Penn graduate Helen Giles-Gee will be inaugurated this Friday as the newest president of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

Giles-Gee, whose work as president began last July, has served in a variety of leadership roles in the past — including a stint as dean of the School of Professional Studies at SUNY Cortland and as associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University System of Maryland.

Giles-Gee earned three of her degrees at Penn — a bachelor of arts in psychobiology, a master of science in science education and a PhD in measurement, evaluation, and techniques of experimental research in 1983. Giles has also studied at Rutgers University, earning a master’s degree in zoology.

She is the first female and African-American president of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, and the 22nd president in its history.

According to a Philadelphia Inquirer survey, only two out of 50 presidents of nonprofit, four-year colleges around Philadelphia were led by African-American women.

In honor of her formal inauguration, USP is hosting a weeklong celebration from April 13 to 19 with the theme, “A New Era of Opportunities: Teaching, Service, and Student Research.”

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