Programs for Nov 1-30

November 2, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Speaker is Jeffrey Cooper. His topic – UPenn and Philadelphia: Maintaining Connections.

Jeffrey Cooper is Vice President for Government and Community Affairs at Penn. He will speak about current issues at the university, including its work in civic engagement and community outreach, its current building plans, and other matters involving its relationship with the city.

Before coming to Penn, Jeff worked for Governor Ed Rendell as chief counsel for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and as executive deputy general counsel for litigation. He practiced law in Philadelphia prior to joining the Rendell administration. Jeff received his B.A. from Northwestern University and his J.D. from Penn’s law school. His personal engagement with other Philadelphia institutions includes serving as president of the Athanaeum’s Board of Directors and as a board member of Lantern Theater Company, Global Philadelphia, the Economy League, and the Free Library.

November 6, Monday Quarterback Luncheon – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Tom Tropp is our Quarterback.

November 9, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Speaker is author Cordelia Biddle, on her newest novel They Believed They Were Safe.

It’s autumn 1962 in a small, picture-perfect New England college town when graduate student Mabel Gorne arrives with a single suitcase. Among the pampered daughters of the affluent at her college, she is an anomaly – a penniless midwesterner who must make her own way. And she fervently hopes to outrun her past, burying an unsettling secret. Cordelia Biddle, in the words of Publishers Weekly, “applies her skill for suspense storytelling to this tangled drama alive with yearning, duplicity, and revelations – all that readers crave in a lushly written novel tinged with the gothic, where even a drive through the woods is sumptuous and creepy.” Musing that They Believed They Were Safe (Vine Leaves Press, 2022) tells a story that really could have happened, the author will describe her dual interests in writing deeply realized fictional work and deeply researched historical nonfiction.

Cordelia Biddle teaches creative writing at Drexel’s Pennoni Honors College, and she received the Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence award in 2021. She last spoke to Innmates (via Zoom, in May 2021 during the Club’s Covid-19 shutdown) about her most recent nonfiction work, Biddle, Jackson, and a Nation in Turmoil: The Infamous Bank War (Sunbury, 2021). She credits her passion for history as a spur for her work on that book and on the biography, Saint Katharine: The Life Of Katharine Drexel (Westholme, 2014). The same passion marks her Martha Beale mysteries, set in 1840s Philadelphia. Her next book, a Philadelphia-centric novel titled I Remember You, will be published in January 2025.

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November 13, Monday Quarterback Luncheon – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Palmer Hartl is our Quarterback.

November 17, Friday Club Dinner, starting with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. Speaker is author Paula DiPerna. Her topic – Pricing the Priceless: Paradox and Potential to Meet the Global Climate Crisis.

Paula DiPerna will walk us along her path in probing conventional ideas of how and why we value our priceless natural assets as we do. She has taken on the challenge of finding practical ways to address climate change and the depletion of natural resources, digging into this basic contradiction: We set market values for dispensable products in billions of dollars, and we value the indispensable service provided by our natural assets, such as the atmosphere, at zero. She envisions new financial tools, such as forest resilience bonds and coral reef insurance – all intended to assign value to assets of nature that are taken for granted. Her book Pricing the Priceless: The Financial Transformation to Value the Planet, Solve the Climate Crisis, and Protect Our Most Precious Assets (Wiley, 2023) was listed in this year’s Financial Times “Best Summer Books: Economics.”

To write her book, Paula traveled the world. She will track her adventures and her personal journey, from swimming over coral reefs, to meeting with the Pope, to scrutinizing carbon markets. As an environmental and philanthropic policy strategist, she currently serves as special advisor to CDP North America (established in 2000 as the Carbon Disclosure Project). She also serves on the Distinguished Advisory Group of the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM); the Board of Advisors of Global Kids, a US nonprofit whose mission is to develop global citizenship; the Sustainability Advisory Council of Jupiter Asset Management; and the Board of Directors of The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest oral and video archive of profiles of 20th and 21st century African American leaders. Formerly, Paula was President of CCX International, the world’s first integrated cap-and-trade carbon market; President of the Joyce Foundation; and writer, producer and Vice President for International Affairs at The Cousteau Society, working closely with oceans pioneer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Women’s Forum of New York.

November 20, Monday Quarterback Luncheon – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Alina Macneal is our Quarterback.

November 23, Thanksgiving Day

November 27, Monday Quarterback Luncheon – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Roberta Kangilaski is our Quarterback.

November 30, Thursday Luncheon Roundtable – 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.

Speaker is Marta Hanson, honoring Nathan Sivin’s legacy as “a gentleman scholar.” Her topic – Nathan Sivin: Self-Proclaimed Generalist and Dilettante.

Two scrolls hung In Nathan and Carole Sivin’s dining room for decades. One of them, now in the Inn’s Sivin Room, bears the bold calligraphy of Japanese artist Yamabuchi in the single character Shen, meaning Spirit, the central essence of our humanity. The second scroll, written in 1833 by Lin Zexu, a Chinese politician who forcefully opposed the opium trade that led to the First Opium War (1839-42), states the “five pleasures of one’s study” – first, as a place for meditation; second, for reading books; third, for regarding mountains, waterways, flowers, and trees; fourth, for discussing with good friends; and fifth, for teaching one’s juniors. Building on the themes of these scrolls, Marta will focus on what the Sivin scroll collection tells us about the artistic and scholarly networks Nathan formed in East Asia. He described himself as a generalist, even a dilettante, but there was nothing superficial about his knowledge nor amateurish about his writing. At a time when academic specialization was increasingly valued, he embodied the broad learning of a Chinese gentleman scholar. Similarly, he valued the Inn’s generalist ethos. Of Lin Zexu’s five pleasures, “discussing with good friends” evokes what Nathan cherished in his relationships with fellow members. He bequeathed his estate to the Franklin Inn Club to ensure that Innmates have that pleasure well into the future.

Marta Hanson’s deep friendship with Nathan and Carole Sivin grew from Nathan’s mentoring in her scholarly life. Nathan, as professor of Chinese culture and the history of science, was her main advisor as she completed her 1997 PhD in Penn’s Department of History and Sociology of Science. Marta is now an independent scholar, publishing widely on the history of medicine in China, public health in East Asia, and early modern Sino-European medical history. She is also an affiliate at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, and she serves on the editorial boards of four journals in her fields of expertise. Between 1997 and 2021, she held professorial positions at the University of California San Diego, and Johns Hopkins. Her first book was Speaking of Epidemics in Chinese Medicine: Disease and the Geographic Imagination in Late Imperial China (Routledge, 2011). Her second book, in manuscript, examines how premodern Chinese healers used their hands to guide thought, diagnosis, treatment, and healing.

Video:To see a recording of this presentation, click on Play Event. Click on the play button at the bottom left of the screen that comes up to see the presentation.