At the Annual Stated Meeting of the University Trustees on June 16, Chair David L. Cohen addressed climate change in the wake of the recent decision by the President of the United States to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Mr. Cohen said that in early June, Penn President Amy Gutmann, along with 11 other Ivy-Plus presidents, signed a “strong statement” reaffirming the one from 2015—the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge —which had been signed by 318 institutions. It stated their “commitment to accelerate the global transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices on our campuses.” He also noted that the Trustees do not see any reason to change their stance from last September in regards to the proposal from Fossil Free Penn (Almanac September 27, 2016).
The Trustees passed Memorial Resolutions for Joseph F. Rascoff (Almanac April 18, 2017) and William J. Zellerbach (Almanac April 4, 2017).
Mr. Cohen was reelected chair and Robert M. Levy was reelected vice chair, both for another year. The executive committee and the investment board were elected. David S. Blitzer was elected a Term Trustee, Julie Brier Seaman was reelected a Term Trustee and Perry Golkin was elected a Charter Trustee. A resolution of appreciation was passed for Krishna P. Singh and he was designated an Emeritus Trustee.
President Gutmann presented three resolutions of appreciation which all passed with applause. One was for Bonnie Gibson who retired as Penn’s Vice President for Budget and Management Analysis, a position she held for 13 of her 30 years at Penn. Another was for Susan Phillips who retired as Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for Penn Medicine.
The third was for Vincent Price, Penn’s longest serving Provost and a collaborative leader who has strengthened Penn’s global engagement, enhanced arts and culture at Penn, developed new forms of learning, and diversified the faculty. In recognition of his extraordinary leadership, he received a standing ovation and was designated Provost Emeritus of Penn, as he leaves to become Duke’s 10th President.
Trevor C. Lewis was appointed as Vice President for Budget and Management Analysis (Almanac May 30, 2017); Joann Mitchell was appointed as Senior Vice President for Institutional Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer (Almanac March 28, 2017) and Wendell Pritchett was appointed as Provost (Almanac May 2, 2017).
President Gutmann noted that four Penn faculty members were recently elected members of the National Academy of Sciences (Almanac May 30, 2017) setting a new record for Penn. During Alumni Weekend, more than 13,000 alumni returned, setting an attendance record, as did the fifth reunion class with more than 1,100.
EVP Craig Carnaroli gave the financial report which featured forecasted results for the periods ending June 30, 2017 and June 30, 2018. The total net assets for the Consolidated University are forecasted to increase by $1.2 billion to $15.7 billion due to strong investment performance, and an increase in net assets from operations of $242 million is projected for FY2017. In FY2018 total net assets for the Consolidated University are budgeted to increase by $598 million primarily due to projected endowment returns. An increase in net assets from operations of $130 million is budgeted for FY2018.
PSOM Dean and EVP for the Health System Larry Jameson reported that it was a banner year for PSOM which graduated 176 new physicians in the 250th class. PSOM has a new patient pavilion under construction (Almanac May 9, 2017) and a strategic plan for the upcoming five years.
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Eric Furda reported that there was a record applicant pool of 40,413 candidates for the Class of 2021 and the Class represents all 50 states as well as DC and PR and 69 other countries. One in eight is a first generation student. All 13 KIPP students who entered Penn four years ago graduated in May thanks to the support of GIC.
The Trustees authorized the spending rule for endowments as well as the FY2018 Operating Budget and Capital Plan for the University and for the Health System. They also authorized up to $500 million for further development and construction of the Pavilion at HUP and $175 million for further development and construction at the Chester County Hospital expansion; the transaction related to Virtua Health and joint ventures with regard to radiation oncology; a new lease for Wharton, External Affairs at FMC Tower, fifth floor.
The Trustees also approved numerous appointments to Penn Medicine, overseers and other boards.