Almanac Between Issues June 8, 2004

Provost Robert L. Barchi: Named President of Thomas Jefferson University

Robert Barchi

Provost Robert L. Barchi, has been elected Thomas Jefferson University's fourth president, Brian G. Harrison, chair of the Jefferson University's Board of Trustees, announced June 7, 2004, following a full board vote.

Dr. Barchi will begin his tenure at Jefferson on September 1, 2004.  He succeeds University President Paul C. Brucker, M.D., who announced his plans to retire in July 2003 after a distinguished tenure of 14 years.

"It gives me great pleasure to welcome Dr. Robert Barchi to Jefferson," Mr. Harrison said. "He brings to the Presidency an extraordinary blend of academic leadership experience and professional expertise that will help position the University for continued excellence.  He will also help solidify the excellent relationships and affiliations we now have with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and the Jefferson Health System." 

"I look forward to this exciting and challenging opportunity," said Dr. Barchi. "Thomas Jefferson University is an outstanding institution with a long and illustrious history of leadership in education, research and clinical care.  Jeff is highly respected both in the community and nationally among members of the various health professions. I'm eager to join the team of outstanding faculty, students, staff, alumni and Trustees in shaping a strong future for Thomas Jefferson University."

Dr. Barchi became Provost at Penn in 1999, after having spent much of his academic career in the university's School of Medicine.  In addition to his clinical activities as a neurologist specializing in neuromuscular diseases, Dr. Barchi is also a dedicated teacher and a molecular neuroscientist with a strong history of discovery in ion channel research that has been supported by nearly 30 years of continuous NIH funding.

"Thomas Jefferson University has made an inspired choice in selecting Bob to lead its colleges forward," said President Judith Rodin.  "Throughout his more than 30-year career at Penn, he has been a brilliant researcher and clinician, passionate teacher and successful leader.  He has been an outstanding Provost, trusted advisor, and a good friend. I wish him well as he moves on to this new challenge."

Dr. Barchi served as vice-dean for research in Penn's School of Medicine from 1989 to 1991.  In 1992, he established the Department of Neuroscience and became its first Chair.  In 1995, while serving as chairman of Neuroscience, he became Chair of the Department of Neurology. Between 1983 and 1996, Dr. Barchi served as director of Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences, an interdisciplinary, university-wide entity that he expanded to become the focus for Penn's growth in neuroscience, encompassing the intellectual activities of more than 120 faculty members.

As Provost, Dr. Barchi has served as Penn's chief academic officer, bringing to the post a dynamic depth of experience as educator, administrator, clinician and scientist. Among the numerous challenges he has addressed are:  assisting the President in working through the complex financial and management issues in the Health System; rebuilding the academic infrastructure of the Provost's Office; reasserting the primacy of the academic mission in the direction of the university; managing the issues and challenges of human research at the university; recruiting new leadership for nine of the University's 12 schools as well as most of Penn's leadership at the vice-provostial level; and leading the University through a strategic planning process, a lengthy and complex task engaging a team of more than 200 faculty, students and staff members.

As Provost, Dr. Barchi has also played a key role in developing Penn's annual budget and long-term financial plan, and has been responsible for creating critical new academic strategic initiatives.  His office has direct oversight for more than $700 million in annual research funding, as well as for Penn's 23,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students and 2,400 full-time faculty.

Dr. Barchi represented Penn in the creation of BioAdvance, a regional consortium of academic institutions, business and government dedicated to spurring statewide job creation and retention in the life sciences.  Today, he serves as vice-chair of that organization's board.  He is also a member of the Board of Ben Franklin Technology Partnerships, a public entity designed to speed the translation of new discoveries in fundamental science and technology into commercial application.

A native of Philadelphia, Dr. Barchi received bachelor of science and master of science degrees from Georgetown University, Washington. D.C., as well as Ph.D. degree in biochemistry and an M.D. degree, both from Penn.  He completed a residency in neurology at HUP.  Board certified in neurology, he rose from assistant professor of biochemistry to become the David Mahoney Professor of Neurological Sciences within a decade.  In 2004, in recognition of his many contributions to research, education and training at Penn, Dr. Barchi was named the Fairhill Professor of Medicine, one of the oldest endowed chairs at the University.

Dr. Barchi has received numerous honors, including election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his research accomplishments.  He is the recipient of the Senior Investigator Achievement Award of the American Heart Association.  He received the Distinguished Graduate Award from the School of Medicine, and the Lindback Award for Excellence in Teaching, also from Penn.  Dr. Barchi is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, the American Neurological Association, the College of Physicians and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has been elected to membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha.

A prolific author, Dr. Barchi's co-edited text Molecular and Genetic Basis of Neurological Disease is now in its third edition.  He has contributed more than 150 articles to professional journals and edited volumes.  He also serves on the editorial boards of numerous professional journals.

"In seeking Jefferson's next president, we identified a candidate who exemplified leadership, scholarship and administrative expertise," said Douglas J. MacMaster Jr., Esq., former Chair of the Jefferson Board, and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee.  "I am confident Dr. Barchi's strong credentials and philanthropic acumen will promote Thomas Jefferson University's future growth while protecting its legacy."

Thomas Jefferson University is composed of three colleges--Jefferson Medical College, the Jefferson College of Graduate Studies and the Jefferson College of Health Professions.  The three colleges enroll more than 2,300 future physicians, scientists and health-care professionals.


Posted 6/8/04

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