Penn Medicine’s J. Larry Jameson named Penn’s interim president

‘With respect for one another, support for one another, and adaption to our changing world, Penn can truly lead in this moment, and emerge better and stronger than before,’ he said.

J. Larry Jameson speaking at a podium.

J. Larry Jameson has been named Penn’s interim president. Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine since 2011, Jameson’s new appointment, which is effective immediately, was announced on Dec. 12 by Interim Board Chair Julie Beren Platt. He assumes the leadership position after Liz Magill’s voluntary resignation this past weekend.

“Penn is fortunate to have the benefit of Dr. Jameson’s experience and leadership during this time of transition,” Platt said, adding that he—Penn’s longest serving current dean—is a “consummate University citizen.”

In a message shared later with the Penn community, Jameson wrote that he is honored to serve as interim president and that he accepts the responsibility “clear-eyed about the challenges facing our University.”

“I am trained as a physician—healing is in my nature and skill set. I also trained as a scientist—hard-wired to ask challenging questions, pursue rigorous inquiry and debate, and ready to be proven wrong,” he said. “I am a Penn parent, and I have had the pleasure of watching incredible students grow, explore their passions, and chart a path to make an impact on the world. My leadership role at Penn has exposed me to its unparalleled breadth of expertise and diversity of thought. It is humbling but invigorating to consider how I, and other leaders at Penn, can support each of you.”

He acknowledged, too, how recent weeks have been a “profoundly painful chapter for our institution, for higher education, and for the world.”

“There is pain, fear, and uncertainty in our community,” Jameson continued. “I want to reiterate that every person at Penn should feel safe and be secure in the knowledge that hate has no home here. This is fundamental, but it is not enough. Together, we create and share values that make the University of Pennsylvania an institution where creativity flourishes, innovation creates new tools and medicines, civil debate poses and addresses challenging societal questions, and learning prepares us all to make the world a better place.”

Jameson was described by Jonathan A. Epstein, who will now serve as interim EVP of the Health System and dean of the School of Medicine, as a unique leader who combines “strategic vision” with “steadfast commitment to excellence” and a “sincere dedication to fostering collaboration.”

“His guidance has been instrumental in propelling Penn Medicine to new heights, especially during critical junctures,” said Epstein, who has worked closely with Jameson for more than a decade. “Larry, with his calm, wise, and steady style, is undoubtedly the right person to guide the University during this pivotal time, bringing with him the acumen and foresight needed to navigate challenges and inspire collective success within our vibrant academic community.”

At Penn Medicine, Jameson—a physician-scientist who pioneered studies of the genetic basis of hormonal disorders—has championed initiatives that promote excellence on all levels, including faculty recruitment, student success, scholarship and discovery, philanthropic giving, and a culture of inclusion and collaboration. He has led during a time of unprecedented scientific breakthroughs, FDA approved medications, and transformative platform technologies such as CAR T cell treatment and mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines.

Jameson has been instrumental in spearheading the development and opening of the game-changing Penn Medicine Pavilion, the University’s largest capital project ever. In the past year, he has led the development of “Serving a Changing World,” which outlines the strategic vision and goals for Penn Medicine for the next five years. Jameson has also chaired the review of the School of Arts & Sciences, as well as the Consultative Committees for the selection of the Provost, the dean of the Wharton School, and served on the Presidential Selection Committee.

Provost John L. Jackson Jr. noted Jameson as a “deeply collaborative, strategic, and experienced leader who knows every part of this University.”

“His wisdom and compassion will make him the ideal interim president for our community in the year ahead,” Jackson said. “We are all indebted to him for so graciously agreeing to take on this role—as we are to Liz Magill and Scott Bok for their great service to Penn during these challenging months.”

In his message, Jameson explained that all faculty, students, staff, alumni, caregivers, and the many friends of Penn have the opportunity to contribute to “a new chapter” in Penn’s nearly 300-year history.

“I have experienced the strength and solidarity that defines this remarkable place,” Jameson said. “With respect for one another, support for one another, and adaption to our changing world, Penn can truly lead in this moment, and emerge better and stronger than before. I hope you will join me in this important work and come together to support one another and the University we love.”