Global Alumni and Alumni Clubs
    • Alumni
    • Alumni
    • Alumni
    • Alumni
    • Alumni
    • Alumni
    • Alumni
    • Alumni
    • Alumni
    • Alumni

Welcome to Penn Global Alumni and Alumni Clubs

With over 25,000 alumni living outside the United States, the University of Pennsylvania truly has a global presence in just about any community in the world.  Moreover, Penn Alumni can be found leading organizations of every type all over the globe ranging from large corporations, to government offices, and small local associations.  Penn alumni are using their education and experience to make a difference in their home country and beyond.  Penn’s alumni pride also can be found around the world as exhibited by the many volunteer leaders who work diligently to serve Penn as alumni interviewers, club leaders, and local ambassadors.

In Penn’s diverse community of engaged citizens, Penn’s Regional Clubs include over 120 clubs around the world offering alumni the chance to reconnect, to attend lively events and to get involved in collaborative initiatives that impact people and communities.  Club activities range in size and topics, from discussions featuring Penn Integrates Knowledge faculty members at Engaging Minds programs to intimate salon-style conversations, from celebratory happy hours to Penn sports viewing parties and from community and neighborhood service projects to group trips in the great outdoors. Penn Alumni Regional Clubs are charged with providing alumni with a variety of ways to connect to Penn from their own backyard.  Events are sponsored and organized in large part by Penn Alumni volunteers and leaders.

For a listing of current Penn Clubs and School specific clubs around the world, please visit the Alumni and Alumni Club section of the Global Activity Map

Alumni Making a Global Impact

  • Name:  Sesto E Vecchi, W'58

    Country:  Vietnam

    Background:  Sesto practices law in Vietnam where he has lived for 30 years.  His law firm, Russin & Vecchi, works in developing and middle income countries and has several offices in Asia.

    He went to Vietnam as a lawyer with the US Navy, and stayed when his Navy term ended.  He practiced law in Vietnam during the war from 1966 until 1975 when his office closed.  His firm reopened its office in 1993.  His firm’s practice is commercial and Russin & Vecchi represents many foreign companies in Vietnam.

    He has taught American contract law, American corporate law and legal English to members of the Vietnamese Bar Association.  He and a colleague have adapted a manual for journalists in Vietnam on important factors to keep in mind in order to report on domestic violence cases. 

    In addition to Vietnam, Sesto practiced for many years [8] in Thailand and many more [11] in New York.

    Sesto gave up serious tennis and took up golf in his 60’s.

    He and others have a small “Cigars and Poetry” group that reads (but doesn’t write) poetry over fine dining.  During 20 years it has mostly been a male club.  “It’s still a marvel to me how very quickly poetry peals away multiple outer layers and permits people to communicate at a very different, more intimate level.” 

    He is married to Camille who is from Vietnam.  They have two daughters, who live in the US--one is a medical doctor and the other is a lawyer.  They have six grandchildren.

    “I certainly love America”, says Vecchi, “but Vietnam is my home”. 

    I watch, with great interest, developments involving MOOC (massive online open courses).  Penn (a member of one such program, Coursera) and other great universities will need to be nimble in order to stay in the forefront of this fast moving development that opens up courses in the humanities and the sciences at a very affordable cost.  The book is still being written, of course, but it will bring great benefits to many students.  But today’s university life (and certainly the university experience I had) will change dramatically.

Q & A

  1. What book are you reading now?
    • I’ve just finished reading a recent two-volume set by John McHugo, “A Concise History of the Arabs”, a glimpse of some very complex history and geography that brings us up to relatively recent events.  Following a 50 year pattern of alternatively reading fiction and non-fiction, I am now rereading two collections of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes stories.

  2. What is your fondest memory of Penn?
    • My life at Penn revolved around Sigma Chi Fraternity.  I lived in the house, made great friends there, and was an eager part of all its rituals (not just the secret ones); liverwurst, swiss cheese and onion on rye from Elrays, Sunday night with “Gunsmoke”, the house “exam files”, late winter afternoon crew practice on the Schuylkill, Skimmer Day.

  3. What is the one thing that all visitors in your city must do, or see?
    • I live in Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City) but I speak here to both Saigon and Hanoi where I also spend time.  Saigon is full of movement.  Movement defines the place.  It’s the total energy of the city that is its attraction.  Your eyes are pulled from one thing to another: a knot of animated men drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, sitting on tiny stools; random sidewalk barbers; motorbikes hugely laden with families and unbelievable cargo; a street corner with a bicycle or shoe repairman, etc.  It is a chaotic, noisy and friendly place. 

      There are places with names like “The War Crimes Museum” or the Cu Chi (wartime, underground) tunnels and perhaps they have appeal to some.  I would prefer the commercial Vietnamese art galleries.  Vietnamese art is superb and the good galleries have a great variety of contemporary and classic Vietnamese art.

      You will also find great art galleries in Hanoi. Although the traffic is just as frantic, it is actually a more quiet city with wide, tree-lined streets and (still) many grand French colonial style buildings. Whole streets are turned into outdoor restaurants with beer and exotic foods that spring to life in the late afternoon and disappear by 9-10PM when the sidewalk reappears. With wide sidewalks, Hanoi is great for walking. There are more interesting organized sights too Museum of Natural History, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, an old quarter, and several beautiful small lakes within the city.     

  4. Looking back, what advice would you now want to give to yourself while you were at Penn?
    • At Penn I met many people with very different backgrounds than I had.  This was hugely valuable, but there were many more people I missed.  I knew very few foreign students at Penn.  Certainly, if I returned, I would seek out more of them.  Of course, there are many more foreign students now than there were then.  I took as many courses as I could outside of Wharton--English, art, geography, and others.  I would do it again.  When I think of it, oddly, I had few female friends.  I certainly would change that too. 

  5. What have you done or are doing now that you believe have the most impact?
    • I have practiced law in developing countries (Vietnam and Thailand) for nearly 40 years.  I am a founder of our law firm that has specialized in practicing law in developing countries.  There is a great satisfaction working on issues that have never been faced, especially when you can bring to bear the experience and skills developed over many years.  I don’t refer just to grand projects, but there is satisfaction to deal even with small issues, to have a unique insight, to have a special way to look at a set of facts, to see a solution that may be common abroad, but unheard of locally.  There is much more.  It is a great experience to work with people eager to learn how others have solved problems.

      Vietnamese are wonderfully creative problem solvers.  There is an opportunity to learn how other people solve problems especially when resources or experience (or at least conventional resources/experience) are limited.

  6. Who inspires you?​

    • Certainly my Father.  He came to America from Italy as a boy, learned the barbering trade and made a life in a small town in upstate New York. He worked until he was 86, lived a healthy life to 100.  He was patriotic, joined the US Army in WWI, was a Rockefeller (moderate) Republican, voted consistently, attended church, and in every respect was determined to assume the responsibility of being an American.  With huge support from my Mother, he raised and sent three children to college.  He was an astute investor, and he and my Mother had a comfortable retirement.

      It’s not a remarkable story.  It’s a typical story for his generation of immigrants.  It’s a story that is repeated every day, even today.  My Father (and many like him) simply adopted the country.  He swore his allegiance totally to it, and he helped to define its middle class.  Despite the many absurdities of life in America and its many ills, there is also a magic that has been and continues to be created by many like my father, and I still believe in it.         

  7. What is your favorite Penn tradition?

    • Skimmer Day.

  • Global Activity Map
  • Global Activity Map
  • An interactive map that showcases global opportunities for students, global activities of faculty, and the global reach of our alumni.

Penn Alumni Travel

Penn Alumni Travel offers a wide variety of tours to destinations around the world. Trips provide a rich travel experience thanks to their educational character, unique access to special lectures with Penn faculty, and the camaraderie of like-minded intellectually curious travelers. To find out more, please visit the Penn Alumni Travel site.