Pennsylvania lawmakers create first-ever General Assembly Penn Caucus

Penn President Amy Gutmann in HarrisburgPhoto credit: Carl Socolow

From left to right, State Senator Daylin Leach, Kelly Greenleaf, State Senator Stewart Greenleaf and Penn President Amy Gutmann.

Earlier this week, Penn President Amy Gutmann traveled to Harrisburg with Penn Vet Dean Joan Hendricks, Board Chair David L. Cohen and Trustees Robert Gleason, Jr. and John Shoemaker to celebrate the inaugural gathering of the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s Penn Caucus.
 
Co-chaired by alumni State Senator Stewart Greenleaf, C’61, (R-District 12) and Representative Michael Gerber, C’95, (D-District 148), the Caucus brings together the community of Penn alumni, parents and supporters within the General Assembly for special events and presentations.
 
 “Keeping our friends in Harrisburg fully informed about Penn is one of the reasons we formed the Penn Caucus,” Cohen told the group.
 
Addressing the Caucus, President Gutmann acknowledged that Pennsylvania is facing difficult budget decisions due to the economic downturn. She asked the policymakers to remember that Penn is home to the Commonwealth’s sole school of veterinary medicine, and that funding it adequately is critical. She noted that 75 percent of all practicing veterinarians in Pennsylvania are graduates of Penn Vet, and that the School plays a vital role in keeping the Commonwealth’s animal industries safe. Gutmann also told the lawmakers that research and clinical practice performed by Penn Vet prevents dangerous diseases, such as the H1NI virus, from spreading from animals to humans.
 
“It is impossible to exaggerate the degree to which Penn Vet safeguards the economy, food supply and health of the Commonwealth’s entire living population,” she said.

Last year, the Commonwealth cut Penn Vet’s budget by 30 percent, forcing the School to suspend critical programs and services.
 
“Put simply,” Gutmann told the caucus members, “Penn Vet is too vital to the Commonwealth’s health and economy to go under the knife again.”
 
Before the Caucus meeting, Dr. Gutmann attended the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) annual reception in Harrisburg. Gutmann serves on the GPCC’s Executive Committee, representing the region’s higher education sector and Penn’s position as a major economic driver in the state. She also made several visits to legislators in the General Assembly as part of the day’s agenda.

Originally published on May 7, 2010