Founders Day 2024 Date is Set 

The Beta Pi Alumni Association is pleased to announce that Founders Day 2024 is set for March 23, 2024. Once again, the occasion will be celebrated at the University Sheraton Hotel. The alumni association meeting and the meeting of the Alpha Phi Delta Housing Corp. will be scheduled at the Sheraton prior to the dinner.

Further information regarding times, costs to attend the dinner, and guest room rates at the Sheraton, can be found in this eLetter.

Shield & Diamond Announcement

The Pi Kappa Alpha Inter/National Fraternity has announced that the Shield and Diamond magazine will be issued twice each year in a larger format (i.e. additional pages). Previously, the Shield & Diamond had four issues each year.

Jeffrey Marrazzo Honored by Philadelphia Magazine

The November 2023 issue of Philadelphia magazine, in an article honoring the 150 Most Influential Philadelphians for 2023, named Jeff Marrazzo, Beta Pi ’97, as one of the 150 people that are “movers, shakers, power players and doers driving this burgeoning, vibrant region boldly into the future”.

Ranked as number 85 on the list, brother Marrazzo is described as “Gene-ius” with the following comment: “Stock: Mellowing out? Since exiting Spark, the co-founder and CEO is not only still engaged in advising bio-tech companies (board seats include Prime Medicine and Chroma Medicine, plus a just-announced appointment at CHOP); he seems to have the ear of Josh Shapiro on economic and business affairs as well.” Josh Shapiro is the Governor of Pennsylvania. 

Also appearing in this issue of Philadelphia magazine as one of Philadelphia’s most influential is Katherine High. Ms. High was the leading scientist at Spark Therapeutics that developed Luxturna that earned the first FDA approval for “a gene therapy for an inherited disease”. For her work, she received an award from the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. Luxturna was developed when brother Marrazzo was CEO at Spark Therapeutics. 

Mackler Family Receives Special Recognition for ALS Fundraiser

The October issue of the ALS United Mid-Atlantic (formerly the ALS Association of Greater Philadelphia) newsletter provides special recognition to Harvey Mackler, Beta Pi ’72, and the entire Mackler family, by showing a picture of brother Mackler and other members of the family, with the following message:

“Thank you, Mackler Family. On Sunday, November 5th, the Mackler family held their annual Scott A. Mackler 5K Run/Walk to benefit Assistive Technology for ALS families. Events like this make our programs possible.”

Scott Mackler, Beta Pi ’75, valiantly fought the debilitating effects of ALS for many years. Every year, the Mackler family organizes and manages this event. All proceeds of the event go toward ALS programming. The Mackler family personally pays for all costs associated with staging the event.

Controversy at Penn Updates

As reported in the Daily Pennsylvanian:

On November 15, 2023, the Daily Pennsylvanian reports that the former Governor of New Jersey and present candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. President, Chris Christie, called for President Liz Magill to be “fired without hesitation”.

On November 16, 2023, the Daily Pennsylvanian reports that the University of Pennsylvania is one of six schools of higher education being investigated under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 due to “alleged” instances of antisemitism on campus.

The same article stated that the Brandeis Center, a Jewish legal rights advocacy group, filed a federal complaint with the Department of Education that Penn failed to respond to the harassment of Jewish students.

Further antisemitic acts have occurred. Projections of antisemitic messages have appeared on campus buildings. Also, there was a theft of an Israeli flag that was being flown on a Campus Apartments property. The police arrested a Penn student who has allegedly called the Hamas attack of October 7 to be “glorious” and made her feel “empowered and happy”.

In addition, the Penn administration notified the FBI after “staff members received antisemitic threats targeting Jewish community members and naming Penn Hillel and Lauder College House”. The specific threats were not presented in the DP article. However, it was noted that Hillel House was inspected by the Penn security force, after consultation with the FBI, with bomb-sniffing dogs.