Penn Med exec replaces Magill as interim university president

A longtime executive with Penn Medicine is the new interim president of the University of Pennsylvania, replacing Liz Magill after her resignation. 

J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, has agreed to serve in the interim role, effective immediately, the university's board announced Dec. 12. Dr. Jameson has served as executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the health system and as dean of its Perelman School of Medicine, which together make up Penn Medicine, since 2011.

He replaces Liz Magill, who announced her resignation Dec. 9 as president of University of Pennsylvania in the face of pressure from donors and criticism surrounding her testimony at a Dec. 5 congressional hearing alongside the presidents of Harvard and MIT about antisemitism on their campuses. During the hearing, Ms. Magill faced repeated questioning about whether calls for the genocide of Jews on campus violate the school's conduct policy; she was unable to provide a clear response.

Ms. Magill remained in the role until an interim leader was named in her replacement, meaning the news of Dr. Jameson's appointment marks the official change of hands. 

Jonathan Epstein, MD, executive vice dean and chief scientific officer of the Perelman School of Medicine and senior vice president and chief scientific officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, will step in to fill Dr. Jameson's role as interim executive vice president for the health system and dean of the Perelman School of Medicine.

Dr. Jameson was described as a "consummate university citizen" and "collaborative, innovative, and visionary leader with extensive engagement with each of Penn's 12 schools" in the announcement of his interim leadership. 

Earlier this week, it was reported that Dr. Jameson was one promising leader eyed for the job. During a board of trustees meeting addressing Ms. Magill's resignation, Dr. Jameson was referred to as an ideal candidate, a source told The Philadelphia Inquirer

On the day of Ms. Magill's testimony, Dr. Jameson and Kevin Mahoney, CEO of University of Pennsylvania Health System, released a statement. "Calls for genocide, echoing horrors of the past, violate our behavioral standards and remind us that we must forcefully condemn, prevent, and respond to hate in all forms," their letter said, according to the university's student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. The letter said that Penn Med will not tolerate antisemitism or other forms of hate.

Dr. Jameson is the longest-serving current dean at the university. By contrast, Ms. Magill's 18-month tenure is the shortest of any Penn president. Her predecessor, Amy Gutmann, PhD, extended Dr. Jameson's contract for his dual role with Penn Medicine in 2020, pushing it through 2025 — a decision made with consultation by a long list of university and health system stakeholders, including the executive committees of Penn Medicine's board of trustees and the university's board of trustees.

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