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James J. Husson was named as Penn's new vice president of Development and Alumni Relations. Credit: Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania

Boston College administrator James Husson will serve as Penn's next vice president of Development and Alumni Relations, following the recent retirement of John H. Zeller — who held the role for 17 years.

Husson, who has served as Boston College's senior vice president for university advancement since 2004, will begin his tenure at Penn on Oct. 17, President Liz Magill announced via Penn Today

The Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations oversees the University's relationships with its over 290,000 living graduates. Duties of the role include fundraising and maintaining a lifelong connection between alumni and the school.

"Development and alumni relations is critical to our future, and I know Jim will be exceptional in this role," Magill wrote in the announcement. "He is a person of the highest integrity, and we are very fortunate to have him come aboard.”

Husson's appointment comes after the University concluded the most successful fundraising campaign in its history, the Power of Penn, which former President Amy Gutmann oversaw in 2021. The campaign raised more than $5.4 billion from 389,535 donors and over 41,000 alumni.

Prior to his time at Boston College, Husson served as vice president of development at Brown University and held multiple administrative roles at Harvard University. At Boston College, Husson oversaw a record fundraising campaign that brought in more than $1.6 billion.

His appointment at Penn also marks one of the first leadership announcements made by Magill, who became Penn's ninth president on July 1. A number of senior administrators are currently serving in an interim capacity, including Interim Provost Beth Winkelstein, Interim Vice Provost for University Life Tamara Greenfield King, and Interim Vice President for Finance and Treasurer Russell Di Leo — who took over for MaryFrances McCourt after she was named the University of Chicago's chief financial officer.

Magill is expected to publicly announce the formation of a provost search committee in the coming weeks.

In announcing Husson as his successor, Magill also praised Zeller for his service, saying that his contributions "reshaped" how the University engages with donors and alumni.