Amy Gutmann

"Winners for the Losing Team:" An Inspiring Speech At Penn by Geoffrey Canada

Over the years, some great speeches have been given at the University of Pennsylvania. As an undergraduate long ago, I was responsible for bringing Robert F. Kennedy and Jackie Robinson to Penn. (An invitation I sent to Martin Luther King, Jr. shortly before his tragic death led to his gracious telegram of regrets). And I remember being thrilled with optimism after hearing labor leader Walter Reuther address students at the Wharton School. Much more recently, I attended enthusiastic speeches by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton there.

But perhaps the greatest of all Penn speeches, from my perspective at least, was one I did not attend: Geoffrey Canada's address to the University of Pennsylvania graduating class of 2012, reported in great detail by Maarvi Singh, of Penn's Class of 2013, in the July/August Pennsylvania Gazette, Penn's high quality alumni magazine. See http://www.upenn.edu/gazette/0712/gaz01.html. The text of the speech can be found in The Pennsylvania Almanac at http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/volumes/v58/n34/comm-canada.html . A You Tube tape of the speech (with better sound quality than the one posted on the You Tube site itself) can be found at http://wilkes-university.blogspot.com/2012/06/penn-2012-commencement-add... .

Geoffrey Canada was one of seven recipients of honorary degrees in May, and his speech stole the show, relegating even a thoughtful sppech by Penn President Amy Gutmann calling for more societal collaboration and describing current graduating students as the "collaboration generation" to the sidelines.

Make Less than $100K? Go to Penn Without Loans.

Penn President Amy Gutmann recently announced the following initiative:

Today we are announcing a far reaching new financial aid initiative that will eliminate loans for financially eligible undergraduate students regardless of family income, making it possible for students from a broad range of economic backgrounds to graduate debt-free.

Penn's new program is the latest step in our efforts to widen access for students from all economic backgrounds, by expanding our no-loan program from low and lower-middle income families to include middle and upper-middle income families.

This new program will begin in September 2008, and include all eligible undergraduates, not just entering freshmen. Effective that year, students with calculated family incomes under $100,000 will receive loan-free aid packages, while families above that level will receive a 10 percent reduction in need-based loans.

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