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Wharton Impact Tour: New York 2024

Wharton Icon Jeremy Siegel Joins Dean Erika James in NYC

New York City’s Gotham Hall was a packed house on the evening of Wednesday, February 21. More than 500 members of the Wharton community gathered under an elaborate stained-glass skylight, in a grand, historic Midtown ballroom that served as a bank in the 1920s.

The penultimate stop on this year’s Wharton Impact Tour, this night presented an opportunity for Wharton alumni, faculty, and friends to connect with each other and hear from Dean Erika James. The Wharton Impact Tour: New York would be exceptionally memorable though, because the iconic Jeremy Siegel would also take the stage — ready to bring guests back to the classroom for a moment.

After attendees conversed with former classmates and new faces, it was time for the program to begin. First, Dean James addressed that, despite how challenging the past few months have been for the University of Pennsylvania and higher education as a whole, she’s noticed “bright spots” during the first few weeks of 2024 that point to the resiliency of the School.

“Interest in our degree programs has not waned,” Dean James said. “That tells me the best and brightest students still want to come to Penn and Wharton.”

The sea of attendees erupted in applause when Dean James called attention to Wharton’s MBA and undergraduate programs continuing their reign as the best in the world, according to the Financial Times.

The crowd’s audible excitement vibrated throughout Gotham Hall again, when the dean welcomed the Wizard of Wharton, Jeremy Siegel, to the stage with his decades of insights in tow. Siegel, the Russell E. Palmer Professor Emeritus of Finance, a bestselling author, and an acclaimed authority on financial markets, delivered a lesson about investing — using stocks from one day prior projected on the screen behind him.

“I wanted to use stocks from today, but they told me it was too late,” Siegel, famous for teaching about the market real-time, laughed with attendees.

With the exception of some more laughs in response to Siegel’s jokes, the lively crowd was silent during Siegel’s lesson — mesmerized by the legend sharing his craft.

“Stocks are real assets. They’re claims on capital, land, factories, equipment, patents, copyrights, and intellectual property. All of those are real assets,” Siegel said. “Real assets will appreciate with inflation.”

After Siegel’s session, he sat down with Dean James, so the pair of business experts could answer questions from the audience. But first, the dean acknowledged the impressive number of attendees and asked Siegel if he’d like to say anything to his fans.

“Thank you for coming. Wow. Wharton has been so good to me,” Siegel said. “It let me do the things I could do to make my classes better. Now that I don’t teach anymore, I continue educating through special programs and the media, with the same principles many of you learned when I taught my classes.”


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