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President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett at Convocation on Aug. 26, 2019.

Credit: Chase Sutton

Penn has selected former provost Wendell Pritchett to serve as the University's interim president, pending Amy Gutmann's imminent confirmation as United States ambassador to Germany. Pritchett will be the first Black individual to serve as Penn president. 

Board of Trustees Chair Scott L. Bok announced Pritchett's appointment in an email sent Friday morning to the University community. He wrote that Pritchett would serve until current University of Virginia Provost M. Elizabeth "Liz" Magill begins her tenure as Penn's ninth president on July 1.

Magill's confirmation as president is pending the Board of Trustees' confirmation at the upcoming March 3 meeting.

Pritchett, a former Penn Law faculty member and interim dean, served as University provost from July 2017 to December 2021. In December, Penn announced that Pritchett would return from a medical leave of absence that he took during the fall semester to serve as a senior advisor to Gutmann for the remainder of her tenure.

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on Gutmann's nomination sometime next week after senators voted to invoke cloture on her nomination on Wednesday. Gutmann also announced yesterday she would hold an event on Feb. 10 for all Penn community members to celebrate everything the community has done in the past 18 years.

On July 2, President Joe Biden nominated Gutmann as the next U.S. ambassador to Germany. Gutmann, who has been Penn's president for 18 years, wrote in an email sent to the University community that she would continue to serve until June 30, 2022, unless she were to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate at an earlier date.

"I’m very pleased to help during this important transition at Penn,” Pritchett said in the email announcement. “I care passionately about this institution — its faculty, staff and students. As we continue to work our way through the pandemic, there are many challenges ahead of us this semester, but we have an extraordinary team in place and I have every confidence that the months ahead will see the University continue to shine with new research discoveries, extraordinary patient care, continued excellence in the classroom and a caring commitment to our community.”