Presidential Messages

A Message to the Penn Community

February 15, 2022 - We are very pleased to update you about positive trends in the COVID-19 situation on campus. The campus positivity rate, as posted on the University Dashboard today, is now 1.8%, including a dramatic one-week decrease among undergraduate students to 2.99% and a remarkable 0.84% rate among graduate and professional students.

A Message to the Penn Community

January 20, 2022 - We are grateful to every member of the Penn community who has come together to help us get through this latest phase of the COVID pandemic. We will return to in-person classes as scheduled on Monday (January 24). On that day, we will also resume the hybrid work plan for staff that first went into effect last year.

A Message to the Penn Community Regarding Commencement

November 11, 2021 - Between March 2020 and May 2021, COVID-19 moved many of our Penn traditions online. It curtailed in-person Commencement for both the Class of 2020 and the master’s and doctoral students in the Class of 2021.   We are now absolutely delighted to announce that we will hold an in-person University-wide Commencement ceremony for the undergraduate Class of 2020 as well as for graduate students from the Classes of 2020 and 2021. The ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 22, at 10 a.m. on Franklin Field.   

A Message to the Campus Community On the Start of the Fall Semester

August 25, 2021 - We are writing to update you on the important additional steps that we are taking since our last communication to help our students, faculty, staff, and postdocs safely navigate the semester and to provide important links to more information and resources. With the start of the academic year less than a week away, there is great excitement, expectation, and hope across Penn’s vibrant campus. Many programs are already welcoming students through in-person programming and have had very successful classroom and group activities.

A Message to the Penn Community About Campus Readiness for the Fall Semester

August 5, 2021 - This year, more than any before, we look forward to the start of classes and our joyful pre-semester programs and events. We want to update everyone, in light of the ongoing pandemic, about our progress and the measures we are taking to keep our community safe and healthy.  

A Message to the Penn Community On My Nomination to Serve As United States Ambassador to Germany

July 2, 2021 - Earlier today President Biden nominated me to serve as United States Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany.

A Message to Faculty, Staff, and Postdoctoral Trainees on Returning to Campus

June 23, 2021 - We are very pleased to announce that Penn will be fully reopening campus for the fall semester, while continuing to be guided by best practices in public health.

A Message to Faculty and Staff on Staff Appreciation Day Off

June 21, 2021 - As we complete an extraordinary academic year, we write to extend our profound thanks to all colleagues—Penn’s unsurpassed faculty and staff—for your individual and collaborative efforts in serving our community through the pandemic while working both on-campus and remotely.

A Message to Faculty, Staff, and Postdocs on Vaccination Status and Return to Campus

June 1, 2021 - As we look ahead to a vibrant fall semester, with a full resumption of in-person teaching, research, and University operations, maintaining a safe and healthy environment for the entire Penn community remains our highest priority.

A Message to the Penn Community Regarding Operations During the Summer

May 19, 2021 - With the academic year and Commencement now successfully concluded, and with continued positive progress being made within our community in controlling COVID-19, Penn will be easing restrictions during the summer relating to both on-campus activities and University travel.

An Update on Penn’s Plans for the Fall Semester

April 22, 2021 - The widespread distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine now taking place and the many safeguards we have established across campus reinforce our expectation to return to an in-person teaching, research and residential environment for the fall of 2021.

A Message to Faculty, Staff, and Postdocs on Penn Cares COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Opening

April 12, 2021 - Vaccines are one of the greatest tools in the fight against the pandemic. We write today to announce that Penn will open the Penn Cares COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic on Wednesday, April 14, and begin administering vaccines to eligible faculty, staff, and post-doctoral trainees.

A Message to the Penn Community Regarding Plans for the Fall Semester

March 16, 2021 - Now, as we look forward to the fall semester, we want to share our current thinking so that students, families, faculty and staff can begin to make plans.

A Message to the Penn Community Regarding Commencement

March 9, 2021 - With the end of the academic year approaching, thoughts naturally begin to turn toward Commencement, one of Penn’s grandest traditions and a worthy recognition of the academic accomplishments of our students. 

A Message To The Penn Community

January 14, 2021 - This past year has been fraught with many challenges – from a global pandemic that has forced unprecedented life changes, to the civil, political and racial unrest that is continuing to unfold. Despite all of this, we have been working collectively with our partners in Penn Medicine and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to create an environment to bring the Penn community back together safely.

A Message to Penn Undergraduates

December 17, 2020 - We look forward to welcoming many more students to on-campus housing for the Spring, and we are preparing to resume more campus activities over the course of the Spring term.

A Message to Penn Faculty and Staff

November 11, 2020 - The last nine months have tested everyone’s resolve and demonstrated your unwavering commitment to support the University’s mission of education, research, and service.

Planning for Penn’s Spring 2021 Semester

October 30, 2020 - We write to provide you with the University’s current plans for the spring semester, which will begin on January 20, 2021.

COVID-19 RESPONSE UPDATE - Looking Ahead to the Spring Semester

October 1, 2020 - Looking ahead to the spring semester, the University continues to closely monitor developments related to the pandemic. We are regularly consulting with city, state, and federal agencies as well as our world-class health system in assessing options through multiple committees and working groups.

A Message to Penn Undergraduates

September 1, 2020 - Welcome to the first day of classes! The Penn community, in this unusual year, is as innovative, resilient, and creative as ever. We are interconnected across the country and around the world. We did not choose the conditions of this semester – yet our extraordinary Penn students and faculty are already making the most of it, bringing to virtual learning the same rigor, passion, and engagement that we look forward to seeing back on our campus as soon as possible.

Revision to Fall Semester Plans Regarding On-Campus Housing, Tuition and Fees

August 11, 2020 - A Message to the Penn Community fromAmy Gutmann, PresidentWendell Pritchett, ProvostCraig Carnaroli, Executive Vice PresidentJ. Larry Jameson, Dean, Perelman School of Medicine andExecutive VP University of Pennsylvania for the Health System  

A Message to the Community on Our Ongoing Planning Efforts

May 21, 2020 - With the semester’s end and our moving, bittersweet virtual Commencement for the Class of 2020 only days behind us, we are writing to update you on our planning and preparations for the fall.  At this time, predictions for the fall of the pandemic’s progression and our society’s capacities for testing, contact tracing and treatment are sufficiently uncertain that we cannot say with perfect clarity what the fall semester will look like.

Thanks to Penn Faculty for the Past Semester and Thoughts on Planning for the Fall

May 20, 2020 - With Commencement now behind us, we wanted to take the opportunity to once again thank each and every one of you for the absolutely outstanding job that you did in moving your coursework online and for ensuring that our students had a rich and fulfilling conclusion to their academic year. This was a monumental achievement, done on very short notice, executed with grace and unwavering determination. We have always been extraordinarily proud of Penn’s faculty, but never more so than today.

Thanks to Penn Staff for the Past Semester and Thoughts on Planning for the Fall

May 20, 2020 - With the spring semester and Commencement now behind us, we wanted to reach out to every member of the Penn staff to offer our profound thanks for the extraordinary job that all of you have done in helping the University navigate the enormous challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

University of Pennsylvania’s 264th Commencement

May 13, 2020 - In recognition of their achievements and the extraordinary circumstances the Class of 2020 has faced, we are committed to celebrating Commencement like we have never done before. On behalf of the Trustees, Officers, and Deans and their faculties, we would like to invite all members of the Penn community to join us in a very special – and fun – online celebration of the Class of 2020 at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, May 18, 2020.