Economics Department receives donation from renowned alumnus

The Department of Economics within the College of Liberal Arts has received two donations this year from Dr. Lacy Hunt, a successful and internationally respected economist.
The author of books and numerous articles in both the popular press and scholarly journals, Hunt is often asked to comment on global economics by national and foreign news programs. Although he is a world renowned professional, Hunt still feels it is important to support the progress taking place in the Economics program at Temple, said Michael Bognanno, Chair of the Economics Department.

Dr. Hunt contributed $10,000 in the fall of 2014, followed by another $10,000 donation this spring, Bognanno said. The contributions by Dr. Hunt will be used to aid summer research scholarships for Economics doctoral candidates. The donations, combined with a recent endowment from Dr. Jeffery and Elizabeth Coons, will allow the department to support up to four doctoral candidates this summer. In addition to financial aid, the assistance from Dr. Hunt will go toward bringing two high-profile scholars to campus to share their research with students and faculty.

Dr. Hunt received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1969 and has maintained a long term commitment to Temple since finishing his schooling. He served on the Board of Trustees from 1987 to 2010 and is now an Honorary Life Trustee. Dr. Hunt is currently the Executive Vice President of Hoisington Investment Management Company.


Temple alumni create Fly in 4 scholarship

Fly in 4 has energized the Class of 2018. Now two alumni and longtime Temple supporters are giving the program a major boost.

The Alan and Deborah Cohen Goldman Sachs Scholarship Fund was established through a generous $350,000 grant recommendation made by Alan M., CLA ’72, and Deborah Miffoluf Cohen, FOX ’72. This school year, the scholarship was awarded to two students—one in the College of Liberal Arts and one in the Fox School of Business—who signed up for Fly in 4, Temple’s innovative plan to fast-track students’ futures and limit their debt.

“We feel like we were given a huge gift to get a high-quality education and pursue our dreams, so this is our way of giving back.”
— Deborah Miffoluf Cohen, FOX ’72

“The Fly in 4 aspect of the scholarship was especially compelling,” said Alan M. Cohen, executive vice president and global head of compliance at Goldman Sachs, who recently became a member of Temple’s Board of Trustees.

Temple President Neil D. Theobald “showed us the data that giving people the opportunity to graduate in four years is a tremendous economic advantage,” Cohen added. “The true cost of extending college for an extra year or two is a bad trade-off economically, but that isn’t obvious to most students at the time.”

Fly in 4 launched this school year to an energetic response from Temple students. About 88 percent of freshmen and new transfer students signed up for the program.

In many ways, Fly in 4 was designed to help students who are like the Cohens.

“Both of us were in the first generation of our families to attend college, and that was largely because Temple was so affordable,” said Deborah Miffoluf Cohen, who had a long and successful career in merchandising before retiring. “We feel like we were given a huge gift to get a high-quality education and pursue our dreams, so this is our way of giving back.”

The Cohens’ grant was made at their recommendation by Goldman Sachs Gives. Their contribution was matched by Temple University.

The gift is already having a major impact on this year’s two scholarship recipients.

Melanie Tucci, Class of 2018, is an international business major from northeast Philadelphia. Like the Cohens, she’s part of the first generation in her family to attend college.

Tucci said she was working three jobs this past summer but, because of the scholarship, has been able to reduce her work hours to about 12 per week, giving her more time to study.

Tucci added that the scholarship will help her save money for a study abroad trip to Rome next year in pursuit of her goal of working for an international corporation.

“Receiving the scholarship was amazing,” she said. “It lightened my burden significantly.”

Brianna Seay, Class of 2018, is a psychology major from Philadelphia’s University City neighborhood. Her long-term goal is to become a dentist, but earlier this school year, she was worried she wouldn’t be able to afford to register for the spring semester.

When Seay learned she had received the Alan and Deborah Cohen Goldman Sachs Scholarship, she was “overjoyed and shocked.”

The Cohens “released a true burden off of me,” she said. “I’m really thankful.”


A Hooded Scarf making Real Magic

Photo caption: Avi Loren Fox models her Wild Mantle on Eighth Street. Her Wild Mantle business raised money on Kickstarter. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

Avi Loren Fox’s entrepreneurial endeavor with a hooded scarf started where so many efforts to find oneself do – at a bar.

The place: McShea’s Restaurant & Bar in Narberth. The time: September 2013.

Fox’s dilemma: The Narberth native and 2010 Temple University graduate with a degree in environmental studies had just closed a photography business she and her brother Nikolai operated for three summers. “I decided to enter that terrifying space of taking a year without any plans,” Fox recalled, citing her mother, Teresa, a meditation instructor, as the inspiration for that timeout. So to McShea’s Fox went, wearing a hooded scarf she had made out of old sweaters. “All of a sudden, I realized everyone was looking at me,” Fox said. “That’s where the Wild Mantle story started.” Wild, indeed.

First came 50 orders from McShea’s patrons and acquaintances for Fox’s head-and-neck covering – called the Mantle; the company name is Wild Mantle – which required her to solicit on Facebook for seamstresses to help make them. They sold for $144 – the price settled on by Fox after she consulted a numerology psychic, who advised that 44 was her career number, success her trademark, and “to take what’s in your heart and make it bigger.” To accomplish the latter, Fox needed to find a U.S. manufacturer willing to work with a start-up to sew hoods made of alpaca from Peru and lined with fleece. (Clothing dependent on scavenged material, such as used sweaters, is hard to scale in quantities to meet the kind of wholesale demand Wild Mantle will need to grow into the sustainable business Fox envisions, experts said.) She found Ice Box Knitting Mill in Longmont, Colo., which required a minimum order – 144. Talk about karma.

Then this fall came the real magic, as Fox put it: Wild Mantle launched a Kickstarter campaign Nov. 20 to raise $30,000 in 34 days to cover the cost of the first batch of Mantle hooded scarves. Fox raised more, $39,827. She attributes that to some high-profile Twitter promotions by actress Kat Dennings, who stars in the CBS series 2 Broke Girls and, as a Bryn Mawr native, was home-schooled with Fox. The first batch of scarves, expected by March or April, primarily will go to Wild Mantle’s (www.wildmantle.com) Kickstarter backers. Fox hopes to have hoods to offer retailers by fall. They will retail for $280, dictated by the price of alpaca, and, she added, “I want to pay people fairly to manufacture in the U.S.A.” Among those she has consulted for advice are Dave Neill and Jacob Hurwitz, the Wynnewood cofounders of American Trench L.L.C. They raised $19,108 on Kickstarter in early January 2013 to help launch their Made-in-the-U.S.A. line of trench coats, currently retailing for $785.

But the outerwear market has proved an expensive one – involving much capital to purchase materials and meet manufacturer minimums. So, Hurwitz said, American Trench has turned its focus to socks and caps it has made in Reading and North Carolina while the company nears profitability and can better support its coat line. He called Wild Mantle’s Kickstarter performance “totally awesome and really the testament to America’s support of entrepreneurs.” As to Wild Mantle’s prospects, he said the world outside crowdfunding required “adjustments along the way to a more commercial environment where you have to find the right price.” “She’s either going to find boutiques” that will carry a $280 scarf, Hurwitz said, “or she’s going to have to come up with a garment that’s less expensive.” As a college student, Fox, now 28 and living in Ardmore, was honored by the Society of Women Environmental Professionals for founding and running for three years Narberth Greens, a grassroots organization dedicated to encouraging and supporting environmentally friendly living. Among its accomplishments was a flower and vegetable exchange for farmers to swap surplus crops, and an energy challenge for the borough.

Sustainability remains a priority for Fox. She is a member of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, where her hooded scarf was little more than a concept at the time of the support group’s main annual networking function in 2013, the Social Venture Institute. Yet “there was a buzz through the conference from some of the other entrepreneurs, even experienced ones, that, ‘Hey, I think this woman is on to something!’ ” executive director Jamie Gauthier wrote last week in an e-mail. She has been impressed with Fox’s progress. “Think of all the young people who have had trouble lately finding gainful employment,” Gauthier said. “Avi is an example of how you can employ yourself and do it on your own terms and according to your own values.” Fox named her scarves Mantle because, in the Golden Compass young-adult books, it meant a role or responsibility and, in ancient times, a loose-fitting cloak, she said.

She hopes to have enough capital to open a studio by summer or fall, to afford employees in 2016 – and possibly influence an industry. Said Fox: “It’s really a medium for me to figure out what the next cutting edge is of social and environmental change within the manufacturing realm.”

Source: A Mantle Piece


Holiday book drive to benefit neighborhood elementary school

Over the summer, the CLA Alumni Association hosted a successful supply drive to benefit our neighborhood elementary school, Tanner Duckrey. For the holiday season, the CLA Alumni Association is following that up with a new and gently used children’s book drive to benefit the school’s very small library.

The school’s librarian reports that there is an immediate need for multi-cultural picture books, third- and fourth-grade fiction and non-fiction books, and children’s reference books.

New and used books for children grades K-8 will be collected through December 31 in the box in the reception area at the Dean’s Office (Anderson Hall, 12th floor) or at the Provost’s Office (Sullivan Hall, Ground Floor, Room G17). Online, you can make your gift via a dedicated Amazon Wish List. Gift cards will also be accepted if you’d prefer not to shop yourself.

Questions? Contact Kristin Grubb.

Thanks in advance for considering Tanner Duckrey this holiday season.


CLA Helps Local Tanner Duckrey Elementary

On September 5th, the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) donated school supplies to local Tanner Duckrey Elementary School in North Philadelphia to help their neighbors kick off the new school year. CLA’s School Supply Drive raised a large number of essential supplies for the underfunded public school. The mood was festive as teachers mingled with CLA staff who organized the drive, which is intended to become an annual effort.

Signs and notices for the School Supply Drive were posted all around campus and donations poured in over the weeks preceding the start of the school year. Last Friday, the culmination of that effort paid off when representatives from CLA and the CLA Alumni Association delivered the supplies to Duckrey students and teachers.

The supplies were distributed in the school’s cafeteria, where teachers and students lined up to “shop” for classroom supplies. Teachers perused through the donations and snatched up everything they needed.

“The school district gives us $100 a year (for classroom supplies),” said one science and math teacher, “and that always goes fast.” He added “it usually lasts a couple months.” After that money runs out, teachers have to begin buying classroom supplies themselves. Another 3rd grade teacher “easily spent over $1,000 on supplies last year, but now this doesn’t come out of our pockets. I don’t have a family yet, but most of my colleagues do and this saves us money and planning time.”

The excitement among teachers was palpable. “This is what it looks like when teachers win the lottery! Thank you so much!” said a first-year teacher. “They gave me an empty classroom, but it’s not empty anymore! Thank you so much!”


CLA Alumni Association member Kristin Grubb helped organize the drive from her position as manager of operations in the Office of the Provost. Photo by Betsy Manning.

Principal David Cohen echoed the gratitude expressed by the teachers and students. “I can’t explain how helpful it truly is. We now have all the stuff you’d assume schools would have, regular stuff like paper and pencils that just get cut out of the budget.”

Principal Cohen described the excitement perfectly. “Did you ever see National Geographic, with the lions feeding, and then it’s gone like that!” he says while snapping his fingers. “That’s what it’s like, gone in a flash.

The Supply Drive marks the start of a partnership between The College of Liberal Arts and Tanner Duckrey Elementary. The annual drive aims to expand and provide more to the elementary school through donations by Temple Alumni, students, faculty, and local neighborhood contributions.

Students arrived at Duckrey the following Monday, prepared for their first day of school. “Learning is the biggest thing going on here,” says Principal David Cohen. In large part thanks to the CLA School Supply Drive, students and teachers can spend less energy worrying and more time learning.

Teachers shop for supplies.

Teachers “shop” for supplies at Tanner Duckrey. Photo by Betsy Manning.

Joyce Rasing was awarded the SIG (Straw into Gold) Scholarship, endowed by Ronnyjane Goldsmith, CLA ’68, ’70, ’82, and given to a student in the College of Liberal Arts who has lost one or both parents, “in order that their personal dreams and professional aspirations may come true.”

CLA student turns hardship into service

Renee Cree

Growing up, Joyce Rasing, Class of 2015, did not know her father. And for years, she lived in an abusive household with her mother and stepfather. When she was about to graduate high school, she experienced parental abandonment. Rasing was able to stay with her grandparents for a while, but was soon homeless. The weekend just before her first semester at Temple, she was finally able to secure housing.

Charges against Rasing’s stepfather were filed, and he went to court eventually. At the end of the first semester of her freshman year, the verdict was announced; in the summer of 2011, he was sentenced to 12 to 24 years in prison.

Rasing’s adversity has fueled a passion for helping others that extends from studying political science to dedicating her time to several organizations across Philadelphia. She tutors math at a women’s shelter, serves as a hotline counselor and directs a site for an SAT-prep program for low-income high school students.

“It has been a long road,” Rasing said. “Finding opportunities around the city to give back is a part of the healing process.”

In May 2011, Rasing was awarded the SIG (Straw into Gold) Scholarship, endowed by Ronnyjane Goldsmith, CLA ’68, ’70, ’82. That award is given to a student in the College of Liberal Arts who has lost one or both parents, “in order that their personal dreams and professional aspirations may come true.” Rasing says that after struggling for so long, receiving the scholarship was an immeasurable gain.

“The scholarship alleviates a lot of stress for me,” Rasing said. “With that and my state grants, I don’t have to worry about tuition payments.

“Why Ronnyjane gives is so inspiring,” Rasing continued. “Despite her own hardships, she’s been able to move on and move up, and to help others. I hope I can be like her one day.”

After Rasing graduates in February 2015, she plans to use her political-science degree to begin a career in public service, following in Goldsmith’s footsteps of giving back.

For those who might be living through a situation like Rasing’s, she offers some advice: “Surround yourself with individuals who want to see you succeed and will motivate you to keep going for whatever it is you really want. And don’t forget to pass that favor on to others.”

While a student at Temple, Yaba Amgborale Blay, CLA ’04, ’07, traveled to Ghana, where she was inspired to learn more about those who embrace a black racial identity.

CLA alumna researches and writes about race and identity

When Yaba Amgborale Blay, CLA ’04, ’07, was growing up in New Orleans, she noticed that the light-skinned Creole population would sometimes segregate itself from the rest of the black community in school and in social situations. For example, Blay was excluded from a light-skinned classmate’s birthday party because she was “too dark.” As a result, Blay was conscious of her complexion and believed that those with lighter skin often received preferential treatment.

While a student at Temple, Blay traveled to Ghana to study both the trend of skin bleaching among Ghanaian women and the perceived link between beauty and skin color. She also examined skin-color politics among Creole women in New Orleans—a topic that hit close to home.

Blay concluded that there was a bias toward those with lighter skin—and that those who could “pass” for white would often do so. But a 2010 panel that included Blay and Green Party vice-presidential candidate Rosa Clemente, who self-identified as a “black Puerto Rican woman,” led her to think differently about her findings.

She was inspired to learn more about those who embraced a black racial identity. To do so, she launched the (1)ne Drop project in 2010. Blay describes it as an ethnographic and photographic study about black identity. She asked people she knew to share family stories and pictures. And after launching a Kickstarter fundraising campaign, people began contacting her in order to share their own experiences with race and identity.

Now, there are more than 40 (and counting) participants in the project. In January 2012, it garnered national attention when Blay appeared on CNN to discuss (1)ne Drop. It also was featured in a three-part series on CNN’s In America blog. And in December 2013, Blay published (1)Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race with BLACKprint Press.

After appearing on CNN, Blay connected with Soledad O’Brien, the host of the network’s Black in America series, and interviewed her for (1)ne Drop. Soon after, O’Brien asked Blay to help produce the next installment of the series, which aired in December 2012. It focused on the (1)ne Drop project, and Blay served as consulting producer. Her latest project, Pretty. Period., also has received rave reviews. It is an online collection of photos of black women designed to spark dialogue about what defines beauty.

An assistant professor of Africana studies at Drexel University in Philadelphia, she urges her students to explore the questions they have about the world.

“Whatever questions we have in our heads are worth asking,” she tells them. “Even if they’re personal. You never know who else will benefit from the answers you get.”

—Nikki Roszko, CLA ’07

Courtesy of Denver Broncos/NFL
When defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, CLA '09, takes the field for the Denver Broncos on Sunday evening at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, he'll be the sixth former Owl to play in a Super Bowl in the last 10 years.

Two CLA Alumni are Super Bowl-Bound

Courtesy of Denver Broncos/NFL When defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, CLA '09, takes the field for the Denver Broncos on Sunday evening at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, he'll be the sixth former Owl to play in a Super Bowl in the last 10 years.

Courtesy of Denver Broncos/NFL
When defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, CLA ’09, takes the field for the Denver Broncos on Sunday evening at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, he’ll be the sixth former Owl to play in a Super Bowl in the last 10 years.

The Super Bowl is going to get some #CherryOn—again. When defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, CLA ’09, takes the field for the Denver Broncos on Sunday evening, he’ll be the sixth former Owl to play in a Super Bowl in the last 10 years. Joining Knighton in Denver is rookie defensive end John Youboty, CLA ’13, who spent the season on the Broncos’ practice squad.

“Temple molded … the character I have now,” Knighton told the Philadelphia Inquirer last week. “Just handling adversity. I didn’t have a winning season there…It just molded me into a man.”

Read the full story.

CLA Grad Featured on NPR's Project Xpat

Juliana's self-portrait with glasses.

Juliana Peluso, 2012 political science graduate and 2011 Phi Beta Kappa inductee, is working in Senegal, West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. She was recently featured on NPR’s Protojournalist blog as part of the service’s ongoing Project Xpat. Listeners are invited to describe their lives abroad and also to submit four sounds that describe their typical days. Peluso has been in Senegal for more than a year and her life includes a lot of tea.

To visit Peluso’s entry on The Protojournalist, click here.