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Penn President Liz Magill kicks off the first meeting of the Red and Blue Advisory Committee on Oct. 12, 2022.

Credit: Jesse Zhang

Penn President Liz Magill has formed an advisory committee to inform the University's strategic framework over the next century.

The Red and Blue Advisory Committee — which was announced to the University community on Tuesday and held its first meeting on Wednesday — is part of a new initiative entitled "Tomorrow, Together: Penn's Next Century." The committee is chaired by John L. Jackson Jr., the dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, and consists of 15 additional members from across the University — including professors, administrators, and students — who will make recommendations to Magill for potential priorities.

"Penn’s future has never been brighter thanks to every member of our University community. We now have an historic opportunity to envision where Penn goes from here," Magill wrote in the announcement. "I am writing to invite you to join as Penn plans for tomorrow, together. Led by a Red and Blue Advisory Committee, we are embarking on a University-wide effort to inform strategic next steps for Penn."

The strategic framework for "Penn's future direction" and its local, national, and global priorities will be shared in the summer of 2023, according to Magill's message. In a written statement sent to The Daily Pennsylvanian, Jackson added that after holding its first meeting on Wednesday, the committee plans to meet "regularly, and often."

"By design, the process will be broad, inclusive, and forward-looking, and our committee will create opportunities for all to contribute and have their voices heard," Jackson wrote.

The two students appointed to the advisory committee are Undergraduate Assembly President and Wharton and College senior Carson Sheumaker and Graduate and Professional Student Assembly President Robert Watson. 

The "Tomorrow, Together" announcement comes after reports that Magill has begun meeting with and asking administrators close to her how to address pressing community issues, such as the sale of the University City Townhomes, for which the University recently announced its response. Magill wrote to the DP that the Red and Blue Advisory Committee arose from her initial meetings with people from across the University.

"As part of my transition and in my first months as president, I heard a consistent theme from our community," Magill wrote. "Faculty, staff, and students alike shared a genuine and strong desire to be engaged in a planning process that will consider Penn’s future."

Magill went on to write that the committee's work will allow Penn to "improve society for future generations." According to its website, the committee will explore a number of questions, including how the University can advance diversity, equity, and inclusion; how it can cultivate "an ethic of service to others," and how it can "maximally contribute" to Philadelphia, the United States, and the world. 

"Far from static, the framework will by design evolve and grow just as Penn evolves and grows, informed by ongoing University engagement, consultation, and collaboration," according to the "Tomorrow, Together" website. 

Magill became Penn's ninth president on July 1. The formation of the Red and Blue Advisory Committee precedes her inauguration, which will take place on Oct. 21.