“We are all here tonight, because Wharton did something special for all of us,” affirmed Al Shoemaker, W’60, Hon’95. The former chairman of the board at the University of Pennsylvania continued, “Regardless of whether you come from Sweden or a little town of 6,000 people in Western Pennsylvania, like I did, it was a life-changing event. That’s why it’s important to support scholarships to Wharton, so everybody has a chance to get ahead in this world.”
That sentiment was echoed by the four honorees. Ronald O. Perelman, W’64, WG’66, who received the Joseph Wharton Award for Lifetime Leadership, gave a powerful personal testimony of the lifechanging advice he received at Wharton. Jacob Wallenberg, W’80, WG’81, honored with the Joseph Wharton Award for Leadership, reflected on the broadening of his world, coming from Sweden to Wharton. Brett Hurt, WG’99, who won the Joseph Wharton Award for Young Leadership, shared how he was “absolutely transformed, maybe more than most. I literally came out of my shell at Wharton.
I was embraced at Wharton, surrounded by incredible students and incredible professors, and started my first business at Wharton.” D. Wayne Silby, W’70, received the Joseph Wharton Award for Social Impact. He credited the school with “the financial engineering skills to start one of the earliest money market funds, safe but with high returns” then going on to create the first social impact investing fund.
Kenny Beck, WG’87, president of the WCNY, tested the audience on their knowledge of school history — Do you know where the first President of the University taught his ethics class? Kenny reflected on the more than 200 events held by the Club this year, and reiterated WCNY’s three key principles — enlightened self interest, tangible results and small interactive events — all wrapped around the concept of Take the Call. On a personal note, he asked attendees to recognize Dean Robertson, who is retiring, WCNY’s first president, Paul Paulson, WG’59, and former university president and noted historian, Sheldon Hackney, who passed this year. Most importantly, “with the talent inside and outside this room, we have a responsibility to one another and to the school to be a little less modest. Tell people …” he encouraged, “I went to Wharton!”