University President Judith Rodin will temporarily fill the shoes of Professor John DiIulio as the acting director of the Fox Leadership Program, Penn officials announced yesterday. Rodin was also appointed as a Robert Fox Leadership Professor, joining DiIulio, a political science professor, and Psychology Professor Martin Seligman. The Fox professorships and leadership program were created as part of a $10 million donation made by Penn alum Robert Fox in 1999. Fox is the president and chairman of RAFIndustries, his own private investment company. The Fox Leadership Program was created by DiIulio for the development of leadership skills. "We wanted to maintain the momentum of this program that John has begun," School of Arts and Sciences Dean Samuel Preston said. "He leaves a large gap, and I can't think of anybody better than Judy to fill it." Preston said that Rodin was a natural fit for the position. "I could think of no one more appropriate than Judith Rodin to fill this important and prestigious chair," Preston said. "She's extraordinarily well qualified for it." Rodin takes over the Fox Leadership Program two weeks after DiIulio announced that he would take a leave of absence to head the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Despite speculation that the selection of Rodin is insurance for the extended absence of DiIulio, Preston expressed confidence that Rodin's appointment is temporary. "I think we're going to have to cross that bridge when we get to it, and I don't expect to get to it," Preston said. Preston said that the Fox professorship is reserved for Penn faculty members, and is not a tool for recruiting faculty. "This is a very specific kind of chair," he said. "It is not the kind of chair that would be offered to a faculty member of another institution." Preston added that the endowed professorship is more of an honorary chair than an academic one. "An endowed chair is a distinct honor," he said. "The burdens that she's taking on are programmatic." However, the new appointment does not mean that Rodin will spend more time in the classroom. "This is another opportunity for her to have a more hands-on position in the undergraduate departments,"Preston said, pointing to the program development responsibilities that she will take on. The Fox Leadership Program sponsors workshops and forums on politics and public speaking. It also sponsors a lecture series which brings Penn alumni back to campus to speak with students about their experiences. Rodin, a Psychology professor, has authored or co-authored 10 books on various topics related to psychology. She could not be reached for comment yesterday. Rodin, who graduated from the University in 1966, returned to Penn in 1994 to become president of the University after spending 22 years as a faculty member and administrator at Yale. "President Rodin has been a leader throughout her career," Preston said. "Her record of achievement is testimony to the lifetime value of a liberal arts education."Comments powered by Disqus
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