Kleinman Gift Establishes Energy Policy Center at Penn

The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy has been established at PennDesign with a $10 million gift from Scott, C’94, W’94, and Wendy Kleinman. The Center, which is scheduled to launch in Fall 2014, will advance energy productivity by reframing the relationship between research and practice in support of policy innovation.   

“The Center presents a profound opportunity for Penn to address one of the most important and complex policy challenges of our time,” said Amy Gutmann, President of the University of Pennsylvania. “Penn has a critical mass of energy research centers and curricular offerings. Some are already engaged in aspects of energy policy. The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy in the School of Design will galvanize all the University’s strengths and resources to advance the transformation of U.S. energy policy for a productive, secure and sustainable energy future.” 

Specifically, the Center will focus on overcoming persistent barriers to energy productivity in order to construct energy policy options that provide fairness for stakeholders, reliability for investors, and opportunity for innovators. It will provide a forum that brings together eminent scholars and multiple stakeholders in a collegial and productive environment that generates tangible progress on energy policy.  At the same time, it will expand the engagement of faculty and students through distinguished guests, visiting fellows, lectures, courses, internships, and research support.  

Scott Kleinman believes that the Center will fill a timely need. “As a nation, we do not have a clearly articulated energy policy that promotes economic growth, energy optimization, and technological development, all in the context of a sensible environmental backdrop,” he said. “Energy policy is a critical topic at both the local and national level, and will only continue to grow in importance over time.”

Kleinman is confident that the new Center will provide an objective forum for exploring all possibilities. “Not only do the University’s extensive resources offer great potential for high-leverage collaboration; Penn also has the wherewithal to create the ideal institutional structure to realize that potential,” he said. “In addition, setting the Center at Penn will provide a forum for students – our future political, business and technology leaders – to get educated on relevant energy topics and become involved in shaping the direction of research and debate.”

The decision to house the Center at PennDesign reflects some key qualities of the new Center. “At Penn’s School of Design, we are engaged in actively linking research, practice, and policy in ways that will make a difference to the national agenda and to public and industry initiatives that will change the pattern of energy use across the country,” said Marilyn Jordan Taylor, Dean and Paley Professor at PennDesign. “The presence of the Center in our School, on College Green, will extend the collaboration among the University’s schools and research centers, and serve as a home base for visiting professors, industry leaders, and resident scholars, cross-school courses, research projects on energy policy, public lectures, and private roundtables, all aimed at a level of collaboration and policy creation that will be effective at shaping action and investment in energy initiatives.” 

The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy will be led by faculty director Mark Alan Hughes, Professor of Practice at PennDesign, founding Director of Sustainability and former Chief Policy Adviser to Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael A. Nutter, and architect of the City’s widely praised Greenworks sustainability plan. Dr. Hughes, who received his Ph.D. in Regional Science from Penn in 1986 and who has taught at the University since 1999, is a highly effective leader of large‐scale research efforts with policy impact. Under his direction, PennDesign led Penn’s research effort across seven Schools and Centers at the DOE’s $159-million Energy Efficient Buildings Hub. Hughes has orchestrated complex and ground-breaking projects funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the US Department of Health and Human Services, by the Ford Foundation and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and by the Rockefeller and William Penn foundations.

The model that Dr. Hughes envisions for the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy deploys a relationship between research and practice that emphasizes “collective intelligence” in which research is one of several contributors to improving practice. “Instead of experts translating answers,” he said, “the Center will be a partner exploring questions that occupy the frontier between what we know and what we need to know in order to act. It is a model intended to improve research, practice, and policy outcomes.”

The Center will be named for Scott Kleinman and his wife, Wendy.  Mr. Kleinman, Lead Partner, Private Equity at Apollo Global Management, LLC in New York, received BA and BS degrees from the School of Arts and Sciences (Russian Studies) and the Wharton School of Business (Finance), respectively, graduating magna cum laude in 1994.

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