We are excited to share stories about the Penn experience from the perspective of current students and alumni alike. Below you’ll find a vibrant, diverse and passionate group of individuals who benefit every day from the collective annual giving of Proud Penn Alumni through The Penn Fund.

 

 

 

Judy Vogel Scherzer, W’85

 

 

Some of my favorite memories at Penn were being part of the Penn Band, which was involved in so much of the school spirit at Penn.  We were an integral part of the football and basketball games, playing all the school songs, and more. The talent of the Band members was off the charts, both in their musicality and in their creativity in writing the halftime shows.  It was fun marching through campus before games, playing for alumni after the games, throwing toast on Franklin Field after “Hang Jeff Davis”, and of course making the script Penn during Homecoming halftime shows.  I am fortunate that I had the opportunity to play during my time at Penn.

I give to The Penn Fund because I want the next generation of students to have the best college experience they can.  They should be able to explore their creativity by joining clubs or have a quality environment to engage each other in topical discussions.  Tuition does not cover all of Penn’s costs.  It’s The Penn Fund that fills the gap.  My classmates and I benefited from the generosity of alumni who came before us, and now we are in a position to help the next generation.

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    Carlos Lopez Ona, W’94

     

     

    My education from Penn continues to be the best investment I have made to date and my Penn relationships are an integral part of both my personal and professional life.  I consider my annual gift to Penn as an investment to enable the next generation of students to enjoy the many opportunities that a Penn education provides during and long after matriculation.    

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    Jacob Meiner, C’15, W’15

     

     

    My time at Penn has been deeply rewarding and incredibly jam-packed. Whether I was running from a Middle Eastern history course to a Glee Club rehearsal, or just spending time with some of my closest friends from student government and my acapella group, I always felt proud to be an active member of the Penn community. It’s the energy and spirit of everyone on campus that keeps me motivated to always do more. Being a donor to The Penn Fund means creating more opportunities for students from around the country and the world to have the same amazing experiences that I had at Penn. The Penn Fund initiatives allow for a more diverse, well-rounded, and active student body, and that makes me very proud.

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    Kanisha Parthasarathy, C’15

     

     

    My time at Penn has been incredible. My involvements with student government and community service have shaped not only the past four years, but also my future. Penn is special because everybody has found a niche community to call home. I give back to The Penn Fund because it helps these communities thrive.

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    Jesus Perez, C'16

     

     

    During my short time at Penn, I've had incredible experiences that have changed my life. From becoming the Class President to writing my senior thesis to running over 100 miles in the world's driest desert, Penn has helped me learn skills that I will use in the workplace and in life in general. One of my favorite memories here was helping to form Holi in 2013. This vibrant festival of colors has become a celebration of spring, diversity and unity among all of the undergraduate students. Colors explode during Holi as campus turns into a huge canvas, and many social barriers are broken down as students from all walks of life come together to celebrate this festival, dancing and painting bright colors on each other in what is now a Penn tradition. It makes for arguably one of the happiest and most carefree days in the entire year. 

    Put simply, I wouldn't be receiving this excellent education if it wasn't for The Penn Fund! As a recipient of financial aid, I am grateful that The Penn Fund supports undergraduate need-based aid as well as provides generous support that is the lifeblood of campus life programs that impact every segment of undergraduate life - from Women's Softball to College Houses. Giving even a small donation to The Penn Fund can help impact the lives of thousands of undergraduate students. This fund has helped me and my classmates improve our college experience exponentially, and it is my sincere hope that you will consider donating and joining the thousands of Quakers who have made an impact at our alma mater Penn, our community, and the broader one.

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    Breanna Martin, C'15

     

     

    My four years at Penn have been an incredible and harrowing adventure. I explored a wide range of interests, both academic and extracurricular. One of my most memorable experiences was spending a summer in Ghana through the Penn International Internship Program. I was the Marketing Intern for an organization that founds and operates schools in the southeastern region of the country. I went with four fellow students and we had an amazing time working with the students and staff, as well as exploring Ghana (and sampling its delicious food).

    The best class I have ever taken was Global Citizenship with Kathleen Hall. I am lucky in that, as a Cultural Anthropology major, I am permitted to take fascinating classes on a variety of contemporary issues for credit. This class in particular was amazing. We discussed topics such as the philosophy behind global interconnectivity, international development, and our place in the frenzy of globalization as young Americans. As if those topics weren’t fascinating enough, the class had a generously loose structure that empowered the students to mold each lesson into what we wanted it to be. This led to some of the most fascinating discussions I have had in my time at Penn. I actually loved this class so much that I recommended it be lengthened from two to three hours, something I never thought I would do.

    My favorite group that I have been involved with on campus is the United Minorities Council. This is an umbrella organization that serves over 30 minority groups on campus. I served as Co-Programming Chair in my sophomore and junior years. My term happened to coincide with the 35th anniversary of the organization and I took on the arduous but rewarding task of planning a gala to commemorate the occasion. This really allowed me to flex my organizational and creative muscles, which helped me grow as a leader and a person. Additionally, my work with the UMC allowed me to meet some of my best friends at Penn, as well as administration members who have become close mentors to me. My favorite Penn Tradition would have to be Spring Fling. It is such a great time to be on campus, especially after coming through a hard winter. It is so nice to bask in the warm weather, attend the carnival and listen to great live music. Spring Fling is the weekend when Penn lets its hair down. 

    Giving to The Penn Fund is important to me because donations sent to The Penn Fund are what allows Penn to help its students foster fulfilling lives here on campus. The generosity shown to The Penn Fund is funneled throughout campus. It helps to support our living areas, dining halls and student groups, not to mention supporting various academic programs. Undergraduate life would be at a severe loss without the Penn Fund. As a recipient of Financial Aid, I can appreciate the crucial importance of donating to The Penn Fund. Being awarded financial aid allows me to attend this institution. My financial aid package also made it possible for me to spend a semester abroad in Chile, one of the most rewarding experiences of my Penn career.  Additionally, attending Seniors for The Penn Fund events has helped make my final year at Penn special. They provide a space for our entire class to come together and bond. At every senior event I attend, I reunite with old friends from years past and make new ones. It is so nice that that organization exists to help us make the transition from students to alumni in a fun, celebratory way.

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    Hershel Sosnoff, W’65

     

     

    Looking back at my undergraduate years at Penn, it is difficult to identify a single “favorite thing.” Certainly, the classes were thrilling and informative. Economics, particularly, interested me and fueled a lifelong study. I still follow the domestic economy and international currency movements with enthusiasm. The social scene was equally vibrant. I met many interesting and exciting people including my future (and lovely) wife! I enjoyed the fraternity experience, Skimmer Weekends, and the football games. I made many lifelong friends. Penn certainly provided a top notch education and prepared me well for my career.

    My Penn credentials, and particularly Wharton, have opened doors for me for the last 50 years. I recall that I was able to negotiate a higher starting salary for my very first professional job on the basis of my fine education and that was only the beginning. I enjoy giving at the BFS leadership level because Penn served me so well. It is my way of rewarding “a job well done.” It is my hope that current and future generations of Penn students will similarly benefit and pass the torch on.

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    Eduardo Abreu, C’05, W’05

     

     

    My four years at Penn were pleasant and allowed me to grow and explore areas outside of my chosen discipline and broaden my horizons.  Having applied and been admitted to the Huntsman Program, my major was declared since before the start of Freshman year.  But the curriculum, with its focus on electives allowed me to discover one of my favorite classes – The Devil’s Pact in Music, Literature, and Film.  Study abroad was another great experience and fond memory that allowed me to immerse myself in French culture through living with a host family in Lyons.  Aside from these more academic pursuits, I also enjoyed the time I spent with my friends and involvement in some of the organizations in which I participated. 

    Giving has impacted me personally. My wife was a beneficiary of financial aid as a Penn student. I saw the impact Penn had on her career and that her debt burden was less than what you read on the news, thanks to the grants. It is rewarding to know that Penn is a grant-only institution and is capable of offering a coveted education to those in need, and makes attaining an education feasible.

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    Lori Wachs, W’90

     

     

    As I approach my 25th reunion, I’ve become increasingly nostalgic about my time at Penn. They were an incredibly special four years. I have endless fond memories of studying late at night at Steinberg-Dietrich.  Though I’ve long forgotten exactly what I was studying, the friendships and connections I made while poring over my notes into the wee hours have endured more than I would have imagined. To this day, my absolute best friends are people I met while at Penn, including the inimitable Molly Rouse Terlevich, who I was lucky enough to meet on my Penn summer in Spain. 

    I was at Penn at a time when sororities were just starting to re-emerge, and was part of a group of women who helped relaunch SDT on campus.  I feel a tremendous sense of pride every time I hear of someone who has joined our chapter, knowing that I helped start this legacy. While I thoroughly enjoyed the rigor of the Wharton curriculum, which laid a phenomenal foundation upon which to embark upon my career in finance, it was my minor in Far East Asian studies that gave me an in-depth look into other cultures. That skill set continues to serve me well in this interconnected world in which we live. And on a recent family trip to Japan, I surprised everyone with how well my Japanese came back to me! Whether it’s the phenomenal education that helped pave the way for my career in finance, the friendships I made and continue to make through Penn alumni networks, or the support I’ve received from the faculty over the years, it often feels like all roads lead back to Penn for me.

    Given the impact that Penn has had on so many facets of my life, the best way I felt that I could "pay it forward" was by providing access to the Penn experience for others.  Somewhere along the way, giving to Penn became an endlessly satisfying loop--- the more I gave, the more I became involved in things such as the Trustees Council of Penn Women. And the more involved I became, the more I wanted to find opportunities to fund areas of interest, such as Penn’s International Internship Program. You don’t need an economics degree to recognize that this is the ultimate win-win!

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    Melissa Ho, W’09

     

     

    I have so many amazing memories from Penn, it's hard to pick and choose. Some of the biggest are going to Smokes with my friends (often followed by late night stops at Wawa), exploring all the wonderful restaurants in Center City, and wandering around the Quad during Spring Fling. However, some of the smaller moments also stick out in my mind like ordering greasy takeout with friends to fuel late night study sessions in Huntsman, the kindness a particular professor showed me, and the many late night conversations I had with my roommates where we shared our future goals and what we wanted to accomplish later in life. It still amazes me to see them already beginning to achieve those goals only 5 years post graduation from Penn. I also loved being a Management 100 TA which allowed me to welcome the incoming freshman class to Wharton. I made so many lasting friendships through MGMT 100 and I never miss the annual TA reunion held every December.

    It was incredibly important for me to give back to Penn at the BFS leadership level because I want other students to be able to have the same opportunities and life experiences that Penn gave to meThe friends I made and the things I learned at Penn have absolutely shaped me into the person I am today. Giving back to Penn enables the university to attract the best and the brightest students and build on a Penn legacy that I am so proud to be a part of.

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    Molly Rouse-Terlevich, C’90, GED’00

     

     

    As an undergrad, UPenn served as the colorful tapestry and structured framework that allowed me to create a quality future and community of which I'm proud ---- the catalyst for personal and professional growth that led to my 25 years long and still counting best friendships ever and career flexibility. My self-confidence has enabled me to take risks and make career changes culminating in joining Barack Obama's 2008 campaign "National Finance Committee" and my confidence grew largely from a foundation of exploration and accomplishment at Penn. Professors challenged me, yet also wholly praised my successes leading me to continue to strive for greater knowledge and skill. I'm not kidding ;-) English classes were my favorite time of learning and my well-regarded writing skills which I use to this day were honed in those classes and during after hour meetings with professors who took the time to give me one-on-one feedback and endlessly rewrote essays with me until they were truly excellent. My absolute best Penn takeaway has been my BFF Lori Pearlman Wachs.  To me it's all about people, relationships, community... these are what matter most in life. I've wanted to support The Penn Fund as a way of thanking the university for this gift of friendship and to continue the tradition from which it springs. My sense of self and solid personal and professional foundation were all derived from my experiences at Penn and as I have acknowledged and reflected on these gifts to me from Penn for the last 25 years, I've felt increasingly like I owed Penn a great debt of thanks. I'm happy to repay this debt with the aim of allowing another young person to have the same privilege and honor. I've felt increasingly like it's an amazing gift I've been given that I wish to give another young person.The culture at Upenn truly sent me on a quest as a young adult that continues to this day - to build connections and community and build futures for those around me as we all benefit from the larger success. 

    Penn builds a strong philanthropic character in students which I really appreciate and can see literally in all of my fellow graduates and alumni community - everyone gives back and there is an eternal positive feedback cycle linking us to one another and generating energy and accomplishments together. As I reflect, I realize my years at Penn have been the best in my life, full of the ultimate life education:  connection, knowledge quest, doing good, building a future --- and it's essential that we all continue this circle by supporting The Penn Fund. I've felt increasingly passionate about publicly acknowledging my gratitude to Penn. Lori and I have discussed these gifts from Penn on many occasions for all these years and our 25th reunion seems a fitting time to show our appreciation! As I look back on my life, I see that my years at Penn were the basis on which I've built a strong philanthropic character and I'm giving to The Penn Fund to show my gratitude and to pass the torch to another young person so the circle of giving continues.