Penn’s Board of Trustees met on June 19 to discuss and approve several major initiatives within the University. Here are some of the highlights.
1) Trustee Chair David Cohen announced that Philadelphia media mogul Ralph Roberts died at age 95. Roberts, the founder of Comcast, graduated from Wharton in 1941 and received an honorary degree from Penn in 2005. In 2006, Roberts and his son, Brian, pledged $15 million to Penn Medicine for the construction of the $144 million Roberts Proton Therapy Center, which opened in 2009. Penn President Amy Gutmann called him a “cherished member of the Penn family.”
2) David L. Cohen was re-elected chair of the board, while Andrea Mitchell and David Silfen were re-elected as vice chairs. Cohen, who graduated from Penn Law in 1981, is the Executive Vice President of Comcast. Mitchell, a 1967 College graduate, is now NBC’s foreign affairs correspondent, and Silfen, a 1966 College graduate, is the CEO of an investment management company.
3) The board celebrated the success of May’s Alumni Weekend, which ran from May 15 to May 18 and culminated in the 2015 Commencement Ceremony. This year, the weekend boasted a record-breaking attendance of more than 11,750 alumni and guests.
4) Gutmann presented a resolution of appreciation for Eduardo Glandt, who served as the Nemirovsky Family Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences for 17 years. Glandt, who received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Penn in 1977, uses computer simulation techniques and statistical models to investigate various chemical phenomena.
5) Gutmann also presented resolutions for the appointment of two new deans: Vijay Kumar as Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science and Theodore Ruger as Dean of the Law School. Kumar, who was previously a professor of Mechanical Engineering, is known for his work with autonomous robots and algorithms for collective behavior. Ruger, who has been on the Law School faculty since 2004, specializes in health law and regulation, food and drug law and constitutional law.
6) Provost Vincent Price announced the appointment of Beth Winkelstein as Vice Provost for Education. Winkelstein, who replaced Vice Provost for Education Andrew Binns on July 1, previously served as Dean for Undergraduate Education in the School of Education and Applied Sciences. Her research focuses on the physical consequences of injury, especially bodily harm resulting from sports, automobile accidents or degenerative diseases.
7) Vice President for Finance and Treasurer Stephen Golding gave the financial report, noting a strong forecast for the 2015 fiscal year. He cited an academic component that outperformed budget, and the successful relocation of the Trauma Center to the Penn Presbyterian site in February. He also mentioned that the University of Pennsylvania Health System has improved its mortality rate. The budget for the 2016 fiscal year contains an operating surplus, but the University expects to lose cash because of construction projects, including the renovation of the Larry Robbins House of the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology.
7) Dean of Admissions Eric Furda announced that the Class of 2019 was chosen from the most competitive pool of applicants in Penn’s history, resulting in an overall acceptance rate of 9.9 percent. The class hails from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam, as well as 84 countries around the world. Thirteen percent of the class are first-generation college students, 14 percent are legacies, and 45 percent identified as minorities.
8) The board approved a Master of Science in design, allowing the School of Design to offer post-graduate students advanced professional training in architecture.
9) The board announced that the operating budget for the 2016 fiscal year will be $3.367 billion. $200 million will be used for energy efficiency upgrades and maintenance, including lighting upgrades in several buildings and other improvements in major building projects.
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