Lawyer who once clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg to serve as Penn’s next president

M. Elizabeth Magill poses for a photo

M. Elizabeth Magill has been nominated to serve as the ninth president of the University of Pennsylvania. (University of Virginia)

The University of Pennsylvania has selected a lawyer who once clerked for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and now serves as the provost of the University of Virginia to succeed Dr. Amy Gutman.

M. Elizabeth Magill will begin her tenure as the university’s ninth president, the third consecutive woman to hold the position, on July 1, Penn announced Thursday.

The university’s board of trustees’ executive committee nominated Magill and the full board is set to vote on Magill’s nomination at a March 4 meeting.

“I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to lead the remarkable institution that is the University of Pennsylvania — and to succeed Dr. Amy Gutmann, who has been a visionary and innovative leader,” Magill said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to build on this inspiring legacy and shape Penn’s next great chapter.”

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Gutmann, Penn’s longest-serving president, announced last year that she would end her more than 15-year tenure after serving in that role since 2004.

Scott Bok, chair of Penn’s board of trustees, described Magill as the exact right person to succeed Gutmann in a statement issued Thursday. Before taking on her role as provost at UVA, where she attended law school, the North Dakota native led Stanford University’s law school and taught at Harvard Law School.

“Through a thorough search process informed by input from all university constituencies, we found exactly the right person. Liz Magill is an extraordinarily accomplished academic leader,”  Bok said.

Gutmann was recently nominated to serve as President Joe Biden’s ambassador to Germany. She will likely be confirmed later this year.

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