February, 20, 2004 - Trustees Meeting comments.
Three years ago, I said that I did not want to be a university president. I stand before you today to reaffirm that I do not want to be a university president. I want to be the eighth President of the University of Pennsylvania. And I thank you so very much for the warm and wonderful welcome that you have bestowed upon me today, and indeed every day since the first moment I met with members of the search committee.
"We love the things we love for what they are," Robert Frost wrote.
You and I love Penn for what it is:
A great Ivy League university that unites inspiring teachers with inspired students, regardless of their economic means, race, gender, or creed;
A university whose graduates will tackle America's and the world's most pressing challenges, reshape the professions and become societal leaders the world over;
A university that generates path-breaking research of enormous practical importance to city, state, nation, and world;
A remarkably beautiful campus that is electric with innovative ideas and urban innovations;
A culture that combines community service with cosmopolitan diversity, exemplary teamwork with exuberant competition;
An educational institution with the admirably audacious ambition to integrate liberal arts with professional education of the highest intellectual and ethical caliber and the broadest societal reach.
The Penn that we love stands, above all, for ever higher levels of excellence and leadership throughout the arts and sciences, medicine, business, law, nursing, dental medicine, veterinary, social work, education, engineering, communication, architecture, design, and fine arts.
It is with your welcome support alongside that of my wonderful family and friends, and it is with gratitude toward the remarkable presidents who came before me, that I pledge to do my utmost to lead this vibrant university to ever greater heights of intellectual excellence, societal, and world leadership--not to mention ever more Ivy League basketball, football and many other Ivy League championships.
And it is with my utmost appreciation, boundless enthusiasm, and limitless commitment to contribute whatever I can...that I accept your invitation to become the eighth president of this great University of Pennsylvania.