Sunday, September 02, 2007

So much to pen about Upenn

Last full week we spent with our Son, Saksham at Upenn. The University authorities had made a full orientation program not only for the students but also for parents.

The move-in started on the 27th of August. In the evening there was high tea with President, Ms Amy Gutman, a very impressive leader, political scientist and philosopher. The party was very warm and every invitee had been well researched by the staff. Edward Resovsky, MD, International Development just went after my blog, Joe Riverly, Associate Director, International Development, Medha Narvekar, AVP, Alumni Relations, Leslie Delauter, Director, College Houses and Academic Services, all were very courteous and polite. They were at pains to explain the university and its various traditions. Sometimes if they did not know the answers to some questions (not being their subject) they went out of the way to get the answers from others.

The next day was the tour of the University and the welcome by Provost Ron Daniels. He too was impressive, objective and caring. He also went out of the way to meet people and address their anxieties. Here we met a fabulous person called Maryann McDonagh, Regional Director International Admissions. She knew India, Indians and the Indian students better than most Indians. What Energy she had, both physical and mental. My family was amazed.

On the 29th we had seminars on insurance, safety etc and we met another fantastic personality, Maureen S Rush, VP- Public Safety. The way she had worked with the Philadelphia police to bring crime down by 49% in last 4 years is magic. The way they have bound the Philadelphia police and the Penn Security through a shared vision and common value system is to be seen to be believed. I hope some day I can call her to lecture the Indian Police.

On the 30th we met Eduardo, the Chief of Penn Engineering and the way he explained every course and every building as if each was a part of his soul and body also was really great. Similar with George Hain, ED Penn Engg - Alumni relations.

Penn truly belongs to the World's greatest, not because my Son has gone there but for the simple reason that I have visited enough International and Indian Educational institutions to know the difference. Each stream is well researched, well built and staffed with the best. Also, each and every one I met from Penn spoke the language as if it was coming from a parents' heart, they knew their customers well. Knowledge is success and in depth knowledge is absolute success. Preaching is no good if not practiced. Penn showed the way.

More power to Amy and team. I learnt during this visit what true and cutting education is all about.

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