Making the Grade - Joe Fabiani

Written by Yumee Lee, C'04

Oct. 1, 2003

"I remember my Legal Studies 210 professor crying at the last lecture when he was talking to the class about teaching. What he really wanted to do with his life was to teach students corporate responsibility and business ethics, and he was able to do that at Penn," said senior cross country runner Joe Fabiani, recalling his favorite academic memory at the University of Pennsylvania.


For this economics major, getting a Penn education means more than just learning about income distribution and theories of supply and demand. While Penn initially attracted Fabiani with a number one business school, a top 10 liberal arts college, and an urban location, what keeps the long distance runner enthusiastic about the university are the intangibles.

"What sets Penn apart from any other top caliber school is the nurturing aspect," said Fabiani. "In a lot of areas, Penn has exceeded my expectations. The professors here really want their students to learn and to prepare them for whatever happens later in life. They all love what they teach, and it shows."

The New York native has used this cultivating environment to his advantage. Carrying a 3.85 GPA, Fabiani is a three-time Dean's List honoree.

"I came to college to be in an academic environment and to be serious intellectually," said Fabiani. "The fact that I've been successful in school means I've been learning and working hard. It just means that I've been paying attention to academics and not letting distractions get in the way of achieving my the goals I set for myself freshman year."

As Fabiani begins the fourth year of his college career, the student-athlete has continued to make significant strides academically and has mastered the art of time management.

"There are always social distractions, but they never pose a problem in terms of getting in the way," said Fabiani. "Track can also be a distraction if you let it, but as long as you plan accordingly, academics can easily be a top priority." Fabiani has been able to not only balance the scholarly, social, and athletic aspects of being a university student, he has also has been able to make time to perform athletically on top of being accomplished in the classroom.

"This young man is living proof of what you can accomplish when you put your mind to something," said Head Track and Field/Cross Country Coach Charlie Powell. "Joe has steadily improved every season since arriving at Penn three years ago. A fiery competitor who has great mental strength, Joe is a joy to watch compete."

Having worked at a law firm in Manhattan this past summer as a paralegal, Fabiani will be looking to apply to law schools for next year. He is also contemplating taking the year off to "travel, work, or maybe run a marathon."

No matter what the next year holds for Fabiani, he knows that everything he has gained from being at the University of Pennsylvania will give him the background to go wherever he chooses.

"I think having studied at the University of Pennsylvania, law schools and employers will know that students here are subject to rigorous academics," said Fabiani. "This type of atmosphere is something that they want to see.