Celebrating his legacy

Pennsbury Manor to culminate 300th anniversary of Penn’s death with first-ever Governors’ Panel

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

Time to talk: On Sept. 29, four former Pennsylvania governors will convene on the grounds of Pennsbury Manor for the first-ever Governors’ Panel. Participants include (from top left) Tom Corbett, Ed Rendell, Mark Schweiker and Tom Ridge. Source: Pennsbury Manor

So far, 2018 has been a year of “firsts” for Pennsbury Manor.

In March during the statewide Charter Day celebration, The Great Law — Pennsylvania’s first governing documents drafted by William Penn in 1682 — were on display for the first time in history at his former Bucks County estate. Two months later, Pennsbury hosted its first yoga programming, which not only took advantage of the scenic, outdoor space, but helped bring the manor into the 21st century. Now, it’s gearing up for possibly its biggest event to date — the first-ever Pennsylvania Governors’ Panel.

On Sept. 29, four former Pennsylvania governors — Tom Corbett, Ed Rendell, Mark Schweiker and Tom Ridge — will convene on the grounds once occupied by the Commonwealth’s first governor and state’s founder. Gov. Tom Wolf has also been invited to participate in this first-of-its-kind forum.

The event, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m., includes a lunch and panel discussion. During the latter, the panelists will share insights from their terms in office, and discuss some of the ways in which they approached the challenges and opportunities faced in governing such a historically complex and diverse state.

The Governors’ Panel is the culmination of a year-long celebration commemorating the 300th anniversary of Penn’s death. The discussion will highlight Penn’s legacy, which reached across government, civic affairs, religion, cultural diversity and nature, and how it remains instrumental in today’s modern world. Prior to the panel, general questions will be distributed to each of the panelists to help promote an organic flow to the conversation.

Plans for this momentous event have been in the works since last summer, which is when brainstorming began for 2018’s special programming. According to Sarah Rudich, Pennsbury’s managing director, Schweiker played a key role in helping the initial idea of the panel become a reality. In early spring, he met with each of the other participating governors in-person to pitch the idea.

“He was instrumental in helping bring the panel program to fruition,” she said.

A number of local businesses and organizations have also been vital in ensuring the event’s success, including Bristol’s King George II Inn and Bucks County Community College’s culinary students, who will assist in the catering of the lunch. The school’s AV department is slated to set up a live broadcast of the event for those unable to get tickets, which are limited to 400.

In conjunction with the Governors’ Panel, Pennsbury will launch a special, limited exhibit that will feature odd and unique items gifted to governors over the years.

Proceeds from the event will help support Penn’s legacy for educating future generations. A portion will go toward the creation of the William Penn Scholarship Fund, which will pay for the transportation costs of Title I schools to visit Pennsbury Manor.

Individual tickets for the panel and luncheon are now on sale for $185. Pairs of tickets can be purchased for $350. Tiered sponsorship packages will also be available, with top-level sponsors invited to participate in a special one-hour meet and greet with panelists.

A ticket includes a three-course lunch and admission to the limited edition exhibit featuring rare and never-before-seen collections from the PA State Archives and PA State Museum. For group rates and sponsorship opportunities, contact Rudich at 215–946–0400 or c-srudich@pa.gov. Tickets can be purchased at pennsbury-society.ticketleap.com.

More details will be announced throughout the summer. For more information and updates, visit pennsburymanor.org/event/gov_panel. Pennsbury Manor is located at 400 Pennsbury Memorial Road in Morrisville. ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com