Penn Announces Plan to Create 50 New Endowed Professorships

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann today announced the newest of the Penn Compact 2020 Presidential Initiatives -- a bold plan to create up to 50 new endowed professorships over the next four years. These endowed professorships will maximize Penn's momentum in recruiting and retaining eminent multidisciplinary faculty. 

The President’s Distinguished Professorship Fund will provide matching funds from the University to leverage philanthropic support from donors for three distinct types of professorships. The Fund will enable the University to advance the strategic priorities of the Penn Compact 2020, including excellence in multidisciplinary research and teaching, global and international affairs and the recruitment of faculty who contribute to the diversity and preeminence of Penn.

“The President’s Distinguished Professorship Fund will multiply Penn’s exceptional intellectual resources and maximize our ability to recruit and retain eminent faculty in key strategic areas,” Gutmann said.  “This initiative represents a major commitment to ensuring that Penn remains one of the preeminent universities in the world.”

George Weiss, trustee emeritus, and Richard Vague, a member of the Penn Medicine Board, have agreed to partner with Gutmann in this effort by pledging matching funds for gifts to create new professorships in the Perelman School of Medicine.

“The President’s Distinguished Professorship Fund gives Penn a unique opportunity to attract and retain key faculty doing work in the newest and most important fields of research and scholarship,” Gutmann said. “This is one of the best investments we can make in the future of Penn, the future of discovery and ultimately the future of our country.”

In partnership with generous donors who make new commitments within a four-year time frame, the President’s Distinguished Professorship Fund will support three critically important kinds of endowed faculty positions:

• Donor-Named Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) University Professorships will recruit eminent faculty members who hold joint appointments between two schools and who exemplify multidisciplinary research and teaching.  Penn currently has 15 PIK professors, and the new fund will advance the University’s ability to significantly increase the number of these professorships.

• Donor-Named Distinguished Professorships will be created in any of Penn’s 12 schools to recruit and retain eminent faculty members with research and teaching expertise in areas identified by the president as high priorities for the Penn Compact 2020. Those priorities include the recruitment of multidisciplinary experts in global and international affairs who will be associates of Penn's Perry World House and unrestricted professorships that can be designated or have a preference to support one of Penn’s 12 schools.

• Donor-Named Presidential Professorships will be created to recruit and retain eminent tenured faculty who contribute to the diversity and pre-eminence of Penn. Penn has a great comparative advantage in recruiting distinguished faculty members, often at relatively early stages of their careers. By maximally supporting their careers with prestigious professorships, the Presidential Professorships -- which are held by each faculty member for a five-year term -- ensure both Penn's present and its future pre-eminence.

The 50 new endowed professorships to be created through the President’s Distinguished Professorship Fund will add to the 118 endowed full professorships funded by the recently completed Making History Campaign. The President’s Distinguished Professorship Fund is the second Penn Compact 2020 Presidential Initiative to be announced in the past week. At last week’s meeting of the Board of Trustees, the University announced the launch of a comprehensive effort to raise an additional $240 million for the endowment to support undergraduate financial aid. 

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