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Report to the University Community by the Consultative Committee for the Selection of a President

Following Dr. Judith Rodin's announcement to the Board of Trustees on June 20, 2003 of her intention to step down from the Presidency, planning for the formation of a search committee was initiated and a search firm to assist the committee was selected. The Consultative Committee for the Selection of a President was approved by the Executive Committee of the Trustees and convened for its first meeting by Chair James S. Riepe on September 11, 2003. On January 21, the Consultative Committee presented its unanimous recommendation of a single candidate to the Executive Committee of the Trustees, which approved placing the name of Dr. Amy Gutmann into nomination

The Consultative Committee met to deliberate as a group on 10 occasions and via conference call twice.  Beginning with a candidate pool of approximately 250 individuals identified by higher education specialist search firm Isaacson, Miller and 40 unsolicited nominations, members of the search committee ultimately met with 18 individual candidates in a series of 34 nationwide interviews.  Lead candidates were interviewed on multiple occasions and extensive referencing was conducted on these candidates.

The position of Penn's presidency was advertised in national and specialized higher education periodicals.  Additionally, e-mails were sent to every Penn faculty member, student, staff member and alumni, soliciting input on Penn's priorities, the challenges for the next administration, characteristics for the successful candidate and specific nominations via a presidential search web site.  A series of town meetings were held on campus for the purposes of creating a forum for dialogue with faculty, students and staff on these topics.

The result of the Committee's information-gathering and research activities was the following lists of priorities for Penn and challenges the new president would face in achieving those priorities, and characteristics for the successful applicant.


  • maintaining the current momentum of the University
  • expanding the financial resources available
  • establishing Penn's reputation as the most differentiated Ivy with a distinctive urban identity
  • continuing to strengthen the quality and depth of faculty
  • continuing the focus on undergraduate education
  • enhancing Penn's prestige and reputation
  • strengthening the quality and visibility of graduate Ph.D. programs
  • maintaining the commitment to diversity throughout the University and in each of its constituencies
  • leveraging the advantage of 12 schools on the same campus for greater interdisciplinary research and teaching
  • maintaining constructive relationships with our community
  • working to make the College House system more effective


  • managing a large, complex, decentralized organization
  • operating a major academic medical center as an integral part of the University
  • making strategic choices about academic and administrative
  • priorities and resource allocation
  • expanding fundraising and increasing revenue generation in order to fund priorities and narrow the endowment gap with peers
  • operating in what is likely to be a more challenging economic environment
  • capitalizing on the changes in technology in the next decade
  • enhancing the efficiency of the administration and the faculty

Candidate Characteristics

  • demonstrated leadership with an ability to develop and
    implement a vision for the future
  • credibility as an academic leader, one who values excellence in teaching and research
  • strong management and financial oversight skills
  • strong fundraising skills
  • ability to identify, attract and retain talented people
  • ability to engage diverse constituencies and a commitment to diversity
  • excellent communicator

Chair: James S. Riepe, W'65, WG'67, Charter Trustee

Trustee Members:

Thomas Ehrlich, Esq., Term Trustee
Deborah Marrow, CW'70, GR'78, Alumni Trustee
Andrea Mitchell, CW'67, Charter Trustee
Egbert L. J. Perry, CE'76, WG'78, GCE'79, Term Trustee
Alvin V. Shoemaker, W'60, HON'95, Charter Trustee
David M. Silfen, C'66, Term Trustee
Michael L. Tarnopol, W'58, Charter Trustee
Paul C. Williams, W'67, Alumni Trustee, President, Penn Alumni

Faculty Members:

Howard Kunreuther, Cecilia Yen Koo Professor, The Wharton School
Phoebe S. Leboy, Professor of Biochemistry, School of Dental Medicine
Mitchell P. Marcus, RCA Professor of Artificial Intelligence, SEAS
E. Ann Matter, Professor of Religious Studies, School of Arts and Sciences
Michael T. Mennuti, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine
Charles W. Mooney, Jr., Professor of Law, The Law School
Arthur Rubenstein, EVP of UPHS and Dean of the School of Medicine
Barbara D. Savage, The Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought, SAS

Student Members:

Robert J. Alvarez, WG'04, Chair, Graduate and Professional Student Assembly
Jason M. Levy, C'04, Chair, Undergraduate Assembly
Dierdra J. Reber, PhD Candidate, Department of Romance Languages, President, GSAC
Ophelia Roman, C'05, President, Student Committee on Undergraduate Education

Supporting the work of the Consultative Committee:

Leslie Laird Kruhly, Secretary of the University
Ramona Johnson, Esq., Search Coordinator



  Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 26, March 23, 2004