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$11 Million in Alumni Gifts Will Establish New Public Policy Initiative at U Penn’s Wharton School

Lead contributions by three alumni totaling $11 million will establish a new public policy program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, the school announced yesterday. The Wharton Public Policy Initiative, with locations in Philadelphia and Washington, DC, will facilitate independent, nonpartisan research and resources to government leaders and key decision-makers.

By bringing together the study and practice of public policy and business and establishing a strong link between the Wharton School and Washington policymakers, the new initiative is intended to bridge the intellectual divide that currently exists between policymakers and the business community, the school says, better preparing all parties to address the most pressing policy challenges facing the world today.

“The Wharton Public Policy Initiative will greatly strengthen Penn’s presence in our nation’s Capital, and provide extraordinary opportunities and experiences for our faculty and students,” Penn President Amy Gutmann said in a statement. “Not only will this initiative advance the University’s mission, its very positive effects will also be felt by government, industry, and the business community at large,” she continued.

The new initiative is made possible by the generosity of alumni Marc J. Rowan, Marc A. Spilker and Diane Isaacs Spilker, the school announced. Rowan received his undergraduate degree from Wharton in 1984 and an MBA from the school in 1985 and is senior managing director and co-founder of Apollo Management, L.P. Marc Spilker, president of Apollo Global Management, LLC, received his bachelor’s degree from Wharton in 1986, and his wife, Diane Isaacs Spilker received her Wharton undergraduate degree in 1987.

“Wharton is uniquely positioned to effectively generate and disseminate new knowledge that is both relevant and nonpartisan—at a time of great partisanship—where it will be of tremendous use to decision makers,” Rowan said in a statement. “This is a vital partnership, and one that has the ability to effect positive and lasting change.”

The research generated by the new initiative will be disseminated through channels such as Wharton’s executive education program, high-level seminars, conferences, webinars, and the online journal Knowledge@Wharton, the school said. Mark Duggan, chair of Wharton’s of business economics and public policy, has been named faculty director of the initiative. A Washington, DC-based executive director will also be named to help disseminate the resources of the initiative in the government capital.

Learn more about the new Wharton Public Policy Initiative.

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