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Wharton Gets $11 Million To Fund Public Policy Initiative

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania today (Sept. 13) said it received contributions totaling $11 million to establish the Wharton Public Policy Initiative. The Initiative will bring the study and practice of public policy and business together at a caliber that only the Wharton School can provide, with physical locations in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

The school said the initiative will offer independent, practical, timely, nonpartisan research and resources to government policymakers and key decision-makers. Forging this strong connection between the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Washington’s policymakers, the Public Policy Initiative will bridge the intellectual divide that currently exists between policymakers and the business community. The school said it hopes that federal, state, and local governments will be better prepared to address today’s most pressing policy challenges as a result of the effort. Cutting-edge research and insight will be generated by the University’s prominent faculty and disseminated via Wharton’s established and recognized platforms, including Wharton Executive Education, high-level seminars, conferences, webinars, and Knowledge@Wharton, the School’s renowned online research journal.

“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,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann 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.  We are grateful to alumni Marc J. Rowan, Marc A. Spilker, and Diane Isaacs Spilker for their transformative vision and outstanding generosity.”

Marc Rowan received his undergraduate degree from Wharton in 1984 and an MBA from the School in 1985. He is Senior Managing Director and Co-Founder of Apollo Management, L.P. Marc Spilker is a 1986 graduate of Wharton, where he received a bachelor’s degree, and is currently President of Apollo Global Management, LLC. His wife, Diane Isaacs Spilker received her undergraduate degree from the School in 1987.

“The establishment of the Wharton Public Policy Initiative is significant, and I am delighted to be a part of its important work,” notes Rowan in a news release accompanying the announcement. “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. This is a vital partnership, and one that has the ability to effect positive and lasting change.”

Key to the success of the Wharton Public Policy Initiative will be students and faculty at Wharton and the University who will pursue new knowledge in public policy. In addition to a Faculty Director and Managing Director on Penn’s Philadelphia campus, the Initiative will have a Washington, DC-based Executive Director, who will be crucial to the dissemination of these novel resources in the Capital. Mark Duggan, Chair of the Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, and professor of Health Care Management at Wharton, has been named Faculty Director of the Initiative.

Wharton School Dean Thomas S. Robertson said in the statement, “The Wharton Public Policy Initiative is a critically important new endeavor for the Wharton School. The Initiative will enable the School to further expand its reach as it pertains to the intersection of business and public policy. It will represent the pinnacle of public policy teaching, learning, and research and will allow Wharton to create knowledge that has impact upon business and government.”