The following was sent to Interim Provost Michael Wachter, who as then-Deputy Provost took the interim post when Dr. Stanley Chodorow left office.
In the week since I returned from China, I have had an opportunity to consider your request to return to the Law School at the end of this semester. I know that when you assumed the position, we agreed it would not last longer than one year. Because I also know how tirelessly you have worked as Interim Provost over the past year, how anxious you are to return to your research at the Institute for Law and Economics, and how deeply all of us are in your debt, I will of course agree to your request. I do so with a sense of loss, however, and with tremendous gratitude for all you have done for Penn and for me personally over the past year.
I have known no provost here or anywhere who has had a better grasp of the complex realities of academic planning and budgeting. You have brought high intelligence, sound strategy and--not least--a keen wit to this important work. Logic, reason and fairness have been your trademarks in academic administration, and each of Penn's schools and resource centers has been your beneficiary. Each is in a stronger position, thanks to your efforts.
Among the wide range of things you have accomplished as Interim Provost, perhaps your greatest achievement is the establishment of the College House system. The College Houses are truly becoming jewels in Penn's crown, and they would not exist today without the vision, leadership, support and attention to detail you have displayed so continuously. I truly believe that generations of future Penn undergraduates will appreciate the successes of the system we have begun--and they will owe you a debt of thanks.
I want to thank you finally, and particularly, for the special role you have played in helping to craft and implement our Agenda for Excellence. Throughout the three and a half years in which you have served as Deputy and then Interim Provost, you have made a major and continuing contribution to the University's strategic planning. The results speak for themselves: Penn is achieving one of the most ambitious sets of goals in higher education today.
You have stayed on as Interim Provost for a longer term than we thought would be necessary, yet I have never heard you complain. You have been a great colleague, and your deep sense of responsibility, extraordinary work ethic and love for our University are examples to us all. Please accept my warmest thanks, and please allow me to continue to call on you, after December 31, for special assignments needing your wise and careful handling. You have my very best wishes.
Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 14, December 8, 1998