University of Pennsylvania Law School Groundbreaking

Jeanne Leong | | 215-573-8151
Thursday, July 15, 2010


Michael Fitts, Penn Law School dean
Sheila Kennedy, Kennedy & Violich Architecture
Frano Violich, Kennedy & Violich Architecture
Paul Haaga, Penn Law Board of Overseers chairman
Paul Levy, Campaign for Penn Law chairman
Osagie Imasogie, Penn Law Board of Overseers member
Perry Golkin, Penn Law Board of Overseers member


July 22, 2010, 3 p.m.


University of Pennsylvania Law School
Sansom Street, between 34th and 36th streets

The University of Pennsylvania Law School will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for a state-of-the-art building with a rooftop garden and 350-seat auditorium.  The building replaces Pepper Hall and will join the Law School’s three other inter-connected buildings.  The new building will have three stories on its eastern wing and two stories with a roof deck on its western wing.  It’s one of the first law schools in the country to be LEED certified, designated to meet the environmentally sound building standard.

The new building’s name will be announced at the ceremony.

The 18-month project, which includes renovations to the student lounge, is scheduled to be completed in January 2012.

Penn Law School Announces Four Recipients of 2010 Teaching Awards

Jeanne Leong | | 215-573-8151
Thursday, July 15, 2010

PHILADELPHIA – Four teachers in the University of Pennsylvania Law School have received 2010 teaching awards.

Matthew Adler, the Leon Meltzer Professor of Law, has been honored with the A. Leo Levin Award for Excellence in an Introductory Course.  He has been honored twice with the Harvey Levin Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching, and he has also received the University’s Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

The late C. Edwin Baker, the Nicholas F. Gallicchio Professor of Law and Communication, was posthumously chosen by the graduating class to receive the Levin Award.  Baker died in December.

David Skeel, the S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law, has been named the recipient of the Robert A. Gorman Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has received the Levin Award twice and has also received the Lindback Award.

Louis Pollak, judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, has been honored with Penn Law’s Adjunct Teaching Award.

Blogging From Nepal

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Three Penn Vet students are blogging about their summer of treating rural animals in Nepal and helping train community members in basic animal health and husbandry. (Penn Current)

Penn’s Scotty Williams Named Golfer of the Year; Nine Other Penn Students Also Named to All-Area Teams

Mike Mahoney | 215-898-9232 | 215-898-9232
Thursday, July 15, 2010

PHILADELPHIA -- Scotty Williams, a student at the University of Pennsylvania, has been named Golfer of the Year in the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Stars annual selection. 

In addition, nine other Penn student-athletes were named to All-Area teams.  They were selected by a vote of the members of the Philadelphia Area Sports Information Directors Association.

Williams was joined on the All-Area Men’s Golf team by fellow Penn student Chance Pipitone.

Others from Penn who were honored are Brian Fulton, Men’s Track and Field; Anna Aagenes, Women’s Track and Field; Chris McNulty, Baseball; Rob McMullen, Men’s Lacrosse; Ali DeLuca and Emma Spiro, Women’s Lacrosse; and Paul Shay and Bayard Wilson, Men’s Rowing.

All-Stars, who must be starters or key reserves and sophomores, must each have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average. 

Listings of student-athlete honorees are at these Inquirer websites:


Women's Rowing:

Women's Lacrosse:

Men's Track and Field:



Men's Tennis:

Men's Lacrosse:

Men's Rowing:

Women's Track and Field:

Women’s Tennis:

Scotty Williams

Scotty Williams

University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice Launches Penn-China Civil Society Initiative

Jill DiSanto-Haines | | 215-898-4820
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice has launched the Penn-China Civil Society Initiative, a program to assist the budding non-governmental sector in China.

Dean Richard J. Gelles signed a memorandum of understanding with officials from the Beijing Normal University One Foundation Philanthropic Research Institute, agreeing that the School of Social Policy & Practice will serve as a collaborative advisor in developing China’s NGO and philanthropy sector.

“This is a historic moment for the nonprofit, civil society sector in China, “ Gelles said.  “Moreover, it’s another way that our School embraces the Penn Compact.  We’re integrating knowledge among the disciplines to strengthen our global engagement.”

The agreement between the two universities promotes the development of collaborative training programs, along with international scholarly communication and cooperation.  It encourages professors and researchers to host international exchanges, research projects, lectures and other activities. 

“NGOs are essential in addressing social problems in China, but there’s a divide.  Some officials believe NGOs are needed, while others see NGOs as a source of potential problems,” Gelles said.  “NGO development in China lags behind the country’s rapid economic growth. In addition, China has experienced unprecedented philanthropic activity after the earthquake in 2008 and the Olympics in Beijing.  Now, it’s just a matter of how to channel those philanthropic dollars to make the strongest, long-term impact, and this agreement is the first step in structuring the development of NGOs there.”

The memorandum also calls for creating joint-research publications on the philanthropic sector, surveying the state of Chinese philanthropy, designing programs to improve the capacity of China’s philanthropic sector and developing professional standards.

The Penn-China Civil Society Initiative will be implemented during an 18-month timeframe, offering seminars in the U.S. and in China. The initiative will draw from expertise from schools across the University, including Wharton and Law, in addition to the School of Social Policy & Practice.

With private funding and a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, the vision of Tianxue Qiu, a 2009 School alumna who serves as a key advisor in developing the NGO sector, has turned into reality.  Qiu will serve as the project’s U.S.-based coordinator, housed at the School. 

The Henry Luce Foundation support will focus on promoting and influencing the regulation and legislation of the NGO sector in China.

Click here to see video from the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice and the Beijing Normal University One Foundation Philanthropic Research Institute.

Richard J. Gelles

Richard J. Gelles

Two Penn Graduate Students Attend Annual Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany

Jacquie Posey | | 215-898-6460
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

PHILADELPHIA -- University of Pennsylvania graduate students Danielle Reifsnyder and Renuka Nayak are among 75 U.S. student researchers selected to attend the 60th Annual Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students in Germany. 

The June 27-July 2 meeting brought the best and brightest minds in science and medicine together with up-and-coming student and junior researchers.  Each morning Nobel Laureates in chemistry, physics or physiology/medicine lectured in their research specialties.  Afternoon sessions provided participants additional opportunities to talk to Laureates and network with more than 650 international students and junior researchers.

The students and researchers participating in the meeting were nominated and selected by sponsoring agencies and organizations.  The U.S. Department of Energy, Mars Inc., the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and Oak Ridge Associated Universities are this year’s sponsors.

Reifsnyder, a third-year chemistry Ph.D. student was sponsored by the Department of Energy.  The NIH sponsored Nayak, a seventh year M.D.-Ph.D. student.

“Danielle and Renuka were great representatives of the U.S. and of Penn,” Sam Held of ORAU, who handled the administrative logistics for the nomination process and the trip planning, said.  “Seeing them interact with the Laureates, other U.S. students and their international peers was a pleasure.  They did a great job relaying the great science going on at Penn and are definitely on the right path for brilliant scientific careers.”

Details about the 2010 meeting are available at

Danielle Reifsnyder

Danielle Reifsnyder

Renuka Nayak

Renuka Nayak

Getting ”Naked” at Penn’s Arthur Ross Gallery

Dejay B. Duckett | | 215-898-3617
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

“Naked: The University Collection Unveiled” opens at the University of Pennsylvania’s Arthur Ross Gallery on Aug. 28. 

Featuring 35 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and photographs of the nude from the first century B.C.E. to the present, “Naked” showcases the history of beauty and the human body, documenting the evolution of the definition of beauty.

The exhibit includes works by Albrecht Durer, Marisol Escobar, an unidentified Greek sculptor, Henry Moore, Eadweard Muybridge, Helmut Newton, Auguste Rodin, Niki de Sainte Phalle and Edward Steichen.

Free lectures and self-guided tours are available in September and October.

“Naked” is organized in collaboration with the Office of the Curator at the University of Pennsylvania and runs through Oct. 31.

The Arthur Ross Gallery is at 220 S. 34th St. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and weekends, noon-5 p.m.

Additional information is available at 215-898-2083 or

Click here to watch the YouTube exhibit feature.

Fouls Go Left: Soccer Referees May Be Biased Based on Play’s Direction of Motion

Kim Guenther | | 215-200-2312
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Soccer referees may have an unconscious bias towards calling fouls based on a play’s direction of motion, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that soccer experts made more foul calls when action moved right-to-left, or leftward, compared to rightward action, suggesting that two referees watching the same play from different vantage points may be inclined to make a different call.


Click here for full release.

Tiny horse, big surgery

Monday, July 12, 2010

He is Tank, and, at 70 pounds, he barely skims the knees of an average person. A malformed right forelimb made surgery a challenge for the team at New Bolton Center. (Penn Vet)

Making the Invisible Visible: Verbal Cues Enhance Visual Detection, Says Penn Researcher

Jordan Reese | | 215-573-6604
Monday, July 12, 2010

PHILADELPHIA –- Cognitive psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania and University of California have shown that an image displayed too quickly to be seen by an observer can be detected if the participant first hears the name of the object.

Through a series of experiments published in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers found that hearing the name of an object improved participants’ ability to see it, even when the object was flashed onscreen in conditions and speeds (50 milliseconds) that would render it invisible.  Surprisingly, the effect seemed to be specific to language. A visual preview did not make the invisible target visible. Getting a good look at the object before the experiment did nothing to help participants see it flashed. 

The study demonstrated that language can change what we see and can also enhance perceptual sensitivity. Verbal cues can influence even the most elementary visual processing and inform our understanding of how language affects perception.

Researchers led by psychologist Gary Lupyan of the Department of Psychology at Penn, had participants complete an object detection task in which they made an object-presence or -absence decision to briefly presented capital letters.

Other experiments within the study further defined the relationship between auditory cues and identification of visual images. For example, researchers reasoned that if auditory cues help with object detection by encouraging participants to mentally picture the image, then the cuing effect might disappear when the target moved on screen.  The study found that verbal cues still clued participants in.  No matter what position on screen the target showed up the effect of the auditory cue was not diminished, an advantage over visual cues.

Researchers also found that the magnitude of the cuing effect correlated with each participant’s own estimation of the vividness of their mental imagery.  Using a common questionnaire, researchers found that those who consider their mental imagery particularly vivid scored higher when provided an auditory cue.

The team went on to determine that the auditory cue improved detection only when the cue was correct—that is the target image and the verbal cue had to match.  According to researchers, hearing the image labeled evokes an image of the object, strengthening its visual representation and thus making it visible.

“This research speaks to the idea that perception is shaped moment-by-moment by language,” said Lupyan.  “Although only English speakers were tested, the results suggest that because words in different languages pick out different things in the environment, learning different languages can shape perception in subtle, but pervasive ways.”

The single study is part of a greater effort by Lupyan and other Penn psychologists to understand how high-level cognitive expectation can influence low-level sensory processing, in this case verbal cues.  For years, cognitive psychologists have known that directing participant’s attention to a general location improves reaction times to target objects appearing in that location.  More recently, experimental evidence has shown that semantic information can influence what one sees in surprising ways. For instance, hearing words that associate with directions of motion, such as a falling “bomb,” can interfere with an observer’s ability to quickly recognize the next movement they see.  Moreover, hearing a word that labels a target improves the speed and efficiency of the search.  For instance, when searching for the number 2 among 5’s, participants are faster to find the target when they actually hear “find the two” immediately prior to the search – even when 2 has been the target all along.

The study was conducted by Lupyan of Penn’s Department of Psychology and Michael Spivey of the University of California, Merced. 

Research was conducted with funding from the National Science Foundation.

Gary Lupyan

Gary Lupyan