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In Step With Penn's President-Elect

J. Rodin, A. Gutmann, J. Riepe

After the meeting concluded last Friday afternoon, President Judith Rodin and Trustee Chairman James Riepe joined President-elect Dr. Amy Gutmann and her husband, Dr. Michael Doyle, and their daughter Abigail (not shown), as the procession--led by the Penn Band (below)--made its way from the Inn at Penn to Houston Hall's Hall of Flags for a gala luncheon.

Penn Band

As Trustee Chairman James Riepe called Friday's Stated Meeting to order, he said he was "delighted to see such great attendance" at the much anticipated meeting which had a "special agenda item" that only comes up every ten years. That item was last on what was a full agenda, at a meeting in the very full Woodlands Ballroom at the Inn at Penn.

The unusually large attendance was due to the fact that many members of the Penn community wanted to be part of the excitement as the Executive Committee presented the resolution to the Board of Trustees to consider the nomination of Dr. Amy Gutmann, currently provost at Princeton, for President of the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Riepe explained the process that began soon after Dr. Judith Rodin announced last June that she would be stepping down at the end of this June, as Penn's President after a decade of service. Search committee member and former trustee chair Al Shoemaker placed Dr. Gutmann's name in nomination after acknowledging the efforts of Mr. Riepe who led the Consultative Committee in an effective search. Such a feat Mr. Shoemaker could especially relate to  he said, since he had led the committee which selected Dr. Rodin ten years ago.

Many invited guests--including Penn President Emeritus Sheldon Hackney and his wife, Lucy--were there to witness this new chapter in Penn's history unfold.

After four rousing speeches to second the nomination, Dr. Gutmann was unanimously elected by a hand vote and the "ayes" had it. Then, after a standing ovation, Dr. Gutmann delivered a short acceptance speech before leading the procession through campus to the gala luncheon at the Hall of Flags. Along the route, the Penn Band played as GET-UP protesters yelled, "Count the Votes" while other bystanders eagerly caught a glimpse of Penn's new President-elect, whom they cheered.

E. Rendell

At the luncheon, City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said she looked forward to working with Dr. Gutmann, continuing the kind of partnership that she has developed with President Rodin. Dr. Lance Donaldson-Evans, chair of the Faculty Senate said the faculty is "absolutely delighted" and "we the faculty pledge you our full support." Governor Ed Rendell came and added his words of welcome noting the "symbiotic relationship" that exists between Penn and the City. Counterparts, one of Penn's award-winning acapella groups, performed harmoniously giving the President-elect a chance, as Mr. Riepe put it, to hear students who can sing as well as those who can yell.

J. Blackwell

He was referring to the more than 100 graduate students and their supporters who had been at the open meeting wearing GET-UP T-shirts in an effort to bring attention to their ongoing efforts to unionize. As one of the group's co-chairs, David Faris, suddenly stood up and began shouting at the trustees, many of the other graduate students stood with him as he insisted on interrupting the meeting, although Mr. Riepe pointed out that it wasn't an open forum. When it was evident that the trustees were not about to engage in a discussion on this topic, Mr. Faris yelled, "we'll do what we have to do--see you in the streets."


(Click here for Mr. Riepe's report, Mr. Shoemaker's nomination, and the four seconding speeches of search committee members, along with Dr. Gutmann's acceptance speech.)




  Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 23, February 24, 2004