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Deans and Director to Resign
ON THE SAME DAY IN OCTOBER, the deans of the Wharton School and the Law School both announced their intentions to step down from their posts at the end of the fiscal year. Dr. Thomas P. Gerrity, the Reliance Professor of Management and Private Enterprise who has served as dean of the Wharton School since 1990, and Colin Diver, dean of the Law School and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law since 1989, will stay at the helm until the end of June. Both men said that, having led their schools for close to a decade apiece, they felt they had accomplished their goals and were ready to let someone new take over; both intend to stay on at their schools as professors.
   Under the leadership of Gerrity, Wharton's endowment tripled, to almost $300 million, and the school has been consistently ranked at the top of the nation's business schools. Construction for a new $120-million classroom building on the old University Bookstore site at 38th Street between Locust Walk and Walnut Streets is expected to begin this spring.
   Dr. Judith Rodin, Penn's president, hailed Gerrity for his "unparalleled leadership," adding: "That the Wharton School is broadly regarded as the finest business school in the world is a testament to the work of Tom Gerrity."
   "I believe strongly that it is healthy for all institutions to seek renewal through new leadership on a regular basis," wrote the 57-year-old Gerrity in his letter of resignation; he also said that he wanted to spend more time with his family. "I believe now is such a time."
   During Diver's tenure, the Law School also flourished. The faculty increased from 28 to 37 (and is expected to increase again to 40 by the end of the academic year), while the number of endowed chairs rose from 11 to 17. Thanks in good part to the construction of Nicole Tannenbaum Hall, which opened in 1993 and includes the Biddle Law Library, and to the revamped William Draper Lewis Hall -- renamed Silverman Hall in honor of a gift from Henry R. Silverman, L'64 -- the facilities available to students and faculty doubled. The academic programming took on a strong interdisciplinary cast, and an ambitious public-service program was instituted.
   "Colin Diver has done an outstanding job," said Rodin in a letter to the University's board of trustees. Lauding his "immense contributions," she said that the Law School is "very much stronger in virtually every respect today than it was" a decade ago.
   In his letter of resignation to Rodin, the 54-year-old Diver said: "I still wake up every morning looking forward to a day of challenge and learning, and I go home every night feeling a sense of accomplishment. But as I approach the 10th anniversary of my appointment, I also feel a sense of completion, as if a natural cycle in my own career and in the life of the school were coming to an end."
   In an editorial titled "Deans' departure to leave big void," The Daily Pennsylvanian opined that the two "have demonstrated strong leadership and provided vision for their respective schools," and will be "sorely missed." The paper also urged Rodin to "convene search committees as soon as possible to find replacements" for the two deans.
   In addition to the departing deans, Patrick T. Murphy, director of the Institute for Contemporary Art since 1990, has announced his resignation to become exhibitions director at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin. Though his resignation takes effect in the middle of this month, Murphy, a native of Ireland, will stay on in an adjunct-curator capacity through the middle of 1999. Although a committee to choose his successor has not yet been formed, Judith Tannenbaum, the ICA's associate director, said that the committee would be evenly composed of University and ICA advisory-board members.
   Murphy's tenure covered the nine years in which the 35-year-old ICA has resided at 36th and Sansom Streets, and has included exhibitions by British sculptor Rachel Whiteread, photographer Andres Serrano, the architectural firm of Venturi Scott Brown, and photographer Sally Mann.
   Recently, the ICA, like other Penn centers, was told that it must eliminate its deficits. In the ICA's case, that was somewhere between $200,000 and $250,000 out of a total budget of $1.3 million; one immediate result was that the staff was cut from 12 to eight.
   A final departure is that of Dr. Stanley Chodorow, the former provost, who left the University to become chief executive officer of California Virtual University, described as a "clearinghouse" for a consortium of California institutions offering courses and degrees via the Internet and other technologies. Chodorow served as provost and professor of history from 1994 until last December ["Gazetteer," December 1997], when he left the provost's office to concentrate on his candidacy for the presidencies of several universities. Since he stepped down, Dr. Michael Wachter, the Johnson Professor of Law and Economics, has been serving as interim provost.
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Copyright 1998 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 10/28/98