The 2018-19 school year combined innovative strides into the future with a reverence and celebration of history and tradition. The roster of educational excellence grew, as two new deans were appointed—John L. Jackson, Jr. of the Annenberg School for Communication, and Sara Bachman of the School of Social Policy and Practice. Jeb Bush joined the Penn community as a Presidential Professor of Practice, and Penn’s world-renowned design school was renamed the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, after the iconic footwear designer.
Physicists Charles Kane and Eugene Mele won the prestigious Breakthrough Prize for their work predicting a new class of materials that conduct electricity only on their surface. In medicine, a team of researchers revolutionized organ transplant possibilities by treating hepatitis-C infected kidneys after transplant, widening the pool of life-saving organs.
Furthering the reach of health care, the final beam on Penn Medicine’s new patient pavilion was secured.
There was victory upon victory, with the women’s soccer team winning the Ivy League title, and men’s lacrosse earning its first Ivy title in 31 years. At the Penn Relays, Penn celebrated its first team to win a Championship of America title in women’s track. The 2018-19 school year also marked 125 years of Franklin Field and the 40-year anniversary of the men’s basketball team’s iconic victory.
And at the helm, in recognition of her tenure in the community, her contributions, following through on her visionary plans to make Penn and the surrounding community a better, more welcoming, and forward-thinking haven, Penn President Amy Gutmann was awarded both the William Penn and Inquirer Icon awards.
At Commencement in May, Gutmann addressed the crowd. “You have embraced a more intellectually challenging, inclusive and demanding world. You have woven a rich tapestry of friends and memories.” Then she instructed the Class of 2019 to mark the end of their Penn journey to “stay at the loom. Speak out, and stand up. Weave together a world that is better, freer, and more inclusive.”