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Coverage of Trustees’ September Meeting
September 22, 2009, Volume 56, No. 04

At Thursday’s Stated Meeting of the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees, Chairman James Riepe asked that a resolution be passed to authorize the registration of a Branch Office of Penn in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and to publish an Arabic version of its scholarly online publication, Knowledge@Wharton. 

In the President’s Report, President Amy Gutmann noted that the class of 2013 was formally welcomed to the University at Convocation on September 8, 2009. Of the class, President Gutmann said that the average SAT score of 2150 is a 20 point increase from last year. Ten percent of the class are the first in their families to attend college and 44% represent minorities. Currently, all undergraduates eligible for financial aid received loan-free aid packages in keeping with the Penn Compact’s goal of increasing access. Of the University’s Making History campaign, the President reported that $2.5 billion, or 71% of the goal has been raised thus far, with $1 billion to go. In the second year of the public phase, Penn received $440 million in cash receipts, $398 million in new commitments, $49.5 million in annual giving and $23 million for the Penn Fund. 90,000 participants have contributed to the campaign thus far. 

On Campus Transformation, the President said that new students will see the effects of four major projects in their first year alone. This fall will bring the opening of both the Annenberg Public Policy Center and the Roberts Proton Therapy Center and in the spring, the Weiss Pavilion at Franklin Field and the renovation of the Music Building. The University will break ground for Penn Park this fall, with completion scheduled for the spring of 2011. 

In the Academic Report, Provost Vincent Price said that workshops for new department chairs will be made available to both new and continuing chairpersons this year. He announced the creation of faculty recruitment workshops for search committees to review best practices for hiring and recruiting new faculty to Penn. Provost Price noted the success of student initiatives such as New Student Orientation and the Penn Reading Project, which focused this year on Thomas Eakins’s The Gross Clinic, ushering in this year’s theme of Arts in the City. Technological initiatives included an upgrade to Penn InTouch and an upgrade to Penn Portal, which is now fully customizable for new students.  

In the Financial Report, EVP Craig Carnaroli said that net assets declined by $1.3 billion, and the endowment return decreased by 15.7%, which is favorable in comparison to Penn’s peer institutions. 

In the Penn Medicine Report, Dr. Gail Morrison said that the School of Medicine ranks number 3 in NIH funding, with over $800 million requested and $43 million granted so far this year. She noted that out of 6,200 applicants, 161 new students entered the School and that financially, the health system remains strong despite the troubled economy. 

In addition, Resolutions were passed to approve the audited financial statements for fiscal year 2009, to uthorize the renewal of lease for space to be occupied by the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Education at 3440 Market Street with a net present value of $5.12 million.

The following were appointed to overseer boards: Peter N. Detkin and Harlan M. Stone to the board of overseers of SEAS; Stephen R. Weber was re-appointed vice-chair of the ICA board of overseers; and Robert M. Levy and William L. Mack were appointed vice-chairs of the board of overseers of Wharton.


Almanac - September 22, 2009, Volume 56, No. 04