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.”

USP is a private university located in University City with about 2,800 students that offers programs in the science and health care fields. It is also the first college of pharmacy in North America, founded in 1821.

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