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Hackney The faculty of the History Department celebrated the career of Penn History Professor Sheldon Hackney at his retirement party in College Hall Wednesday evening. In attendance were President Gutmann, Department Chairman Kathy Peiss, and former Chairman of the Board of Trustees _______. Hackney specializes in American history of the South in the post-Civil War era, and is a prominent educator. He served during the Clinton administration as head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and also as University President from 1981-1993, during which he presided over the notorious Water buffalo incident at Penn. Credit: Michael Chien , Michael Chien

Penn will hold a campus-wide memorial service for the late former president Sheldon Hackney in March, the University announced at a Board of Trustees meeting on Friday.

The memorial will be held on March 27 in Irvine Auditorium. Hackney’s family — including Lucy Hackney, his wife of more than 55 years — is expected to attend.

Hackney, who was president of Penn from 1981-93, died on Sept. 12 at age 79 after a brief battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

He worked throughout his presidency to repair the University’s relationship with its West Philadelphia neighbors, creating what is today the Netter Center for Community Partnerships and introducing academically based community service courses into Penn’s curriculum.

Related: Under Hackney, a university met a community

After a brief stint serving as chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, he returned to Penn’s faculty in the late 1990s, spending the next decade teaching courses on the history of the American South.

The Board of Trustees also passed a memorial resolution for Hackney on Friday, recognizing his years as a president and professor. “Even as he led Penn with consummate skill, Sheldon remained, profoundly, a teacher,” the Trustees said in the resolution.

The University held a similar memorial service for Martin Meyerson, Hackney’s presidential predecessor, in 2007.

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