President Amy Gutmann announced Omar Blaik’s resignation as Senior Vice President of Facilities and Real Estate Services effective March 31, 2006. Mr. Blaik is launching a community and urban development venture focusing on urban universities nationwide. He plans to base his new firm in Philadelphia.
“Omar has served the University superbly for the past nine years, leading construction and real estate development initiatives across campus, from 40th Street to the postal lands. Under his talented leadership, Penn has taken enormous strides in transforming the campus and the University City community into a more lively and livable environment for faculty, students, visitors, and residents alike,” Dr. Gutmann added.
During his tenure, Penn’s construction and real estate activities have totaled in excess of $2 billion. Major projects overseen by Mr. Blaik include the renovation of the Quad and the construction of Perelman Quad, Levine Hall, and the Penn Alexander School. The development of 40th Street, now anchored by Fresh Grocer, the Bridge Cinema, and Marathon Grill, and complemented by several arts groups, revitalized a lackluster strip into a bustling destination.
Mr. Blaik directed an energy conservation strategy that saved Penn millions of dollars. He also played an integral role in purchasing the postal lands while spearheading redevelopment of the Left Bank, World Cafe Live, and the Translational Research Labs, which together enliven Penn’s east campus.
Dr. Gutmann said, “Omar has been a wise and supportive advisor to me. I, along with the many other Penn colleagues and friends, will greatly miss his intelligence, insights, and creativity.”
Dr. Gutmann noted that a search will be undertaken for Mr. Blaik’s successor.