I hope by now you’ve noticed a new look to Wharton Magazine, dating back to the Spring 2016 issue, when it was reinvented with the help of the world-renowned design masterminds at Pentagram. The page size shrank, the page count grew, and we now publish twice a year, in April and October—with twice as much content in each issue. Beyond these changes, the very DNA of the magazine was transformed to reflect what makes Wharton and its alumni so special—the ideas and people who define its thought leadership, innovation, and community.

That community is what makes my job so rewarding. Editors dream of having a wellspring of story ideas that will inform, surprise, and captivate readers with each issue. Since I became the editor here in August, I’ve found that my challenge is keeping up with even a fraction of all the stories we could tell—tales of success, professional growth, giving back, great challenges, and even greater determination.

Since we’re still in the getting-to-know-you phase of this reader-editor relationship, I should take a moment to introduce myself. I spent nearly 13 years on-staff at Philadelphia magazine, working my way up from a checker of facts (remember those things?) to writing and editing roles, and have written for an array of national and alumni magazines. I’ve covered everything from the trajectory of a bullet from factory to police evidence locker; athletes at the top of their games (or searching for a second act); crime sagas and investigative narratives; comedians and celebrities and thieves and politicians. (Sometimes it was hard to tell those four apart.) And since I’m from Philadelphia—yes, I’ve written about cheesesteaks.

When I joined the magazine last summer, I didn’t anticipate that the school and the University of Pennsylvania would soon have their first graduate in the White House. (At least I’m not alone in missing that one.) Whatever your opinion of President Donald J. Trump W68, we can all agree that this POTUS and these times are unlike any others in American history. So in this issue, we tackled the subject in the Wharton way, asking our professors to share their expertise and attempt what seems impossible—to anticipate the impact of Trump’s still-evolving policies on everything from the U.S. economy and global markets to the environment and health care.

Something else you’re sure to agree with: Along with great hair, what makes marketing professor Jonah Berger exceptional is the unique lens through which he views life, and people. That’s proven by his popularity on campus and in the media as well by as his two best-selling books, including the latest, Invisible Influence. You’ll see in our profile that Berger’s work is an extension of his endless curiosity about virality and consumer behavior.

Our cover story is about a different type of intellectual explorer and comes on the heels of last fall’s 15th anniversary of the founding of Wharton San Francisco. You’ve probably read about “Wharton West” and its Executive MBA program that planted the school’s flag in Silicon Valley. But you’ve never heard the inspiring tale of its first graduating class, which not only pioneered a vital expansion for the school but did so in the shadow of the bursting dot-com bubble and the horrors of 9/11.

My goal is for each issue of the magazine to earn a spot on your coffee table as an engaging, edifying business publication that just happens to feature Wharton alumni and faculty. I hope you’ll share your thoughts on this edition by emailing me at rrys@wharton.upenn.edu. We’ll print as many responses as we can in a letters page in the Fall/Winter issue. Until then, thank you for reading. (And the next time you’re in town and need a good recommendation for a steak wit’ Whiz, let me know.)
—Richard Rys


Published as “Unpredictable Times, Remarkable Stories” in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of Wharton Magazine.