Board of Overseers
University of Pennsylvania
A Board of Overseers is the advisory body to the dean of a school or director of a major University unit.
Formal institutional governance and fiduciary responsibility for the University of Pennsylvania rest solely with its Board of Trustees. Overseer boards serve as a vital channel of communication with the Trustees on the activities of the University’s many constituent parts. Boards of Overseers afford Penn ready panels of alumni, professionals and other experts who provide volunteer leadership and financial support to the areas they serve. Overseers are ambassadors and spokespersons for individual Penn schools and centers, linking the campus to the world.
Advisory boards at Penn date back to 1928 when the Statutes of the Corporation, which outline governance procedures for the University, were amended to allow for constituent boards to provide counsel for each of the University’s faculties. In 1972, the trustees and the president decided to build on this earlier precedent by establishing Boards of Overseers. Boards were subsequently formed for ten of Penn’s schools: Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Education, Engineering, School of Design, Law, Nursing, Social Policy & Practice, Veterinary Medicine, and Wharton. Boards of overseers have also been established for the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Athletics, the Institute of Contemporary Art, University Libraries, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum. The University of Pennsylvania Press has its own board of trustees.