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Penn alumnus Joe Torsella, an active figure in Pennsylvania government and politics, was named to a position in President Barack Obama’s administration on Monday.

Torsella, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a bachelor’s degree in History and Economics from Penn, was tapped to be the next U.S. representative to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform.

Torsella’s appointment must first pass through the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, followed by a confirmation vote by the entire Senate.

He currently serves as chairman of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, a position to which he was named by Gov. Ed Rendell in 2008. He is particularly well known in the Philadelphia area for his work as president and chief executive officer of the National Constitution Center.

Vince Stango, chief operating officer at the Constitution Center, explained that Torsella was integral in securing millions of dollars in federal, state and private funding for the center in 1997, turning its operating deficit into a surplus.

“He came in during pretty dark days,” Stango said. “The center was in hard times financially and had been struggling close to 10 years.”

Torsella was president and CEO from 1997 to 2003, returning again in 2006. From the outset of his term, he quickly began to raise the profile of the center. He was “key in recruiting President George H.W. Bush as chairman of the Board” of Trustees in 2007, Stango added. Former President Bill Clinton, Bush’s successor, served as chairman in 2009.

Between 1992 and 1993, Torsella also served as Philadelphia’s deputy mayor for Policy and Planning for then-Mayor Rendell.

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