University selects Vincent Price as next provost
Interim provost chosen from about 180 candidates
June 2, 2009, 3:52 am · Updated May 28, 2009, 12:00 am·
The search for Penn's next provost is over: Vincent Price will take the reins as the University's 29th provost beginning July 1, Penn President Amy Gutmann announced this afternoon.
Price is currently interim provost of Penn and a professor of communication in the Annenberg School. Price will succeed former Provost Ron Daniels, who left Penn last month to serve as president of Johns Hopkins University.
Price came to Penn 11 years ago from the University of Michigan, earned a Ph.D. and M.A. from Stanford University and received his B.A. in English from Santa Clara University.
"He's an eminent scholar and seasoned administrator, has done a spectacular job as interim provost, has a great understanding of student and faculty issues alike, has an excellent relationship with faculty and students on campus, truly loves Penn and is very ambitious for Penn," said Gutmann, who said she expects a seamless transition.
A search committee chaired by Wharton Dean Thomas Robertson led the relatively short search process, which took five and a half months compared with the standard six-to-nine month period to appoint a high-level university administrator. Executive search firm Isaacson, Miller also helped conduct the search.
According to Gutmann, the committee sought "somebody who has it all" - an eminent scholar, a collaborative leader and a great partner - for the position. In an international search, about 180 candidates were considered and 12 were interviewed before Price was ultimately selected.
In the last search Penn conducted for a senior-level administrator, Eric Furda was appointed Dean of Admissions in January 2008 to replace former Dean Lee Stetson, who abruptly departed in September 2007 ahead of his planned resignation date.
Price will begin the provost position with the added advantage that he will "hit the ground running," said Gutmann, as he has gained a close understanding of faculty and student issues from his current work at Penn. In particular, Gutmann highlighted the University's response-which Price led-to the recent meningitis and measles outbreaks on campus.
However, she added that being interim provost per se did not give Price a leg up in the search process, which Gutmann called "truly open" and more extensive than any other search in the past due to the high number of strong candidates.
As chief academic officer, the provost is responsible for coordinating all facets of Penn related to academic programs, research and student life and is also in charge of overseeing the University's 12 schools and deans.
In terms of goals, Gutmann said she expects Price to further advance the Penn Compact as the school's overarching mission, as well as continue to build interdisciplinary ties, strengthen financial aid and increase engagement internationally.
And in response to concerns that Daniels' perceived strong affinity with the undergraduate body would depart with him, Gutmann said that Price, whose daughter Sarah is a rising sophomore in the College, will seek to maintain close relationships with the student body.
Price will formally assume office on July 1, following ratification of his selection by the University Board of Trustees at their June meeting.