Maury drops by, leaves drama at NBC

The Daily Pennsylvanian
October 11, 2006

Talk-show host Maury Povich stopped by campus yesterday, but no paternity tests were administered.

Povich, a Penn alumnus, and his wife, TV journalist Connie Chung, visited the Kelly Writers House yesterday evening to inaugurate the first Povich Writer-in-Residence at the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing.

The new spot goes to lecturer and journalist Dick Polman.

"I don't want the printed word to die," remarked Povich, explaining his motivation for endowing the position.

Around 50 attendees mingled with Povich, Polman and others at an evening reception before a formal inaugural program. Writing-program coordinators and school administrators expressed their enthusiasm for Polman's appointment and their gratitude for Povich's donation.

Povich said he needed little coercion from Writers House Faculty Director Al Filreis in deciding to sponsor Polman's residency.

Chung said Povich developed his passion for journalism because he had admired the reporting skills of his father.

"Maury has always been a really great writer," Chung said.

Polman's appointment is the first of its kind at the University.

Polman, who is also the chief political correspondent for the Philadelphia Inquirer, said he looks forward to "the challenge of bringing the real world into the class."

He currently teaches two courses per semester, including an advanced journalism class and a political-blogging class.

A number of Penn students and alumni reflected on their experiences with Polman in the University's creative-writing program, some reading excerpts from work done in his class.

College junior Jessica Haralson said she saw Polman's appointment as a great asset to the University, not only because he has the prestige and experience of a professional journalist, but because can also relate to Penn students.

"It was clear from day one that Dick really wanted his students to succeed," Haralson said.

College Dean Dennis DeTurck said that Polman's appointment is merely the first in a series of "a whole new class of appointments" in which artists-in-residence will be sponsored to temporarily teach courses in various University fields.