100 block of Hamilton Street that showed three men confronting a 20-year-old Drexel student in the foyer of her apartment.

One of the robbers, armed with a gun, took her cell phone, backpack and $200.

But cops say the suspects are also responsible for three other robberies on the outskirts of the two campuses. On February 12th, a woman entering her home was held up at gunpoint on the 4400 block of Pine Street. On February 16th, a man who went to 41st and Spring Garden to buy a paintball gun was robbed. Fox 29 flagged a fourth robbery, that of a Jimmy John’s delivery driver at 32nd and Baring. Read more »

Penn’s Commencement Speaker Is UN Ambassador Samantha Power

Samantha Power, the United States' ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, at the U.N. headquarters. The U.N. Security Council placed North Korea's bleak human rights situation on its agenda Monday, a groundbreaking step toward possibly holding the nuclear-armed but desperately poor country and leader Kim Jong Un accountable for alleged crimes against humanity.

Samantha Power, the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, at the U.N. headquarters. The U.N. Security Council placed North Korea’s bleak human rights situation on its agenda Monday, a groundbreaking step toward possibly holding the nuclear-armed but desperately poor country and leader Kim Jong Un accountable for alleged crimes against humanity.

Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the U.N., will serve as Penn’s commencement speaker this year. She’s the first woman to be the university’s commencement speaker since 2006, when Jodie Foster spoke. Power will also receive an honorary Doctor of Laws from Penn.

Power began her career as a journalist, covering the Balkan wars. She got her J.D. from Harvard in 1999 and won a non-fiction Pulitzer Prize for A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. She has been a policy advisor to Barack Obama since he was in the Senate and was a supporter of his presidential campaign. She’s held several jobs in his presidential administration, including on the National Security Council and the Atrocities Prevention Board. Read more »

Report: Penn Must Fight “Destructive Perfectionism”

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A university task force formed after a wave of suicides hit campus last year says Penn must fight a culture of “destructive perfectionism.”

The Daily Pennsylvanian reports:

The eight-page report focuses on “cultural change rather than structural change,” Co-Chair of the task force Anthony Rostain said.

“Destructive perfectionism,” according to Rostain, is one thing the Penn community needs to fight. The report contends “the drive for academic excellence along with the perception that in order to be successful one needs to hold leadership roles in multiple realms contributes to the amount of stress and distress experienced by Penn students.”

Read more »

Penn Frat in Hot Water over Christmas Message with Beyonce Blow-Up Doll

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The Phi Delta Theta fraternity at Penn is in trouble after a member posted a Christmas message featuring a photo of frat members — and a blow-up doll (supposedly) meant to resemble Beyonce. The blow-up doll is in the upper-left hand corner of the image. Most of the frat brothers are white.

After an outcry, Phi Delta Theta President Jimmy Germi told several minority student groups on campus the toy was a Beyonce blow-up doll meant as a gag gift at the frat’s Secret Santa swap — but that “once removed from the packaging, it bore no semblance to the artist beyond skin color adding to its offensive nature.” (Here’s guessing it’s this one, on sale at Spencer’s and Amazon. That’s been on sale since at least 2010.)

Read more »

Penn’s Gutmann Criticized for “Die-In” Pose

When protesters invaded Penn President Amy Gutmann’s holiday party Monday night, she made a snap decision: She joined them in a “die-in” — a protest that’s become popular in the wake of two grand juries’ decisions not to indict police officers for killing black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City.

Now she’s being criticized by Eric Rohrback, president of Penn’s police officers’ union.
Read more »

Protesters Invade Penn President’s Party

Protesters took over Penn President Amy Gutmann’s holiday party Monday night, demonstrating in support of Philly schools and with recent events in Ferguson and New York on their mind.

The Daily Pennsylvanian reports the activists want Penn to pay a $6.6 million payment in lieu of taxes — known as a PILOT — to the school district. Penn is a tax-exempt institution.

The students, who were members of Students Organizing for Unity and Liberation and SLAP, first laid on the ground for four and a half minutes in memory of Michael Brown, the Ferguson teenager who was fatally shot by a police officer. Caught off guard, Gutmann joined the protesters, lying down on the ground to participate in the “die-in.”
Read more »

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