FeaturesJuly 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm

People Who Went To Penn: Mr. Piper Chapman a.k.a. Larry Smith

Not joke day, people. On Wednesdays, we wear orange, and UTB has a PSA: the real-life Larry from “Orange Is The New Black” went to Penn!

As ashamed as we are that we only now made this connection, it’s an honor to hold Piper’s hubby amongst our alumni. The felon-turned-author Piper Kerman, who consults for the flawless 12-time-Emmy-nominated (!) Netflix series based on her memoir, is IRL still married to Larry. And unlike his Bloom counterpart on “OITNB,” Smith is an accomplished journalist and is founder and editor of the online SMITH Magazine.

Smith also created the “Six Word Memoirs” project. His wife’s Twitter bio is hers: “In and out of hot water.” That’s for sure, dandelion.

Piper may have been starved out, felt up, teased, stalked, threatened and called Taylor Swift, but now we know she’s a Quaker’s (non-prison) wife!

FeaturesJune 22, 2014 at 4:58 pm

People Who Went To Penn: Paul R. Ehrlich

220px-Paul_Ehrlich_-_1974Have you ever looked at butterflies and thought: holy sh*t, one day the human race will be destroyed by over-consumption? Do you enjoy really, really overbearing sideburns? Do you know what the word zoology means? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you’d probably enjoy the work of Penn alum Paul R. Ehrlich.

Dr. Ehrlich graduated in 1953 with a degree in zoology and from there, got right into doing insect stuff. After receiving his PhD under the guidance of a world-renowned bee scholar, he became a professor at Stanford researching butterflies. That probably got pretty boring, so he decided to do the next best thing, and wrote a hugely controversial book about how we are all going to die of malnourishment. Yep. Read the rest of this entry »

FeaturesMay 21, 2014 at 8:17 pm

People Who Went To Penn: Elisha Kane

Elisha KaneGraduation is a time that reminds us all to think about what we want to accomplish in our lives. Too bad we’ll never out do Elisha Kane, who accomplished a shit ton of stuff despite having a name that probably got him beat up in the playground as a child. 

During his time here, he contracted rheumatic fever, which inspired him to graduate Penn’s med school in 1842—and also made him an immunological badass for surviving the sickness.

Post-graduation, he joined the Navy (read: have a totally amazing study abroad). If Kane were alive today, he’d start his study abroad stories with “Remember that time I negotiated a peace treaty with China” or “OMG do you remember when we were scaling that volcano in the Philippines but I so had to pee and…”

But after becoming ill again (and surviving again), he was sent by the US government for a dangerous Mexican-American War mission. As if he wasn’t already badass enough, he was able to survive a lance wound, and complete the task. Such a modern day Tom Cruise.

During an 1855 Arctic expedition on the USS Advance, EK wrote what would become his famous novel, Arctic Explorations. The book was used as both an informational guide and as a really good title for a porno that takes place in an igloo.

He fit all his heroics into a mere 37 years, and his funeral was the largest ever in America—until Lincoln’s a couple of years later. We thank Kane for his bravery, insight into the Arctic, and the ability to make anyone feel bad for not accomplishing anything in their lives. Hats off to you, you overachieving Penn alum.

FeaturesApril 26, 2014 at 1:08 pm

People Who Went To Penn: Charles Addams

Charles AddamsThe rumors are true: College Hall did serve as an inspiration for the Addams Family house. So it’s no surprise that Charles Addams, the famous dark cartoonist and creator of the Addams Family, went to Penn.

Born in the great state of New Jersey, Addams wasn’t your typical suburban youngster. He was obsessed with coffins and skeletons and would often spend time at the closest cemetery. But hey, we all have our thing. After he graduated from Penn in the early 1930’s, he accepted a job at the The New Yorker, receiving only $35 per cartoon, equivalent to about three scoops of Capo gelato.

His cartoons soon gained traction and fans. Though most of his fan mail came from legitimate criminals, he was approached to adapt his famous Addams Family cartoon into a TV show. The famous series aired on ABC from 1964-66, and spawned many films and spin-offs.

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FeaturesApril 19, 2014 at 4:42 pm

People Who Went To Penn: Nicholas Biddle

This week’s People Who Went To Penn is a l’il bit obscure and a whole lot of fun. Nicholas Biddle was a banker and diplomat in the early 19th century whose father was BFFs with Ben Franklin since the Revolution. As a financier with Penn connections from Daddy, he was basically your typical Quaker.

Even so, Biddle went pretty hard with the overachiever thing as he enrolled at Penn at age TEN. Because who doesn’t want a B.A. for their first double digits birthday? When Biddle became a SWUG at the ripe age of 14, though, the university denied him a degree because he was so young. Biddle basically said “forget you” to Penn and peaced out to Princeton (Ed. Note: Way to kick us when we’re down), where he graduated as his class valedictorian at 15. Read the rest of this entry »

FeaturesMarch 29, 2014 at 8:00 pm

People Who Went to Penn: Frank Luntz

Political drama at Penn is hardly a new phenomenon, as Penn alum and political consultant Frank Luntz knows. This well-known politico studied History and Political Science at Penn before going on to receive his Ph.D. in politics from Oxford University. Luntz regularly appears on shows including the Colbert Report, Good Morning America, and Meet the Press, and also writes op-eds for publications like the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

While Luntz is currently known for his work as a Republican party strategist, he was also an adjunct professor at Penn between 1989 and 1993. Luntz stirred up political drama in a typical Penn fashion when he challenged the students in his class to run in Undergraduate Assembly election (putting our dreaded midterms in some perspective). When the Nomination and Elections Committee objected to Luntz’s assignment, he made it known that he just DGAF, saying, “I will not fuck up my class by buckling to the NEC.”

The university eventually cancelled his classes two years later, which Luntz blames on a poll he published that described Penn as the Ivy with the lowest quality academics and the highest promiscuity. Between controversies over the democratic process and the high DFMO rate, it appears that not much has changed since Luntz’s time at Penn.

FeaturesMarch 22, 2014 at 8:57 pm

People Who Went To Penn: Laurene Powell Jobs

So you bought the Steve Jobs biography and haven’t gotten around to reading it? Can’t help ya with that, but we can tell you that the first Penn reference happens on page xv. In the “Characters” section, Laurene Powell is described as a “savvy and good-humored Penn graduate” who “married Steven Jobs in 1991.” (Hah! Suck on that, Susan Patton.)

But this lady isn’t just known for being Jobs’ beau. Homegirl went to Wharton, got her B.A. and her B.S. in Economics and then headed west to Stanford Business School—but not before slaying biddies as a trading strategist at Goldman Sachs for three years. OCR success story, right there.

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FeaturesMarch 1, 2014 at 10:02 am

People Who Went To Penn: Hal Prince

pri0-001aAnd a 5, 6, 7, 8! 

…was probably something Harold “Hal” Prince has shouted a lot in his career. The incredibly successful Broadway director and producer, now 86, got his start at this fine institution in 1948. At Penn, he was a member of Penn Players, managed a campus radio station, and wrote/acted/directed weekly play adaptations. In other words, he took the phrase “I can’t, I have rehearsal” to a whole new level.

He graduated in 3 years because he was ready to GTFO and become the most successful man in musical theatre. But first he went to the army, serving in Germany and hanging out at a club that would become the muse for his first hit musical “Cabaret.” From there, he started working on the Great White Way, directing and producing with the biggest stars of Broadway. Prince has a whopping TWENTY-ONE Tony Awards, earning him the title of most Tony Awards held by one individual and eternal bragging rights to his BFF Sondheim. Basically, he’s had a part in every big musical out there, including Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, Fiddler On The Roof, Company and Phantom of the Opera.

And in the spirit of all successful Penn alums, Prince gave back to his alma matter with a namesake gift! Next time you’re in the Harold Prince Theater in Annenberg, start planning what you will give to the university upon your future financial success. Another dorm? A lady friend to sit in the bench with Ben? The possibilities are endless.

FeaturesDecember 5, 2013 at 10:45 am

People Who Went To (Summer School At) Penn: Miley Cyrus

[Disclaimer: This post was part of our Joke Day series. Our logo was Button the Under for a whole day and you didn't even notice.] Before she came in like a wrecking ball, she came in late to Huntsman Hall. That’s right, the biggest headline-maker of 2013 is a secret Quaker who can shake her money maker. Of course, the ex-Disney starlet didn’t have time for a full college experience, but most don’t know Miley took summer classes at Wharton in 2009 (and we don’t mean her impersonator)!

Then 16 years old, the precocious pop princess just couldn’t be tamed and was accepted to Penn…protecting her privacy under an alias, of course. Can you blame her for wanting the best of both worlds?! According to sources, Cyrus was researching the American educational system for her meaty role in the wrenching critical darling “The Last Song,” in which she delivered an award-winning performance as a grumpy, horny high school student during summer vacation.

An eyewitness confirms that as professional as her session at Penn was meant to be, the “Bangerz” babe couldn’t stop/wouldn’t stop twerking down Locust, presumably already rehearsing for her 2013 VMA performance. So diligent – she’s just being Miley!

FeaturesNovember 23, 2013 at 10:27 am

People Who Went To Penn: Alice Paul

alice paulIs the end of the semester grind wearing you down? Are you looking for a motivational boost to carry you through the six days until Thanksgivukkah? Look no further than Alice Paul, a Penn alum and suffragist leader who took badassery to another level.

A literal Quaker turned Quaker, Paul came to Penn in 1905 and earned an M.A. in Sociology and a Ph.D in Economics. Before coming to Penn, Alice took some time off to go to England and like, discover herself. She ended up joining a militant suffragette movement, personally breaking more than forty-eight windows and getting arrested several times—just some typical semester abroad shenanigans.

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