Professor Kumar: Kal Penn to Teach at Penn

Minority GroupsEducationKal PennColleges and UniversitiesTelevisionIvy League

It sounds a bit like a premature April Fool's joke, but Kal Penn will teach a pair of classes at the University of Pennsylvania in 2008.

The Philadelphia-based Ivy League basketball powerhouse announced on Monday (March 26) that Penn -- best known as the star of "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" and more dramatic "The Namesake" -- will serve as guest instructor at Penn -- No, not Penn State -- in the spring of 2008, teaching classes titled "Images of Asian Americans in the Media" and "Contemporary American Teen Films."

The two courses, likely to be over-enrolled if this isn't a weird April Fool's joke, will be offered by the Asian American Studies department and cross-listed under the School of Arts and Sciences' Cinema Studies department.

Last November, Penn was a keynote speaker at Penn's annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Week.

"The Asian American Studies Program is delighted that Kalpen Modi, a.k.a. Kal Penn, chose our program to host his teaching engagement at Penn," Grace Kao, director of the Asian American Studies Program at Penn, says. "Mr. Modi is one of the leading Asian American actors of his generation and is particularly aware of how his racial and ethnic identification has affected his professional experiences."

In addition to "Harold & Kumar," Penn's film credits include "Van Wilder," "Van Wilder: The Return of Taj" and "Epic Movie." He recently had an arc on "24" and he has signed on to co-star in the ABC comedy pilot "The Call."

The 29-year-old actor also has a B.A. in sociology with a specialization in theater, film and television from the University of California, Los Angeles, and is currently working on a graduate certificate in international security at Stanford University.

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