Mitchell and Margo Blutt: Endowing Professorships at Three Penn Schools
Mitchell J. Blutt, C'78, M'82, WG'87, and Margo Krody Blutt have made a gift of $4.5 million, including matching funds, to endow three Presidential Professorships across the University of Pennsylvania. The Mitchell J. Blutt and Margo Krody Blutt Presidential Professorships will be held by faculty members in the School of Arts and Sciences, the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School.
Presidential Professorships are awarded to exceptional scholars, at any rank, who contribute to faculty eminence through diversity.
“Mitchell and Margo’s commitment to faculty is inspiring and will have a major impact across the University,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Faculty excellence is at the heart of everything we do, and the Blutt Presidential Professorships will allow us to recruit innovative teachers and researchers. It is especially fitting that this gift will benefit the three Penn schools from which Mitchell graduated. We are grateful for Mitchell and Margo’s engagement and generosity.”
“Margo and I are delighted to make this gift in support of Penn’s outstanding faculty and commitment to diversity,” said Dr. Blutt. “Faculty at each of my three Penn schools provided me with guidance and unique insights on complex ideas that have shaped my career. It is our hope that holders of the Blutt Presidential Professorships will do the same for future generations of Penn students.”
Dr. Blutt is the chief executive officer of Consonance Capital, an investment firm focused on the healthcare industry. He was formerly the executive partner of J.P. Morgan Partners, the private equity investment fund of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and one of the largest private equity and venture capital activities in the world. He is also an adjunct professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.
At Penn, Dr. Blutt is a member of the Board of Overseers of the School of Arts and Sciences and a former member of the Penn Medicine Board, where he served on its Executive and Finance Committees. He previously served as a University Trustee, Chairman of the University Trustees’ Committee for Strategic Initiatives, and Vice Chairman of both the Trustees’ Diversity Committee and the University Committee for Undergraduate Financial Aid.
The Blutt’s past Penn giving has benefitted undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, internships, and professorships in the School of Arts and Sciences, the Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School. The Blutts also support music at Penn through a popular live music competition held each year at Homecoming, a music program and a songwriting symposium.
New Interdisciplinary Center to Promote the Study of Human Intelligence and Behavior
A new center at Penn Arts and Sciences has been established to unite researchers, programs and initiatives involving human intelligence and behavior across the University. Known as MindCORE (Center for Outreach, Research, and Education), the center will promote multidisciplinary research aimed at fundamental questions of human cognition, intelligence and behavior. It will also seek to engage broad audiences with the latest research findings and provide a home for several undergraduate and graduate programs.
Penn Arts and Sciences Dean Steven J. Fluharty, who directed the School’s undergraduate Biological Basis of Behavior major for more than 10 years, noted, “Penn has a long history of excellence in research and education on the brain and behavior, with extensive cross-School collaborations already in place. MindCORE will build on these strengths and ensure that Penn remains at the cutting edge in this new era, where researchers are making game-changing discoveries into phenomena including brain abnormalities, decision-making and the fundamental nature of human intelligence.” MindCORE is one of the School’s key endeavors under the “Mapping the Mind” initiative identified in the School’s strategic plan, Foundations and Frontiers.
The Center’s inaugural faculty director, Sharon Thompson-Schill, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor and Chair of Psychology, notes that Penn has an array of mind-brain-related centers, institutes and programs that have grown organically over the years. “MindCORE will help to consolidate these activities within one umbrella organization and will support them strategically with resources such as seed funds, technology, staffing and programming to make them more efficient, visible and impactful,” she commented.
A main focus of the center will be to catalyze new research on the mind and foster innovative collaborations between different departments and centers within Penn Arts and Sciences, as well as with other Penn schools including the Perelman School of Medicine, Wharton, Engineering, and the Annenberg School for Communication.
A variety of MindCORE programs, including lectures, partnerships with local museums and schools, and community science initiatives, will engage the academic community and the public. MindCORE will also facilitate more interaction among a number of brain- and behavior-related undergraduate programs including psychology, biology, linguistics, and Biological Basis of Behavior, and will become the home of the Cognitive Science major. In addition, there will be new opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to conduct research and disseminate the results.
Serving as MindCORE’s executive director is Heather Calvert. Ms. Calvert was the managing director of the Botswana-UPenn Partnership, the Perelman School of Medicine’s global health program in Botswana focused on education, clinical treatment, and research from 2008 to 2017, a time when the program grew from four to more than 250 employees. Previously she was the associate director for the S.S. Huebner Foundation for Insurance Education housed within the Wharton School.
MindCORE is led by an Executive Committee comprising Ms. Calvert and Dr. Thompson-Schill, along with David Brainard, professor of psychology; Joseph Kable, associate professor of psychology; Nicole Rust, associate professor of psychology and Michael Weisberg, professor of philosophy, and advised by an 18-member multi-school Faculty Advisory Board. MindCORE will officially launch in January 2018 under the motto: Penn’s hub for the integrative study of the mind, connecting researchers across our campus and with our community.
Providing Students with ISBNs and Price Information for Books
The Higher Education Opportunity Act requires universities to make available to students, for each course, the International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) and price information for required/recommended books and supplemental materials.
To comply with this requirement, the University of Pennsylvania has worked closely with Barnes & Noble, managers of the Penn Bookstore, to maintain a simple and cost-effective process to provide ISBNs to our students. Through the Bookstore’s online system, students will have access to a complete list of materials for all their courses, along with the ISBNs for each listed text.
As in the past, textbook information can be provided to other vendors, and students are in no way required to purchase their books at the Penn Bookstore.
Faculty are key to the success of the University’s efforts to act in accordance with this regulation. To that end, the efforts by Penn faculty members to work with the Bookstore to provide this important information for our students is both encouraged and appreciated.
—Wendell Pritchett, Provost
—Beth Winkelstein, Vice Provost for Education
Penn Bookstore: Major Construction Project
The Penn Bookstore is planning a major construction project which will entail the complete disassembly, removal and replacement of its current two escalators. The work will be done in non-contiguous phases starting in December 2017 with an anticipated completion date of February 2019. (See timeline below)
The planned work is essential to improve the reliability and serviceability of the escalators—the original equipment manufacturer that was used in the 1999 installation has ceased operation and, as such, replacement parts are difficult to obtain and maintenance workers are less familiar with the mechanics of the particular model.
In addition to the escalator replacement, the project also includes refurbishments to the flooring, restrooms, and fixtures and the transformation of the café to a fully-licensed Starbucks offering the complete range of coffees, to-go meal options, the ability to use the Starbucks Mobile App, and increased seating capacity.
Recognizing the important role that the Bookstore plays in campus life, the project has been strategically planned to minimize the impact on the Penn Community. The work has been divided into four separate periods so as not to impede major University events such as Commencement and Move-In. Given the magnitude of the required work, however, there will be impacts during other activities such as Homecoming and Family Weekend.
The Bookstore will retain its regular operating schedule for the entirety of the project. Construction barriers will allow the project to move forward while easing any disruption to the shopping experience, merchandise will be relocated from impacted areas and Bookstore staff will be ready to assist customers in finding repositioned items. The events space at the Bookstore will continue to be available. The current elevator will also remain in operation throughout the project.
The project will necessitate some street closures which will occur during low traffic periods and work will be scheduled to limit noise to certain hours.
The timeline is as follows:
- December 19, 2017 to early January 2018—Construction of a temporary staircase to supplement the existing passenger elevator and facilitate access to the second floor of the Bookstore while the escalators are being replaced.
- February and March 2018—Café renovation
- Mid-September 2018 to Mid-January 2019—Escalator removal and replacement
- February 2019—Removal of temporary stairs
Questions regarding this project may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Summary Annual Report for the University of Pennsylvania Health & Welfare Program
This is a summary of the annual report of The University of Pennsylvania Health & Welfare Program, Plan No. 503, sponsored by The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, EIN 23-1352685, for the period that began on July 1, 2016 and ended on June 30, 2017. This annual report has been filed with the Employee Benefits Security Administration, as required under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). Please note that not all employees are eligible to participate in all of the benefits available under the Plan. Please consult your Plan materials for specific eligibility information.
Medical, Prescription Drug, Dental, and Long Term Disability Benefits
The University of Pennsylvania has committed itself to pay certain medical and prescription drug claims, dental benefits and long-term disability benefits incurred under the terms of the Plan on a self-insured basis. In addition, the Plan has a contract with CIGNA Health and Life Insurance Company to pay certain medical claims incurred under the terms of the contract. The total premiums paid for the plan year ending June 30, 2017 to CIGNA were $115,805. The Plan also has a contract with Standard Insurance Company to pay certain long-term disability benefits incurred under the terms of the contract. The total premiums paid to Standard Insurance Company for the plan year ending June 30, 2017 were $1,241,912.
The Plan has contracts with Davis Vision Plan and Vision Service Plan to pay vision claims incurred under the terms of the contract. The total premiums paid under these contracts for the plan year ending June 30, 2017 to Davis Vision Plan were $680,771 and to Vision Service Plan were $447,935.
Life Insurance Benefits
The Plan has a contract with Aetna Life Insurance Company to pay life insurance, dependent life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance claims incurred under the terms of the contract. The total premiums paid under this contract for the plan year ending June 30, 2017 were $6,747,023.
Long Term Care Benefits
The Plan has contracts with John Hancock Life Insurance Company and Genworth Life Insurance Company to pay long term care claims incurred under the terms of the contracts. The total premiums paid under these contracts for the plan year ending June 30, 2017 to John Hancock Life Insurance Co. were $1,229,575 and to Genworth Life Insurance Co. were $775,838.
Your Rights to Additional Information
You have the right to receive a copy of the full annual report, or any part thereof, on request. Insurance information is included in this annual report. The items listed below are included in that report:
- financial information and information on payments to service providers; and
- insurance information including sales commissions paid by insurance carriers.
To obtain a copy of the full annual report, or any part thereof, write or call the office of the Plan Administrator, c/o Joanne M. Blythe, Retirement Manager, University of Pennsylvania, 3401 Walnut Street, Suite 527A, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6228, (215) 898-9947. The charge to cover copying costs will be $5 for the full annual report or 25 cents per page for any part thereof.
You also have the legally protected right under ERISA to examine the annual report in the offices of the Employer at the address for the Plan Administrator, above, and at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., or to obtain a copy from the U.S. Department of Labor upon payment of copying costs. Requests to the Department should be addressed to: Public Disclosure Room, Room N-1513, Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210.