In Appreciation of Two Deans
Resolutions passed by the Trustees on June 18
When Colin Diver came to Penn as Dean of the Law School ten years ago, we were heartened to know that the idealistic hero of Anthony Lucas's book, On Common Ground, was among us. True to that book's depiction of him, he has brought to his leadership at Penn a seriousness of purpose and a rare balance of mind and heart. A good listener and a quick decision-maker, he nevertheless remains open and amenable to change. His idealism and commitment to service have become a hallmark not only of his own life but also of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Penn's public service requirement, one of many programs that he instituted, is already a model for law schools throughout the world.
During his decade at Penn he has paved the way for the future by successfully updating the School's infrastructure. Determined to make the Law School's physical presence reflect and support its excellence, he built Tanenbaum Hall and the Biddle Law Library and provided for the total restoration of Silverman Hall. From inspired and admiring alumni and friends he raised more than $100 million in gifts and pledges. Dubbing Penn The Leadership Law School, he has increased the size of the faculty and enhanced its range and expertise. He has also reshaped the curriculum to provide the kind of interdisciplinary studies that are key to a modern legal education. As a result of his outstanding leadership, our graduates will help shape society and bring special strengths to the cause of social justice in the 21st century.
As lauded as he is for his abilities as an incisive thinker and leader, he is equally gifted in the classroom. Teaching with verve and clarity, he earns the admiration and gratitude of his students. Responsive to the complexities and difficulties of students' lives, he will go out of his way to help them reach their educational goals. There is evidence to suggest that he is a role model at home as well as on the job: his son Ned just graduated summa cum laude from Penn Law.
During the past nine years, Tom Gerrity's name has become synonymous with the Wharton School and with excellence, a three-part equation that has earned big dividends for Penn. A universally admired Dean, he has created a superb environment for his students and colleagues. A Rhodes Scholar of broad interests and attainments, he engages with students on a human level, encouraging them to be leaders on many fronts and in many aspects of their lives. His Renaissance Leadership approach has built bridges between Wharton and all of Penn's other schools and has resulted in more interdisciplinary programs than at any time in Penn's history. Bringing to Penn his skills as a corporate leader and one of the fathers of business re-engineering, he orchestrated the most significant curricular change in management education ever achieved by a business school. Carefully consulting with all of the School's constituents, he concentrated on leadership, entrepreneurship, technology, and globalization. Going right to the heart of the matter, he increased the size of the standing faculty and put a strong emphasis on the quality of teaching. He introduced exciting academic programming that is both collaborative and global in its focus and reach. Strengthening faculty research, he dramatically increased its impact on the academic and business communities worldwide. At the same time, his attention to Wharton Executive Education has made it one of the largest university providers of these services in the world.
While leading Wharton to international prominence, he has seen its MBA program recognized as #1 by Business Week since 1994, and its undergraduate program recognized as #1 by US News and World Report since 1995. During his tenure the School has tripled its endowment and has already raised over $200 million during the quiet phase of its $350 million capital campaign. Applications to the undergraduate and MBA programs have exceeded previous numbers in almost every year of the past decade, while the quality of entering students has also increased in all measurable ways. To comfortably accommodate Wharton's outstanding students and faculty, he leaves us with an additional legacy, his eagerly anticipated work in progress, Jon M. Huntsman Hall.
Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 1, July 13, 1999