26 Oct 2011

Sphinx Alumni Newsletter: Homecoming Edition 2011

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Dear  Proud Sphinx Alumni,  

It is our hope that this newsletter, to be distributed quarterly, can continue to update the global Sphinx community of over 1,800 about relevant developments across both the alumni communities  and current Sphinx class on campus.

We’ve gathered information from both alums and current students, but also know that this newsletter is in its early days. We welcome any feedback or input you might have to help improve the content and meaningfulness of this newsletter. Please send any feedback to samirmm@alumni.upenn.edu

Thank you and enjoy reading,

Merrie Frankel – Chair, Samir Malik – Secretary, Anita Saggurti – Chief

Sphinx Board of Governors

In this Newsletter:

  1. Sphinx at Homecoming Weekend 2011
  2. Bios of new class
  3. Sphinx on campus
  4. Sphinx alumni news
  5. Mentoring update
  6. Support the Sphinx Alumni Fund

1.      Upcoming events: Sphinx at Homecoming

We have FOUR opportunities for you to come see some fellow Sphinx members during Homecoming Weekend at Penn (Friday November 4 – Sunday November 6, 2011):

Meet and Greet with the Board of Governors*

Saturday, November 5
9:30AM-11AM at Room 370, Hunstman Hall

Come give feedback on what you want the Sphinx alumni network to do, and find out more about how you can help give back to others what your great experience in Sphinx gave to you.

* Please note:  the mission of the Sphinx Senior Society Graduate Board of Governors (BOG) is to create and implement both a comprehensive, proactive program of outreach to the approximately 1,800 Sphinx Senior Society alumni, and a career and life mentoring program for the current Sphinx undergraduate membership and Sphinx alumni.


Saturday, November 5
11AM-1PM on College Green

Come by the Sphinx table at Quakerfest and get some Sphinx gear and meet the newest members of Sphinx Senior Society.  We will be selling Sphinx Polo T-shirts, black caps, and pins.

Africana Studies: Transforming the World

Saturday, November 5, 2-4pm
Claudia Cohen Hall, G17

John Edgar Wideman, ’63, a celebrated author, second African-American to win a Rhodes Scholarship, professor at Brown, first director of African-American studies at Penn and Sphinx Pharisee, is speaking at a panel during Homecoming alongside Joshua Bennett, Sphinx ’10. Join us for a panel discussion with celebrated Black alumni and Africana Studies faculty on the discipline of Africana Studies and how it is transforming the world both within and outside of the academy.

Sphinx-Friar Post-Game Reception

Saturday, November 5, 3:30PM-5:00PM
Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall

Socialize with fellow Friars and Sphinx alumni along with current Society seniors to celebrate before the game. Friars should contact Sally Katz; C’82, at pennfriars@aol.com, and Sphinx members should contact Lex Ruby Howe, C’07, at alexisrh@upenn.edu.
Reservations not necessary but appreciated. Admission: $10 at the door.


2.      Bios of Sphinx ‘12

 A new class of Sphinx from the class of 2012 was inducted last April. That class selected a few additional peers from their own class for induction this past month. Check out the bios of the class of 2012 Sphinx here: http://www.sphinxseniorsociety.com/sphinx_members_ss2011.html

Welcome the new members to this community!


3.      Sphinx on Campus – A Word from the Chief, Anita Saggurti, C’12

It has been another lovely beginning to the Fall Semester. And as you all know, the Fall Semester is not only a time for new freshman, NSO, and apple cider, but also a time for our fall smoker, initiations, and seven wonderful additions to our current class of Sphinx. So let me be the first to introduce you to our newest Sphinges: Gabby Abrishamian-Garcia, Luis Ernesto Del Valle, Ruani Ribe, Faye Cheng, Anthony Francomacaro, Zachary Bell, and Geoffroy Bablon. Now with our class complete, we are ready to begin an amazing senior year.

Sphinx is a family, and as such we do think it is critical to support one another in all aspects of college life, whether it be academic, social, or extracurricular. We have been regularly attending Tom Brandt’s soccer games. We also attended the Mask and Wig show, to support Wolete Moko, the Excelano Underground, to support Courtney Charleston. Both performances were spectacular. Additionally, a few sphinges tried out to be models for Dzine 2 Show’s fashion shows and magazine, to support me. We have also gone to events during MSA’s week, to support Sarah Ijaz, and supported one another during Sex Camp( a festive event providing factual, Penn-tailored sexual health information and resources). Many of the groups represented by Sphinx had booths during this event. And finally, we will be attending the Penn Dance show, to support Natalie Riviera, the Without A Net show, to support Joe Lawless, the Strictly Funk show, to support Gabby Abrishamin-Garcia, and the Onda Latina show, to support Natalie Riviera.

Sphinx also had a little get together organized by Chaz Howard (Chief 2001 and current Chaplain) and Jeff Tillus. We all had a wonderful time getting to know Chaz better and talking to him about our upcoming year and his experience with Sphinx. We were touched that Chaz cared so much about us to host this event. That is true Sphinx Love. Finally we will be having our lunch with Amy Gutmann (an Honorary Sphinx), on the 26th of October.

That’s mostly everything Sphinx has been up to lately. We are all really looking forward to homecoming and the Sphinx-Friars mixer!

From Ben Franklin’s Legacy,

Anita Saggurti- Chief 2012


4.      Sphinx Alumni News

 Sphinx and Penn Chaplain Chaz Howard, ’00, on NPR’s “This I Believe”

University Chaplain and Chief ’00 featured on National Public Radio. Listen to the segment here: http://www.whyy.org/91FM/tib_howard.html

Sphinx Franklin Shen’s (C’03) Food Truck Featured on The Cooking Channel and the Food Network

Starting a food truck with some friends  a little over a year and a half ago, Franklin’s food truck Sugar Philly is making the rounds on national TV.  Selling gourmet desserts and best known for its French Macarons, the truck has been highlighted not only in magazines such as Business Week and the National Culinary Review, but can be seen on The Cooking Channel’s Eat St series and most recently on Sugar High with Duff Goldman (the Ace of Cakes) on the Food Network.  Catch it on OnDemand or stop by the truck for a taste!

New green business in Philadelphia makes the case for smart, green Jobs

July 8, 2011 | Robert P. Casey, Jr. Blog

After graduating from the Wharton School, Mr. Gabriel R. Mandujano, C’ and W’-05, and a Sphinx Society member, used his dual degree in business and urban studies to help Mexico with its efforts to create a sustainable transit system.  While there, he discovered that laundry, with its heavy use of water, electricity, and chemical cleaners, has a significant environmental impact.  He also thought it could be big business. Using an SBA micro-loan he founded Wash Cycle Laundry, an innovative new business that provides sustainable laundry service to homes and businesses around Philadelphia.


Ben Alisuag (’09) won a  Fulbright Teaching and Research Fellowship

Ben will be conducting research and teaching in South Africa this year.


5.      Mentoring update

“Sphinx Links” Mentoring Program Matches 10 Sphinx Class of 2011 Graduates With Sphinx Alumni; Seeks More Mentors for Sphinx Class of 2012

The Sphinx Senior Society Board of Governors created the “Sphinx Links” mentoring program in 2010 to offer the career and life advice of experienced Sphinx alumni primarily to recently graduated Sphinx members but also to other Sphinx alumni

This past school year Sphinx Links matched 10 Sphinx Class of 2011 graduates with Sphinx alumni in business, entertainment, finance, journalism, law, medicine, new media and public health. The Sphinx alumni advised the recent graduates on their job searches, helped them practice for interviews, and also discussed post-Penn career opportunities, including work, graduate school, public service or volunteer activities.

Sphinx Links also provided contact information on Sphinx alumni in New York City working in the “government/legal area” to a Sphinx alumnus now working in NYC as a government prosecutor and thinking of making a job change.

 The new Sphinx Links program has been well received by both mentors and mentees. For example, one alumni mentor wrote his mentee and he “spoke for over an hour yesterday evening. We had a good chat about our backgrounds and his upcoming job search, and I helped him to prep for an interview this week. We definitely intend to keep in touch, especially over the upcoming several weeks during his search. Thanks for connecting us!”

In a similar positive vein, one Class of 2011 mentee now working as a paralegal but planning to apply to law school in 2012 wrote that she found “invaluable” the conversations she’s had so far with both a recent Sphinx alumna who also worked for a year and then started Harvard Law School as well as with a Sphinx alumnus who’s been practicing law in Philadelphia for many years.

The role of a Sphinx Links mentor and your level of involvement will be entirely up to you and your time commitment should be relatively limited. As we state on the Sphinx web site, “you may exchange an occasional email or telephone call, help a student prepare for an interview, counsel a recent graduate entering the job market, advise a fellow Sphinx alumnus or alumna considering a job or career change, provide advice and expertise on an industry, market or profession, or even offer an internship or job.”

For the Sphinx Class of 2012, we are now seeking Sphinx Links alumni mentors. To become such a mentor, please fill out the questionnaire on the Sphinx web site.

For more information about this Sphinx mentoring program, or to participate as a mentor or mentee, please also email Steve Klitzman, C’66, member of the Sphinx Board of  Governors, and Coordinator, Sphinx Links, at links@sphinxseniorsociety.com, or sklitzma@aol.com, or call him at 202-418-1763.

(Thanks to Steve Klitzman for his diligence in initiating, organizing, and matching mentors and mentees)


6.      The Sphinx Alumni Fund

The Sphinx Alumni Fund has successfully supported and strengthened the activities of the Sphinx Senior Society and the Sphinx alumni community over the last year, and we are now pleased to announce the new online giving tool.

Contributions are critical to supporting the activities of the Sphinx Senior Soceity members (current students) and alumni activities, so please help support the current Sphinx class and alumni community.

While you may give at any level, suggestions include:

Chief – $250
Pharisee – $100
Scribe – $50

Please click the link below to Donate Today:  http://bit.ly/SphinxAlumniFund


We look forward to seeing you at one (or all) of the Homecoming events, or in the not too distant future.

Best and many cheers!

Sphinx Board of Governors


PS. You can reminisce about your classmates, give to the Sphinx Alumni Fund, and much more all on the Sphinx website at www.sphinxseniorsociety.com.

PPS. You’ll also find attached a gift form for the Sphinx Alumni Fund. Donations to the Fund are tax deductable and go toward the improvement of the Sphinx student experience, as well as hosting alumni functions at Penn and throughout the country.

PPPS. Find us on Facebook at  http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2200013241