Building a Landmark of Twenty-First-Century Learning

January 28, 2019

Three generous gifts have launched Penn GSE on the path to a state-of-the-art building expansion. Support from Lee Spelman Doty, W’76, and George E. Doty, Jr., W’76; Douglas R. Korn, W’84, and Betsy Korn; and David N. Roberts, W’84, and Deborah Roberts, is providing momentum to merge the 3700 Walnut Street building with nearby Stiteler Hall and add a new entrance, a four-story student pavilion, and a two-story adjoining building with classrooms and an innovation lab. Inspired by the work of Penn GSE, the donors praise the plan to bring the major­ity of the School’s degree programs into a central location with flexible, technologically advanced learning spaces.

Rendering is representational and subject to change. Image courtesy of Atkin Olshin Schade Architects

“The expansion will revitalize and modernize Penn GSE’s foot­print and teaching spaces as the School pursues its ambitious goals for its second century,” says Doug Korn. As chair of the Extraordinary Impact Campaign and a member of the Penn GSE Board of Over­seers, he is enthusiastic about the power of education and Penn GSE’s work to advance it. “Education is the building block of any productive society. It improves lives, creates opportunity, and is the basis of a strong democracy,” he says. “I am excited about the effectiveness and passion with which Penn GSE is improving education locally, nationally, and globally.”

Penn GSE’s impact has likewise inspired David Roberts, chair of the Penn GSE Board of Overseers. “Penn GSE has continued to reach new heights under Dean Pam Grossman’s leadership,” he says. Roberts, whose daughter, Lauren Roberts, C’10, is a teacher, takes a particular interest in how the upgraded facility will enhance the School’s ability to prepare future teachers. “It’s one thing to talk to future teachers about what they can do with physical classroom space, but it’s so much more powerful to be able to say, ‘Here’s what an actual twenty-first-century classroom looks like in terms of the layout, furniture, and technology,’” he says.

“In order to keep in­novating and having impact, you need a state-of-the-art space.”

Describing her inspiration, Lee Spelman Doty points to Penn GSE’s role in fulfilling the University’s overall mission. “The work of GSE fits in very nicely with Penn’s vision of innovation, impact, and inclusion,” she says. Doty has spent years championing Penn’s mission, currently as vice chair of the University’s Power of Penn Campaign, a member of the Penn Board of Trustees, and a member of the Penn GSE Board of Overseers, and previously as Penn Alumni president. She views Penn GSE’s planned facility as a “magnet” that will draw prospective students and faculty, as well as partners across the University, to join the School in advancing education. “Penn GSE is doing pioneering work in terms of how you educate educators, how you develop curricula, and how you bring new ideas to the classroom,” she says. “In order to keep in­novating and having impact, you need a state-of-the-art space.”

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of The Penn GSE Magazine.

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