Greater Philadelphia Ranks among Top 10 Major U.S. Metros in 2012 AIER College Destinations Index

The Greater Philadelphia region ranked among the top 10 Major U.S. Metros in 2012 AIER College Destinations Index, which includes the top 75 towns and cities in the United States for college students, based on a larger evaluation of the 227 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with student populations of 15,000 or more.

In creating the Index, a dozen factors are evaluated using the most current data available from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, National Science Foundation, and Small Business Administration to provide a snapshot of each community’s overall academic and cultural environment, quality of life and employment opportunities in the area.

Philadelphia reached top 10 on the AIER College Destinations Index based on the area’s performance across 12 factors including: Academic Environment, Quality of Life, Cost of Living, Arts and Leisure, City Accessibility, Creative Class, Professional Opportunities, Entrepreneurial Activity, Unemployment Rate, and Brain Gain/Drain.

According to Steven Cunningham, AIER Director of Research and Education, “The characteristics that make up a great college destination often make a location ideal for business, retirement and tourism. A top AIER College Destinations Index ranking should be just as important to the town or city as it is to the schools located there and the families and students attending or considering them.”

Virtua Health & Wellness Center in Moorestown Opens in December

The new Virtua Health and Wellness Center in Moorestown will open in December of 2012 and will offer access to physicians, exercise, as well as nutrition and support programs.

Set on 18 acres in Centerton Square at 401 Young Avenue in Moorestown, NJ, the 200,000-square-foot center will be a source of health and wellness including a fitness center, spa, and physicians’ offices. The facility will also feature healthcare services including an urgent care center, physical and cardiac rehab, and a diabetes and nutrition program.

Peirce College Launches Its First-Ever Master’s Degree Program

Peirce College launched its first-ever Master’s Degree program — a significant milestone in its nearly 150-year history as one of Philadelphia’s most respected institutions of higher learning. The inaugural master’s degree will be a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management (MSOLM), beginning fall 2013.

The introduction of the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management program is part of Peirce College’s foundational mission to continually meet the needs of working adult students, and to support their career advancement.

James J. Mergiotti, president and CEO of Peirce College, stated, “While Peirce has offered bachelor’s degrees since 1997, there is still a perception that we are a junior college. This announcement of our first-ever master’s degree program continues the evolution of Peirce College and ends this long-standing misperception of who we really are.”

The MSOLM degree program provides essential skills for developing organizations and increasing organizational effectiveness, focusing on organizational behavior, development, structure, leadership, and management. Graduates will be prepared for successful, rewarding careers in organizational change, consultation, leadership, and management.

“We opened our doors as a business school in 1865, began offering bachelor’s degrees 15 years ago, and today offer a complete curriculum of associate and bachelor’s degree programs that span a range of disciplines. We are very excited to introduce this new graduate program, which will further meet the career advancement goals of Peirce College students and alumni,” said Mergiotti.

Patricia A. Rucker, Senior Vice President and Provost noted: “Today more than ever, it’s essential for students to differentiate themselves in a crowded job market. Graduate degrees enable them to open doors and move more quickly into management or leadership roles. This program meets a critical need for career-oriented Philadelphia area residents looking to build a complete resume that grabs attention…”

Graduates of the program will be able to utilize decision-making and business development skills in their careers. The program includes 12 different courses, totaling 36 credits. Prospective students must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.75 or above, and will need to submit an application, essay, and letters of recommendation, as well as participate in an interview to be considered for enrollment in the program. Interested students should contact the Peirce Graduate Studies Admissions Office at [email protected] or 215.670.9325.

Maney Publishing Expands North American Presence in Philadelphia

Maney Publishing, an independent publishing company specializing in academic journals, celebrated the opening of its new North American at 2 Penn Center Plaza in Philadelphia last month. The office will extend the publisher’s existing relationships and bring new opportunities to widen its reach in Canada and the USA.

Maney publishes academic journals in materials science and engineering, the humanities, and health science. The company delivers journals in print and electronic formats that are international in scope and peer-reviewed. With offices in Leeds and London in the UK, and now in Philadelphia in North America, Maney publishes extensively for learned societies, universities and professional bodies around the world.

The founding of this office plays a vital role in Maney’s expansion and growth plans. Michael Gallico, CEO of Maney Publishing, comments “We have had a presence in the USA for many years at our Cambridge office, but firmly establishing ourselves in North America now will broaden Maney’s presence and demonstrate commitment to the company’s philosophy of delivering research, knowledge and innovation worldwide. At the same time we can work more closely with our North American customers, society partners, editors and authors.”

Temple League for Entrepreneurial Women Inducts RoseAnn B. Rosenthal as Hall of Fame Member

RoseAnn B. Rosenthal joined the Temple University League for Entrepreneurial Women Hall of Fame, during the 13th annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference.

Held Oct. 23 in Mitten Hall on Temple’s Main Campus, the conference featured a keynote speech by World TeamTennis CEO and Commissioner Ilana Kloss, two panel discussions focused on succeeding in the sport industry and maintaining work-life balance, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and a resource expo for entrepreneurial women. This year’s conference was themed “Game Changers: Success Stories from Entrepreneurial Women in Sport.”

Rosenthal, President and CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, has forty years of experience in business investment, regional planning and economic development. Ben Franklin is a national model for technology innovation, investing in innovative enterprises and creating commercialization partnerships throughout the region. Rosenthal is a Board Member of numerous regional companies and organizations, and is an inaugural member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She has led and supported initiatives to stimulate investments in women-owned and operated technology enterprises, including the formation of the Alliance for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE).

Zack Seward Focuses on Innovation Reporting at WHYY

WHYY hired its first innovation reporter, Zack Seward, to cover high-tech innovation and social entrepreneurship in Greater Philadelphia. Seward has covered stories such as the dispersal of venture capital, the biotech incubator along the Route 202 corridor and the death of the callbox along the Atlantic City Expressway.

“It’s exciting to cover such a wide-ranging beat that includes a tech startup one day followed by an innovative government initiative the next,” said Seward. “There’s a lot of interesting things going on around the Philadelphia region involving science, tech, pharma, incubators and more. The region has been gaining steam on the innovation side of things and WHYY wanted someone to follow that as major stories unfold.”

Seward has recently covered a diverse mix of stories including the innovative technology behind tracking Superstorm Sandy; SEPTA’s energy action plan; social networks for doctors; and an up and coming social media startup called Whims. For a WHYY pilot show called The Pulse, he reported on high-tech innovations at the Navy Yard.

The San Francisco native studied anthropology at the University of Chicago and earned a master’s degree from Columbia University’s journalism school. He served as a production assistant from January 2008 to July 2009 at PBS NewsHour, covering the Democratic National Convention in 2008. After graduate school, he served as a reporter in Rochester, N.Y., covering the innovation economy from June 2010 to June 2012 for InnovationTrail.org, an upstate New York journalism center funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Aclaris Formed to Develop Novel Dermatology Treatment; Raises $21 Million in Series A Financing

Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company based in Malvern, PA, secured $21 million in Series A financing. The Series A was led by Vivo Ventures and Fidelity Biosciences with participation from Sofinnova Ventures. Proceeds from the financing will be used to fund the development of a novel topical dermatological product.

Dr. Neal Walker, a board-certified dermatologist and experienced entrepreneur, will lead Aclaris as Chief Executive Officer, President and Director. Dr. Walker has co-founded a number of life-science companies and brings more than eighteen years of pharmaceutical industry experience in research and development, regulatory affairs and business development to Aclaris. Most recently, Dr. Walker served as Founder, CEO and Director of Vicept Therapeutics, which was acquired by Allergan in July 2011. Dr. Walker also co-founded Octagon Research Solutions, Inc. and served as its Director until its recent acquisition by Accenture in August 2012.

“We brought together our experienced management team from Vicept to create a new company that will be focused on the development of therapeutics for dermatologists and their patients,” said Dr. Walker, President and CEO of Aclaris. “We appreciate that our key former investors also support our vision for Aclaris and have funded this Series A financing to help us acquire and advance new therapeutics to the market.”

The Wistar Institute Celebrates 40 Years as an NCI-Designated Cancer Center

The Wistar Institute, an international leader in basic biomedical research, reached the 40th anniversary of its designation as a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Center this month, highlighting four decades of progress in cancer research.

Of the approximate 1,500 cancer centers in the United States, fewer than 70 have earned the distinction of an NCI designation. NCI-designated Cancer Centers are known for their scientific excellence and their ability to employ a range of research approaches to investigate and fight cancer. To have earned — and to maintain — such a prestigious designation, Wistar must continually meet rigorous quality guidelines outlined by the NCI.

In 1972, the NCI named The Wistar Institute as the first of these distinguished institutions in Philadelphia. Of the city’s four NCI-designated Cancer Centers, Wistar is the only one focused entirely on basic research — the science of understanding what causes cancer, what makes it grow and spread, and ultimately how to treat and cure it.

“Forty years ago, we did not know what we did not know about cancer, and Wistar has played a vital part in furthering the scientific understanding of the biology that underlies this set of diseases,” said Dario Altieri, M.D., Director of The Wistar Institute Cancer Center and Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professor. “At its 40th anniversary, The Wistar Institute is uniquely positioned to fully realize the potential of science in developing new tools to detect and beat cancer.”

Wistar’s celebration culminates today with a special event and roundtable discussion at WHYY, Inc. Led by WHYY Health and Behavioral Science Reporter Maiken Scott, panelists Altieri; Frank J. Rauscher, III, Ph.D., deputy director of basic research at Wistar; Chi Van Dang, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University Pennsylvania; and cancer survivor and Wistar supporter Eleanor Davis will discuss 40 years of progress in cancer research and future directions for the field.

In the 40 years since its designation, The Wistar Institute Cancer Center has made significant progress in the fight against cancer. Among the many advances coming from Wistar’s labs: patenting a means of using monoclonal antibodies for developing cancer therapies; decoding the structure of telomerase, an enzyme which conserves the ends of chromosomes, a process with great implications for aging and cancer; and discovering ADAR, an enzyme responsible for “editing” RNA, which helped to open an entirely new facet of cell biology to science.

Today, Wistar researchers continue to work on the leading edge of the fight against cancer, searching for fundamental root causes of the disease, and for better ways to diagnose, treat — and one day cure — cancer.

Future of Energy Creates Training Opportunities at Community College of Philadelphia

Community College of Philadelphia President Stephen M. Curtis, PhD. addressed a crowd on Thursday, Nov. 15 in the Center for Business and Industry (CBI) to discuss the creation of the College’s new Energy Training Center. The center will offer post-secondary career, certificate and academic programs and work with leading companies on workforce development.

Nearly 235,000 Pennsylvanians are employed directly and indirectly within Marcellus Shale related industries. More than 70 percent of the Marcellus Shale direct jobs are being filled by Pennsylvanians.

The result of a partnership between Labor & Industry (L&I) and the Community College of Philadelphia, the Energy Training Center is the second collaboration this year between the College and Governor Corbett’s Administration. In October, the College became the first pilot site for Pennsylvania Statewide Career Coach, an online L&I career-exploratory tool that connects high school graduates and job seekers to up-and-coming careers and to the colleges and universities that offer those degree programs.

With Pennsylvania Career Coach, students can compare occupations, review salaries, and use a tool to assess whether they possess the interest and skill sets required to succeed in specific careers.

The Community College of Philadelphia Energy Training Center, led by the College’s Corporate Solutions workforce development team, is designed to serve as an education and training partner for the energy sector in the Philadelphia region, which includes refineries and other companies in oil, gas, water and renewable energy industries.

Pennsylvania is positioned as an energy hub, generating a growing demand for highly skilled workers to work in the sector and for the supply chain that serves it. The Commonwealth added 17,800 jobs in September, the second highest number in United States behind Texas.

“Our region is home to the largest refinery on the East Coast, which is adding jobs and expanding the base of businesses that work in the energy supply chain,” Dr. Curtis said. “The Center positions the College to support regional partners in identifying the skills training and education required to fill the sector’s vacant positions and increase workforce readiness. Secretary Hearthway and her staff have provided valuable support and resources, and we look forward to our ongoing collaboration.”

L&I Secretary Hearthway said, “Gov. Corbett understands the substantial benefits the energy industry brings to Pennsylvania. Under his leadership, Labor & Industry began its relationship with Community College of Philadelphia in the creation of the Energy Training Center, which will enable Philadelphia-area job seekers and employers to participate in the growth and success of the dynamic natural gas industry.”

The College is using workforce data provided by Sue Mukherjee, Director of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, to assess which courses, certificates and academic degrees are most likely to meet the current needs of the energy supply chain and pay family-sustaining wages. The College’s Corporate Solutions team, with the help of L&I, also has held focus groups with companies working in the energy supply chain and met with individual employers to discuss their specific needs and challenges.

“With energy jobs so readily available, leading companies need workers with specialized technical skills, as well as frontline employees equipped to handle daily tasks such as accounting, bookkeeping, sales, office management and customer service,” Dr. Curtis said. “The goal is to support the supply chain now serving energy companies and offer specialized career training that connects residents to the high-pay, high-demand career paths.»

Though still in its infancy, a number of degree and certificate programs will be available at the Center as early as spring semester. For example, the Building Science Associate in Applied Science degree will prepare students for a career in the energy conservation industry and for such jobs as energy auditor, renewable energy installer and computer energy modeler. In addition, a range of professional development courses and workshops will be offered, allowing prospective job applicants in the energy-sector to upgrade skills and earn new credentials.

New Foundation to Support Minority and Women Business Owners

National small business expert, Melinda F. Emerson, known online as SmallBizLady, launched The Melinda F. Emerson Foundation for Small Business Success (http://www.melindafemersonfoundation.org) on October 15, 2012. This foundation was established to enable more people to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams, by providing free tools, educational materials and executive education opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses.

The foundation will support entrepreneurship educators, host mentorship events and provide resources for existing small business owners to upgrade their management and leadership skills. “I really wanted to create a way to affect more small business owners,” says Emerson. She adds, “This foundation will stand in the gap for minority and women owned business owners and provide access to executive education courses like the ones that helped me learn how to be a better business owner.”