Acceptance at the Stated Meeting of Board of Trustees
March 4, 2022
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
“Patience,” so the saying goes, “is a virtue.” That maxim holds true…mostly. Patience is a very necessary virtue if you’ve ever raised kids, like I’ve had the joy of doing. It’s a virtue if you decide to take up the rewarding, if soul-testing, pastime of flyfishing, as I have found when I join my husband Leon on the rivers. And I’ve heard that if you want to emerge from a long Philly winter with your sanity intact, then yes, absolutely, patience.
Having been raised in North Dakota, I know a little something about winters….
But today, I am profoundly honored and deeply excited to be here, at one of the few truly great universities in the world that proves the exception to the old rule that patience is a virtue.
Benjamin Franklin’s University has always been revolutionary, from its founding right up to this very moment. Here we have our nation’s first liberal arts curriculum, the continent’s first medical school, and the world’s first business school. We have discoveries that are first-of-their-kind—such as mRNA technology and CAR T therapies—that transform entire fields and save innumerable lives. The list goes on, and what a list!
Penn chomps at the bit to create and disseminate knowledge across disciplines and professions and share it with the world. Penn is restless to expand the bounds of human possibility. And with great heart and open arms, Penn seeks always to strengthen this community, this city, this nation, and the world.
To put it bluntly, Penn is just an over-achiever. And really, who could blame Penn if it wanted to rest on its laurels awhile, and take a breather from it all? To default to patience?
But that’s not the Penn you know and love. That’s not the Penn I’m so quickly coming to love, too.
Impatience—that is Penn’s virtue.
Make the best education in the world even better, even more full of opportunity and belonging for all: Not sometime, but now.
Break new ground in the pursuit of knowledge, rocket past milestones in research, and build breathtaking solutions for our most pressing challenges: Not sometime, but now.
Be a shining example of everything that a brilliant, diverse, essential research university can be and can do for the world: Not sometime, but right now.
It is with heartfelt humility—and a most urgent call to purpose—that I accept your invitation to become the 9th President of the University of Pennsylvania. Penn’s incomparable faculty, students, staff, leadership, alumni, and friends make this University’s momentum unstoppable. Together, we will launch Penn to even greater heights.
Looking around me, at this amazing University, I suspect you feel exactly as I do: Impatient to get started. Thank you!