Scott Bok, Chair of the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees, today announced that former Provost Wendell Pritchett has been selected to serve as Interim President of the University, effective at such time as Amy Gutmann may be confirmed and resign to serve as Ambassador to Germany. Gutmann, who had previously announced that she would conclude her presidency this year, would step down from her position if confirmed and prior to being sworn in as Ambassador. Pritchett would serve in the role through June 30, 2022. On July 1, 2022, M. Elizabeth “Liz” Magill will begin her tenure as the ninth President of Penn, subject to a vote by the full Board of Trustees at their March meeting.
“Pending Amy’s confirmation, we are very fortunate to have someone with Wendell’s experience and stature to be able to step in and lead Penn through the transition to the start of Liz Magill’s presidency,” said Bok. “Wendell did an exceptional job as Provost. He knows the issues, he knows the people, and he has a deep understanding of Penn’s values and priorities. All of us who care about Penn are pleased and grateful that Wendell Pritchett has agreed to fill this important role for our University.”
Pritchett served as Penn Provost from July 1, 2017 through December 31, 2021. He took a leave from his post during the fall semester to attend to a medical issue, and following a successful recovery returned January 1 as Senior Advisor to the President. He plans to return to his faculty position in the Law School in July.
“I’m very pleased to help during this important transition at Penn,” said Pritchett. “I care passionately about this institution—its faculty, staff and students. As we continue to work our way through the pandemic, there are many challenges ahead of us this semester, but we have an extraordinary team in place and I have every confidence that the months ahead will see the University continue to shine with new research discoveries, extraordinary patient care, continued excellence in the classroom and a caring commitment to our community.”
Pritchett earned a B.A. in political science from Brown University in 1986 and received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1991. In 1997 he earned a Ph.D. in history from Penn.
After completing his doctorate, he joined the faculty at Baruch College-City University of New York where he taught courses in post-bellum American history, American legal history, nonprofit law and the history of immigration to the United States. He joined the Penn Law faculty in 2002 as an assistant professor of law, was promoted to full professor in 2006 and served as associate dean for academic affairs in 2006-07.
Pritchett served as vice chair (2008-10) and chair (2010-11) of the Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia and served as Mayor Nutter’s appointee to the School Reform Commission in 2011-14. He chaired the board of Community Legal Services of Philadelphia in 2005-08 and was co-chair of the World Class Great Philadelphia Initiative of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia.
After serving as Chancellor of Rutgers-Camden, which he led from 2009-2014, Pritchett rejoined Penn in 2014 and is currently the James S. Riepe Presidential Professor of Law and Education.