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University President Judith Rodin plans to step down in June 2004 as her term concludes. The announcement came last week and coincided with a meeting of the University trustees. [Daniel McQuade/The Summer Pennsylvanian]

University President Judith Rodin announced on Friday that she will be stepping down from her post at the end of June 2004.

Rodin -- who will have served as president for a decade -- will remain at Penn in a part-time capacity, working on fundraising and capital development in the newly-created position of Chancellor.

"I've accomplished everything I set out to do," she said.

A presidential search committee, overseen by University Board of Trustees Chairman James Riepe, will be formed this September to find a replacement. Riepe said an interim president would likely be unnecessary.

Rodin became the first female president of an Ivy League institution when she took office in 1994.

Under Rodin's tenure, Penn has seen dramatic growth, including a rise from 16th place to fourth in U.S. News & World Report's rankings, a tripling of its endowment and more than doubling the amount of its federally-sponsored research.

"We have achieved enormous amounts with the Agenda for Excellence and that strategic plan has been completed," Rodin said, adding that with a new strategic plan currently under development, it was time to step down.

"It's a big and long plan, and I think it requires sustained leadership over that next period and that's an eight-to-nine year period. I think that convinced me in looking at it that this was such a good time," she said, adding that the prospect of beginning a new five-year contract in 2004 helped convince her new leadership was necessary.

However, Rodin's expertise will still be available to her successor while she serves as Chancellor.

"It's a way to have some continuity," Rodin said. "I've built relationships, I have a depth of experience after ten years that the trustees think will be useful to them and frankly, to my successor, and I'd like to be able to be helpful."

Rodin added that she will also remain on faculty.

"I'm most proud about the academic transformation that we've made," Rodin said of her accomplishments, noting the creation of the College House system, initiatives in West Philadelphia and the addition of several hubs such as the Kelly Writers House as some of the achievements of which she is most proud.

"We've all been incredibly fortunate," University Provost Robert Barchi said of Rodin's decade on campus. "To have her for ten years has been a real blessing."

Rodin's departure makes Penn the seventh Ivy League school to have its president step down in recent years.

Jeffrey Lehman was named Cornell University's next president earlier this year, while Columbia University's president, Lee Bollinger, was appointed last year. In 2001, Lawrence Summers, Shirley Tilghman and Ruth Simmons were elected presidents of Harvard, Princeton and Brown universities respectively.

Other top administrators who have left Penn recently include former Executive Vice President John Fry, Annenberg School Dean Kathleen Hall Jamieson and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Richard Beeman.

"I have no regrets about stepping down... because I have a busy year ahead and I expect to be president until June 30, 2004, and there's a lot to do and a lot more time to do it," Rodin said.

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