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Wendell Pritchett named provost at Penn

April 28, 2017 GMT

Wendell Pritchett, a former School Reform Commission member and deputy chief of staff and director of policy for former Mayor Michael Nutter, has been named provost of the University of Pennsylvania, the college announced Wednesday.

Pritchett, also a former chancellor of Rutgers-Camden, was most recently interim dean of Penn Law from 2014-15. Currently, he is a presidential professor of law and education at the school.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to be selected as the 30th provost of the University of Pennsylvania,” Pritchett said in a statement. “I am grateful to President [Amy] Gutmann for her confidence in me. As [a] lifelong Philadelphian, I cannot remember a time that the University of Pennsylvania was not part of my life.”

Pritchett earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Brown University in 1986, his juris degree from Yale Law School in 1991 and obtained a doctorate degree from Penn in 1997 under his mentor Walter Licht, a Walter H. Anneneberg professor of history in the School of Arts and Sciences.

The Ivy League school conducted an international search for almost five months to find a provost to replace for Vincent Price, who is leaving Penn to assume the presidency of Duke University. In 2012 he was elected president of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, a national consortium of higher education institutions.

“Wendell is a celebrated teacher and scholar of urban policy, education, civil rights and race relations; an accomplished leader and administrator; and a passionate advocate for academic excellence and civic engagement,” said Gutmann in a statement. “A longtime faculty member and universally admired leader in our Penn community, he is consummately well positioned to work with our deans, faculty, staff, students and me in advancing Penn’s highest priorities.”

A member of the Pennsylvania Bar since 1991, Pritchett has also penned some books, including “Brownsville, Brooklyn: Blacks, Jews and the Changing Face of the Ghetto.”

He officially begins his term on July 1, pending ratification from Penn’s trustees at their June meeting.