George A. Weiss, a Penn alumnus, trustee and chair of the Making History campaign, has presented the University with a $20 million gift to advance the Penn Integrates Knowledge initiative launched by President Amy Gutmann in 2005 as part of the Penn Compact.
The gift is designated to fund four PIK professorships as part of Penn’s commitment to attracting exceptional scholars whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge across academic disciplines. To date, 10 distinguished faculty members have chosen to work at Penn as PIK Professors, each holding a joint appointment in two schools.
“True to form, George Weiss has demonstrated a profound love for Penn, a consummate sense of our mission and impeccable timing,” Gutmann said. “Faculty support is a key campaign priority, and the George A. Weiss University Professorships will help us to catapult our academic community to a new level of eminence. It is a transformative moment, and we are grateful for George’s vision and unwavering support.”
Penn’s Making History campaign recently reached a significant milestone, having raised 75 percent of its overall $3.5 billion goal. Weiss’ gift brings the amount raised for faculty support to more than $386 million.
“I have long felt that education is the key to making a difference in the world,” Weiss said, “and I recognize that faculty are at the core of the University’s strength. By providing faculty support for the best teachers and scholars with an interdisciplinary focus, we can tackle the complex problems of our times and prepare Penn students to become leaders.”
Weiss is president of George Weiss Associates Inc., a money-management firm with offices in Hartford, Conn., and New York. At Penn, Weiss is a charter trustee and vice chair of the Executive Committee of the Board. Over the years, he has given more than $80 million to the University for endowed professorships, a deanship, endowed scholarships, the Weiss Tech House and the Weiss Center for International Financial Research at the Wharton School.
“It’s impossible to overstate George’s impact on the very basics of living, learning and teaching at Penn,” Gutmann said.
Click here to read more about Weiss, his gift and the PIK initiative.
Originally published on January 19, 2010