Welcome Home, Class of 2024!

Scroll down for our Summer 2020 Newsletter!

Greetings from Faculty Director Ralph Rosen

Congratulations on joining the Penn community! We’re all very excited to greet you when you arrive on campus. Riepe College House is a fantastic place to live and we’re looking forward to showing you why. Of course, I don’t need to tell you that this won’t be an ordinary opening of the year, and we are still figuring out all the logistics required to keep everyone safe during the pandemic, while allowing us to get to know each other in our residence. Many of the new protocols and procedures are outlined in the Student Campus Compact, but we will also send out further information as it becomes available during the summer!  

I’m the Faculty Director of the house, and you’ll be able to find me in Ward 205, where I live with my wife Ellen. I teach in the Department of Classical Studies. As a classicist, I spend much of my time thinking about the ancient world, and am fascinated by all aspects of pre-modernity. But it’s the connections with our own world that especially excite me, whether it’s comparing ancient and modern comedians, social structures, or political theorists. Ellen worked for several decades in the banking world as both a lawyer and businessperson, and currently serves on the board of the Presser Foundation and volunteers in the library of the Lea School for the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children. We have two grown children, Ben who lives in South Philadelphia and is a composer/musician, and Charlotte who is a grad student in US History at Northwestern University, specializing in the history of the carceral state. Last but not least is Miles, the curious and adorable kitten who joined us in Riepe last spring. He’s also eager to meet all of you!

Ellen and I have many interests that go well beyond the academic, and are eager to share them with you—music, theater, art, and cooking. In a normal year anyone who wants to be initiated into the mysteries of pulling the perfect shot of espresso will definitely want to stop by our Sunday Open Houses. We obviously won’t be able to host such in-house gatherings in the fall semester, but I’m hoping at some point in the spring it will safe for us to resume this hallmark bi-weekly event! We also enjoy listening to music on our vacuum tube stereo equipment. We still have a turntable, and lots of LPs. The specialty of the house is jazz, but we have lots of classical music, rock, hip-hop and indie pop as well. We hope you’ll share your favorites with us, too, if only virtually at first!

Throughout Penn’s College House system, each house has several faculty members in residence, and Riepe is no exception.  Three of my colleagues also reside in Riepe:

Dr. Amy Stornaiuolo lives with her husband Vincenzo in McIlhenny (first floor). She leads the Riepe Mentors Program and reaches out to undergraduates interested in education, digital literacies, urban issues, and cross-cultural dialogue online. She is also director of the Education Minor in Urban Education and can advise people interested in learning about education at Penn. Amy and Vincenzo are former restaurateurs, and love to share their cooking experience with students—we hope to have some virtual cooking classes with them this Fall. These are not to be missed! Stay tuned for other regular events from the Stornaiuolo house that include Italian language and culture events and writing support.

Dr. Sebastián Gil-Riaño is an Assistant Professor in the Department of the History and Sociology of Science, with particular research interests in race and globalization in the history of science.  Sebastián, his wife Adriann and their young children live in their apartment located in Magee on the second floor. Sebastián and Adriann love hosting film nights! Also be on the lookout for virtual Riepe Writing Retreats, hosted by Sebastián and Amy.

And of course House Dean Dr. Marilynne Diggs-Thompson (or Dean Diggs, as you’ll learn to call her) completes the Riepe faculty team. Besides making Riepe hum along like a well-oiled machine, she teaches in the Anthropology department as an Adjunct Assistant Professor, with special interests in the anthropology of consumerism and markets.  She is assisted in the Riepe House office by Alaina (Lainie) Bailey, who is the Riepe House Coordinator. As a recent Penn graduate, Lainie can be a great resource regarding all things Penn.

Last, we have a wonderful staff of RAs and GAs. They are incredibly helpful and a lot of fun!  Among many other things, they will help you settle in to Penn, and get to know the great city of Philadelphia!

All of us are looking forward to another great year at Riepe, in the Quad, and at Penn.

We look forward to meeting all of you soon and to welcoming you as part of our Riepe House family! See you in August!

Read our 2020 Newsletter here.