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President Liz Magill will be inaugurated as Penn's ninth president on Oct. 21, 2022. Credit: Jesse Zhang

This Friday marks the long-awaited inauguration of Penn’s ninth president Liz Magill, and the University has planned a plethora of festivities during Homecoming Weekend to celebrate.

The inauguration will feature events including a procession down Locust Walk, a 5K around Penn Park, and a pet-friendly walk with Magill and her goldendoodle. The evening before Magill's inauguration, the University Board of Trustees and president's special guests will attend a dinner, according to the University. 

The two-day program will represent Magill’s official installation as the University’s ninth president, according to the University’s announcement in August.

The festivities begin on Oct. 21 with an academic robing at 8:30 a.m. at the Annenberg Center. Magill, student leaders, and faculty will depart at 9:30 a.m. and walk in a procession through campus with Irvine Auditorium as the destination. Penn has invited presidents and delegates from peer institutions to attend the procession and inauguration, including Amy Gutmann and Judith Rodin, Penn's seventh and eighth presidents, respectively.

The inauguration ceremony will take place in Irvine Auditorium at 10 a.m. Attendance is by invitation only, but the ceremony will be streamed live online, and members of the Penn community can watch the livestream of the ceremony under the tent at Penn Commons, in front of Houston Hall.

After the inauguration ceremony, there will be a picnic and concert on College Green from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. which members of the Penn community must register to attend. The concert will feature some of Magill's favorite musicians: Jeff Tweedy, of the Grammy-winning rock band Wilco, and Sheryl Crow, a celebrated country music star, songwriter, and nine-time Grammy Award recipient.

At the picnic, members of the Penn community can sample bites from restaurants such as Zahav, Federal Donuts, and Goldie; enjoy picnic fare from Neuman’s Kitchen; and taste a special scoop of "Penn-augural Berry Chocolate Chunk" ice cream from Bassetts Ice Cream.

The University will host an academic symposium from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Irvine Auditorium. The invitation-only event will feature Magill in conversation with United States Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. The event will be live-streamed online and shown under the Penn Commons tent.

The event harkens back to Magill's background as an up-and-coming lawyer who clerked for late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg from 1996 to 1997. Ginsberg had described Magill as “the kind of law clerk I wish I could have kept forever” in a 2017 conversation with the World Justice Project.

On Saturday, students can register to join Magill and Olive, her goldendoodle, on a walk down Locust along with the Quaker mascot, members of the Penn Band, student athletes, and members of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center to Franklin Field, which is where the Penn Relays 5K will take place. Registrants are encouraged to bring along their own dogs.

Members of the Penn community are also invited to participate in the second annual Penn Relays 5K, which will start at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 22 and is organized around Penn Park — beginning and ending at Franklin Field. There is also a one-mile run and/or walk option.

Magill, who previously served as the University of Virginia’s provost and executive vice president, assumed the position on July 1. Gutmann’s successor was nominated on Jan. 13, and the Board of Trustees voted to confirm her nomination in March. 

The two days of festivities surrounding Magill's inauguration also coincides with Homecoming Weekend. Taking advantage of the momentous occasion and anticipated return of many Penn graduates to campus, many arts and cultural institutions at Penn have planned events for the weekend. On Saturday starting at 1 p.m., Penn is slated to play the homecoming football game against Yale University.

Students said they saw the upcoming weekend's events as historic and said they are excited to be a part of the moment. College first year Katrina Machetta said that the chance to witness the transition of leadership was a rare opportunity.

“As a freshman, it's exciting to be here at a time of new leadership. Only once in a blue moon is there a new University president," Machetta said. "Being here and being able to witness the start of her leadership as president will be really memorable. That is something we can take with us forever."

College first year Eric Yang says he is excited for the “regalia" of the robing ceremony. Yang said he had met Magill at a New Student Orientation international student picnic, recounting an encounter in which Magill remarked that she, too, was a first year after he introduced himself as a new student.

He added he is most excited for the concert and that music is a “cool way that [Magill] is connecting with us."