Paul R. Levy, President and CEO, Central Philadelphia Development Corp.
Harris M. Steinberg, Executive Director, Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University
Dr. Sandra L. Tatman, Executive Director of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia
January 16, 2015; 9:00am – 10:30am Lecture, 11:00 – 11:45am Procession; 12:00pm – 2:00pm Luncheon
Location: Seminar at Benjamin Franklin Hall, American Philosophical Society; Procession to Franklin’s Grave, Christ Church Burial Ground; Luncheon at Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District
Philadelphia in Franklin's era was known as the Athens of the New World. As master builders and carpenters erected homes ranging from simple to elaborate, Franklin turned his attention to safety features that were both useful and practical helping to provide the infrastructure for this growing metropolis. Through his Pennsylvania Gazette he stressed the need for a better water supply, urged the formation of fire companies, and suggested the paving and lighting of streets. In his private time he created the Franklin stove and his experiments with electricity gave rise to the lightning rod.
On January 16, 2015, the Franklin Birthday Celebration will present the Franklin Founders Award to Laurie D. Olin in recognition of his lifetime work in landscape design and urban planning. In 2013, Mr. Olin received the National Medal of Arts. His work through his firm, The Olin Studio, has helped make Philadelphia a more livable and successful city — a shining reflection of Dr. Franklin’s commitment to the improvement of civic life.
The 2015 Philadelphia Celebration will start with a free morning seminar on the topic of Building the City. Afterwards there will be a procession up 5th Street to Dr. Franklin’s grave followed by a luncheon honoring Mr. Olin.
Celebration! Benjamin Franklin, Founder is a collaborative organization of representatives of Franklin related organizations that each year plan a celebration in Philadelphia of Franklin’s birthday. The celebration’s intent is to bring national attention to Franklin’s ideas, ideals, and accomplishments which remain relevant today. Each celebration is built around a separate theme related to a different facet of Franklin’s interests. While Franklin’s involvement in a particular field is explored, the focus also is on contemporary research and development within that field. Each year, the Franklin Founder bowl is awarded to an individual who has made significant contributions to that field.