Celebrating a stellar year at Penn

A new video offers a glimpse into the 2022-2023 academic year.

A new class. A new president. The 2022-2023 academic year at Penn was surely one for the books.

The year kicked off with an exciting Move-In, with students traveling from near and far to settle into their College Houses, meet their roommates for the first time, and spend precious moments with family. Students were greeted by Liz Magill, who hit the ground running as Penn’s president just a month prior.

In the midst of getting to know as many students, faculty, and staff on campus as possible, Magill launched the collaborative effort Tomorrow, Together to inform the University’s strategic next steps. John L. Jackson Jr. was tapped to lead the Red and Blue Advisory Committee, which has guided the process.

In October, the University celebrated “a new beginning,” with the inauguration of Magill. In her Inaugural address, Magill urged the Penn community to “draw down the lightning.”

By January, Magill had embarked on the Penn Forward Tour, which spanned the U.S. and London and concluded in Philadelphia in April, bringing together alumni of all ages to connect and network, and to begin to think deeply about the future of Penn with its new leader.

Years-in-the-making moments came to fruition as the 133-year-old comedy troupe Mask and Wig became gender-inclusive; Penn Libraries acquired the archives of The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Academy of Music; Penn’s boathouse reopened after renovations and the ARCH building’s new incarnation was celebrated; and the new Eastern Mediterranean Gallery was unveiled at the Penn Museum. Essential programs and centers, including Penn Global, the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, and the Annenberg Center had momentous anniversaries, while a rare Gustave Courbet painting found in the School of Dental Medicine’s storage was cleaned and conserved and displayed at the Arthur Ross Gallery. In March, Magill announced Penn’s expansion of financial aid for families earning less than $75,000 a year, as well as its added support for Penn First Plus.

“This expansion of Penn’s undergraduate financial aid program will make the path to Penn possible for hundreds of additional students each year,” said Magill. “As student and family need increases, so do our efforts to not only meet that need, but to deliver resources and opportunities that amplify the Penn experience.”

Student athletes took home big wins, including the baseball team winning its first outright Ivy title in 28 years, women’s lacrosse winning the Ivy League Tournament, men’s soccer winning the first Ivy League title in nine years, women’s golf winning the first Ivy League title in 13 years, and the gymnastics team winning its second straight GEC Championship.

Faculty earned impressive awards including Penn engineer Nader Engheta winning the Benjamin Franklin Medal, and more than 100 students and alumni were awarded fellowships and major prizes, including the 2023 President’s Engagement and Innovation Prize winners.

New appointees included John L. Jackson Jr., provost; Katharine O. Strunk, dean of the Graduate School of Education; Sophia Z. Lee, dean of Penn Carey Law School; Anna Cowenhoven, vice president for University Communications; Mark F. Dingfield, vice president for Finance and Treasurer; James Husson, vice president of Development and Alumni Relations; Gary Williams, chief of Penn Police; and Hikaru “Karu” Kozuma, vice provost for University Life.

The academic year came to a close with a “sensational” Hey Day and Penn’s 267th Commencement, the energy palpable in Franklin Field. Tony award-winning actress, singer, and songwriter Idina Menzel provided Penn’s Commencement Address, encouraging the graduating class to “play every role you were put on this Earth to play” and to “let your voice be heard.”

“While perfection is elusive, humanity is certain,” Menzel said. “It will get you where you want to go, where you need to be.”