The following memo was sent by President Amy Gutmann on February 16, 2006:
It is with considerable regret that I announce Omar Blaik's resignation as Senior Vice President of Facilities and Real Estate Services effective March 31, 2006. Omar 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.
During his tenure, Penn's construction and real estate activities have totaled in excess of $2 billion. Major projects overseen by Omar 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 the Fresh Grocer, the Bridge Cinema, and Marathon Grill, and complemented by several arts groups, revitalized a lackluster strip into a bustling destination.
Omar 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 Café Live, and the Translational Research Labs, which together enliven our east campus.
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.
I have asked Omar to work closely with EVP Craig Carnaroli to ensure a smooth transition. A search will be undertaken for Omar's successor.
Please join me in thanking Omar for his tremendous service and contributions to the University and wishing him well in his new endeavors.
Originally published on February 9, 2006