Alumni Club Update

A Call for Nominations to the Wharton Alumni Association Board

In the spring of 2007, we will nominate and elect a slate of Alumni candidates to join our Alumni Association Board beginning in July 2007 for terms ranging from one to three years. If you have a demonstrated track record of volunteer and giving participation to the School and our global community and are excited about making a significant contribution to Alumni engagement—please contact Trina Middleton with Wharton’s Annual Affairs & Annual Giving department for a Nomination Form at trinalm@wharton.upenn.edu or 215- 898-3394. All recommendations and self-nominations are welcome.

Bernd Wendeln, WG'04, and Jürgen Habichler, WG'01, the new president of WCGA, at Oktoberfest

Wharton Club of Germany/Austria Announces New Structure, Celebrates Second Oktoberfest

The Wharton Club of Germany/Austria (WCGA) covers a lot of territory. Comprising 250-plus alumni in two countries, for 13 years the Club grew under the leadership of its president, Dr. Wolfram Nolte, WG’77. In addition to building the Wharton brand in Germany and Austria and planning local gatherings like the Munich “Stammtisch,” a regular meeting and gathering of alumni living in Munich, Nolte led the organization of the Wharton Europe Conference in 2003 in Berlin.

In 2004, Jürgen Habichler, WG’01, took over the Munich Stammtisch organization, organizing festive events, including a beer tasting and a Christmas market outing. One of the highlights begun in 2005 expanded beyond Munich alumni. The first Wharton Oktoberfest was a national gathering of Wharton grads at the original Oktoberfest in Munich, drawing participants from all over Germany and Austria, as well as the U.K., the U.S., and Israel. Inspired by the first successful Oktoberfest, in the spring of 2006 a small group of Wharton grads started discussions on how to invigorate the club further and bring more stucture into the management of WCGA. The concept they developed was approved by the President Dr. Wolfram Nolte and Wharton External Affairs.

In September 2006, at the Wharton Oktoberfest Wolfram Nolte and his team passed on the WCGA leadership to the newly formed core team consisting of Jürgen Habichler (President), Yin Yin, W’05, WG’06 (Social Events and Communication), Christian Mayer, W’03 (Corporate Relations and Special Events), and various local leaders on a regional level.

The new team immediately started to implement some of the new ideas, building a new club website with the help of Wharton External Affairs <www.whartonclub.eu>, to serve as the “face to the alumni” and a communication platform both for internal (alumni, External Affairs) and external parties (firms, prospective students). This website includes contact information of the core team, pictures of our events, such as our Oktoberfest gathering, and our monthly newsletter with news and upcoming events.

The next priorities of the new management team include:

• Providing a professional networking platform among alumni, as well as implementing collaborative efforts with alumni associations of other prominent business schools such as INSEAD

• Organizing “fun, fun, fun”: regular social events in epicenters Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Vienna, in addition to annual national events, i.e. Oktoberfest in Munich and Karneval (Mardi Gras) in Cologne

• Strengthening the communication between The Wharton School and our alumni base here

• Offering a first point of contact for prospective students in our region

• Creating a spirit around Wharton, further improving the Wharton branding in the German-speaking region, both among alumni and to external parties.

Wharton Club of Western Pennsylvania Welcomes Harrah’s COO at Breakfast Briefing

One week after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board took the historic step of licensing the state’s first gambling casinos, Tim Wilmott, WG’87, Chief Operating Officer of Harrah’s Entertainment, briefed the Western Pennsylvania Wharton Club about Harrah’s Entertainment’s plans for the region. Speaking at a Wharton Breakfast Briefing, Tim, who oversees all of the revenue generating businesses at the $7.1 billion company, explained that Harrah’s proposed casino and entertainment complex is planned to be an exciting destination that will draw gamblers and vacationers from West Virginia and Ohio as well as Western Pennsylvania.

Tim also described how Pittsburgh is expected to be a fresh and beautiful destination for Harrah’s Total Rewards Customers across the country that can earn and redeem credits for their play at any one of Harrah’s casinos worldwide. Participants were impressed with Harrah’s professional management.

“Harrah’s is a class outfit,” said Wesley Posvar, WG’74. “It was an eye-opening experience to realize how much market research and data mining Harrah’s does about its customers. It uses that information to implement targeted customersatisfaction programs.”

Harrah’s, the world’s largest gaming and entertainment company, is one of three bidders for slots permits in Western Pennsylvania. (By the time you read this, the license winner will have been announced.) The plan put forth by Harrah’s Entertainment and its partner, Forest City Enterprises, calls for more than $1 billion of investment in Pittsburgh’s South Side. The plan expands Station Square into a new urban mixed-use residential and entertainment community.

Patricia Jablonski, WG’78, was interested in Tim’s discussion of the politics involved in the plan development, “I found Tim’s discussion of the dynamics of gaming versus the machinations of the Pennsylvania political process to be fascinating,” she said. Tim spoke in Pittsburgh to more than 50 alumni, on October 3, 2006, several days after Harrah’s won the license for Harrah’s Chester Casino and Racetrack at Chester Downs south of Philadelphia.
Alexandra Hendrickson, WG’79

New York Club Revives Joseph Wharton Dinner

On September 28, 2006, the Wharton Club of New York reinstated a great tradition in grand style: the Joseph Wharton Dinner. Held in the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center, the awards were held for the first time in 15 years to coincide with Wharton’s 125th anniversary.

This year’s honorees were Connie K. Duckworth, WG’79, a retired managing director of Goldman Sachs, recognized for her work as founder of Arzu, a nonprofit group that employs and assists Afghan women; Alvin V. Shoemaker, W’60, H’95, former Chairman of the Board of First Boston, Inc., and of the First Boston Corporation; Harold W. McGraw III, WG’76; chairman and CEO of McGraw-Hill Companies; and Josh Kopelman, W’93, Managing Director of First Round Capital, a seed-stage venture fund and founder of Infonautics and Half.com.

“We’re very excited to have the depth of volunteers in our Club to be able to take on the major task of relaunching The Joseph Wharton Dinner,” Kenny Beck, W’87, president of the Club, said. Geoffrey T. Boisi, WG’71, served as Honorary Chairman of the dinner. Boisi made his name in New York by becoming the youngest partner at Goldman Sachs in 1978. He was the founder and CEO of private equity firm The Beacon Group and former vice chairman and co-head of investment banking at J.P. Morgan Chase & Company. Currently he is senior partner at Roundtable Investment Partners. He is also Chairman and cofounder of MENTOR/The National Mentoring Partnership.

Aside from great networking, the chance to see old friends, the award ceremony, and a generous amount of time for dancing, the program included recognition of companies that employ the most Wharton alumni, recognition of alumni leadership, and acknowledgment of previous Joseph Wharton Award winners. Those past honorees include business luminaries Reginald Jones, W’39, former CEO of General Electric; William S. Paley, W’22, founder, chairman, and CEO of CBS; and Lawrence Tisch, W’43, former cochairman  of Loews Corp.

“It’s our five-year plan to turn he Joseph Wharton Dinner into the Aademy Awards for business in New York City,” Beck said.

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