Meyerson's legacy

Former Penn President Martin Meyerson

Photo credit: University Archives

The University community was saddened last month to learn of the death of former Penn President Martin Meyerson, at the age of 84. Meyerson, who led the University from 1970 to 1981, was the first city planner to serve as president of a research university. During his tenure at Penn’s helm he oversaw a complete transformation of the campus core, with the creation of a green park and landscaped walkways in place of city streets. Meyerson’s association with Penn spanned five decades. He started his career here as an associate professor of city and regional planning in 1952 and left five years later for positions at Harvard, Berkeley and SUNY Buffalo, where he served as president before returning to Penn in 1970. Among his greatest accomplishments at Penn was the consolidation of several separate campus divisions into the School of Arts and Sciences. This spring, the American Planning Association awarded Meyerson its Lifetime Achievement Award to commemorate his extraordinary contributions to the field of city and regional planning. The informal photograph at left was taken outside the Furness Library on a snowy day sometime in the 1970s.

For more on this and other notable moments in Penn history, go to the University Archives web site at

Originally published on July 5, 2007