Teaching and learning, like our students and faculty, are natural partners — and when our generous alumni and friends support these partners, they can find remarkable new ways to work together. 

Sometimes these partnerships move beyond the classroom and into the laboratory, where faculty and students come together to create new knowledge. This summer, for example, undergraduate students working in labs on campus explored topics as diverse as environmental decision-making, the effect of viscerosensory feedback perturbation in the song system of zebra finches, and the Dark Energy Survey of the universe.

Sometimes the partners go on the road—like when our students and faculty went to the island of San Cristóbal, Galápagos, this summer to work with high school students there. Funded by a Making a Difference in Diverse Communities grant, the Laboratorio Para Apreciar La Vida y El Ambiente (LAVA) established a community science program designed to understand the impact of human-induced changes on the behavior of the local sea lions and provide local residents with the tools and passion to steward their community. 

And sometimes the student becomes the teacher, as in the Reducing Lead Exposure program, another Making a Difference grant recipient. Starting this summer and continuing through the year, groups of Penn students are working in West Philadelphia and Lancaster, Pa., to test lead levels and educate community members on the risks of lead poisoning and their right to have a voice concerning their environment.

Whether it’s on campus, in our back yard, or across the globe, Penn Arts and Sciences can take on these kinds of projects because this is who we are: a community of people who love knowledge and want to see it applied to make a better world. 

Since joining the School in 1993, I’ve learned over and over again that Penn Arts and Sciences is a special place. We study everything from particle physics to social and political philosophy, and our interdisciplinary mindset draws together experts from different disciplines to bring their perspectives to bear on a project. That creates synergies that let us tackle some of the biggest problems we face. One great example is the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology, a partnership with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and we were delighted to welcome Karen Goldberg to campus this fall as the inaugural Director of the Institute and the first Vagelos Professor in Energy Research.

Our distinguished faculty, amazing students, and loyal and generous alumni and friends work together to make all of this happen, and it’s been so rewarding to see what these timeless partnerships make possible. To our many alumni and friends who are engaged in and supportive of our efforts, thank you for working with us to make a difference in the lives of our students and in the world. I’m so proud of all that we have, and will, accomplish together.

In this magazine, you’ll find lists of those who made gifts to the Arts and Sciences Annual Fund and the Graduate Fellowship Fund. For a full list of School donors, as well as Penn Arts and Sciences highlights, visit the People Supporting Penn website. It is the support and encouragement of our alumni and friends that allow us to pursue innovative programs like these.

Yours in partnership,
Jean-Marie Kneeley
Vice Dean for Advancement