The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.


Classrooms in the Neural and Behavioral Sciences Building will host Psychology, Biology and Biological Basis of Behavior classes. (Courtesy of the Smith Group Architects)

Among other academic and financial projects, Penn’s Board of Trustees approved a $2.87 million proposal at its stated meeting on Friday to begin the design development phase for a new Neural and Behavioral Sciences Building.

The meeting marked the end of a two-day discussion at the Inn at Penn and the final gathering of the full Board this year.

The Neural and Behavioral Sciences Building, which will be located between the Leidy Laboratories of Biology and the Carolyn Lynch Laboratory near 38th and University Avenue, will house the Psychology and Biology departments, as well as the Biological Basis of Behavior Program.

Last week, School of Arts and Sciences Vice Dean Ramin Sedehi described the building as “the Huntsman Hall for life-science students.”

Additionally, the Board of Trustees approved plans for several other capital projects, including a $102 million resolution to begin the development and construction of the South Pavilion Extension onto the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, as well as an $8.7 million proposal to renovate Mayer Hall at 38th and Spruce streets for the first time since 1964.

The Board also provided updates on the University’s current financial state.

In her presidential report, Penn President Amy Gutmann noted that, while the University hit its overall $3.5 billion goal in the Making History fundraising campaign earlier this year, there are still several individual goals — including undergraduate financial aid — that must be reached before the campaign comes to a close in December 2012.

There are still “a lot of goals to meet and we’re going to use those 14 months to make sure we meet all our goals,” Gutmann said. She added that the remainder of the campaign can “show the city, the state and the world how strong Penn is and what we can do.”

According to a financial report released at Friday’s meeting of the Trustees, Penn’s total endowment value has decreased 5.1 percent through the first quarter of fiscal year 2012 — from $6.58 billion as of June 30 to $6.25 billion as of Sept. 30.

At the Budget and Finance Committee meeting on Thursday, Vice President of Finance and Treasurer Stephen Golding said the University is “optimistic” that its endowment will recover over the remainder of the fiscal year.

He added that Penn’s endowment numbers “would probably tell a different story” if calculated today, due to strong market performance, since the close of fiscal year 2012’s first quarter. In October, the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 9.5 percent, marking its best month since October 2002.

Other committees met on Thursday to discuss issues and initiatives of their own.

The Academic Policy Committee discussed plans to establish a Doctor of Science in Dentistry in the School of Dental Medicine. The new degree offering — which is the first of its kind at Penn — was approved by the full Board on Friday. Once implemented, the five-year program will enroll a maximum of five students each year.

The Local, National and Global Engagement Committees listened to a presentation by students and administrators on Penn’s study abroad and international engagement opportunities.

While study abroad numbers have been rising in recent years, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Ezekiel Emanuel noted that the University is looking to get more students interested in taking a post-graduation year abroad.

“Truth be told, we are not fantastic at Penn about things like the Peace Corps,” he said.

The Student Life Committee participated in a panel on extracurricular activities and opportunities at Penn, and the Facilities and Campus Planning Committee received an update from Vice President for Facilities and Real Estate Services Anne Papageorge on the construction of a new Information Commons at Franklin Field.

The 7,000-square-foot Information Commons, Papageorge said, should be completed by February.

The next Board of Trustees meetings are scheduled for Feb. 16-17, 2012.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.