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President Rodin: Stepping Down in June 2004

Judith Rodin

Dr. Judith Rodin, president since 1994, announced  that she intends to step down from the office when she completes her 10-year term in June 2004. The June 20 announcement came following the meeting of the full Board of Trustees.

"Serving Penn these past years has been an extraordinary privilege and an exhilarating experience,"  Dr. Rodin said. "This is a remarkable community of amazing depth and breadth, and I am grateful to the Trustees for their support and for giving me the opportunity to work with so many talented and creative individuals. I am very proud of all that our faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners have together enabled Penn to accomplish.

"The decision to step down has been an extremely difficult one for me to make, but I believe it is the right time for Penn. We have successfully fulfilled our first strategic plan and with the next plan conceived and ready to launch, it is time for the next era of leadership. I love this institution and will always remain a part of it."

"Judith Rodin simply has it all," said James Riepe, chairman of the Trustees. "Through her vision, creativity, and boundless energy, Judy has provided extraordinary leadership to Penn over these past nine years--strengthening undergraduate, graduate and professional education, revitalizing the campus and community, increasing fundraising and dramatically enhancing the University's national reputation.

"Penn today is a stronger and more vibrant institution than at any time in our history," Mr. Riepe said. "More than ever Penn is the university of choice for the nation's best and brightest students and scholars. Our physical resources have never been better, we are on firm financial footing, and our relations with our city and community are the best they have been in decades.  Penn's future is brighter than ever."

Mr. Riepe said that pursuant to the University statutes, the executive committee of the Trustees would appoint in the months ahead a presidential search committee, to be comprised of trustees, faculty, and students, which he will chair.

Mr. Riepe expressed his appreciation to Dr. Rodin for providing a full year's notice, making it unnecessary to appoint an interim president.

Dr. Rodin holds faculty appointments as a professor of psychology in SAS and as a professor of medicine and psychiatry in the School of Medicine.

Commenting on her future plans, Dr. Rodin said, "I am thrilled by Penn's extraordinary success in our neighborhood transformation efforts. America's cities need to rebuild economic infrastructures, and provide avenues for individuals to lift themselves from poverty by creating jobs and the opportunity for growth. While all city budgets are facing staggering deficits, public-private partnerships for these kinds of efforts are more important than ever. Over the years, I've been asked by mayors and foundations to help them to replicate Penn's strategies and I've never had the time. This, coupled with my teaching and writing on leadership and civic engagement, and my service on corporate and communityboards, is an overflowing agenda."

A week after the Trustees' meeting, Dr. Rodin issued the following statement, "The Trustees encouraged me to take on some part-time responsibility to help them and the new President launch the silent phase of a new fundraising campaign after I step down next year. To provide more external heft to this role in fundraising circles, they suggested the title of Chancellor. I was both honored and flattered, but on reflection I believe this may create confusion in the higher education community. Thus, I have decided not to accept the title and have informed the Board of this today. Of course, I remain committed to help in fundraising in whatever ways needed."

  Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 1, July 15, 2003