Lucy Kerman to retire as inaugural Senior Vice Provost for University and Community Partnerships

Dear colleagues,

I write to share that Lucy Kerman Ph.D. will be concluding her exceptional and highly consequential 12-year tenure as Drexel University's inaugural Senior Vice Provost for University and Community Partnerships when she retires at the end of the 2022 calendar year.

I recruited Lucy to Drexel in November 2010 and charged her with executing our bold vision, set forth a month earlier in my first Convocation address, for making Drexel "the most civically engaged university in the United States, across all three dimensions of engagement: academic; student and employee volunteerism; and institutionally supported neighborhood investment."

I had enormous confidence that Lucy would succeed. More than a decade earlier, I had seen her perform superbly behind the scenes at the University of Pennsylvania as President Judith Rodin's coordinator for special projects, which included the creation of a university-assisted, K-8 neighborhood school, the Penn Alexander School, as well as supporting the launch of a community greening effort, UC Green, and the Friends of 40th Street, a community advocacy group to support equitable retail development.

Lucy has far exceeded every expectation. While I cannot do justice within this message to the scope and scale of her many contributions to Drexel and our work in West Philadelphia, I do not exaggerate when I say that she has been both instrumental in ensuring the success of numerous innovative initiatives and indispensable in securing Drexel's reputation, locally and nationally, as a reliable partner and premier, civically engaged anchor institution.

Lucy's leadership and guidance were essential to numerous successful initiatives and accomplishments, including:

  • The naming and expansion of the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement and the creation of the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, which have allowed our academic and administrative enterprises to embrace their civic responsibility and purpose;
  • The adoption of more inclusive hiring, purchasing, procurement and contracting practices, which have led Drexel to hire more local residents, to purchase more goods and services from local businesses, including minority- and women-owned businesses, and to promote greater inclusion and equity in both the University's construction projects and our engagement with large companies; and
  • The establishment of a new building for two local public schools, Powel Elementary and Science Leadership Academy Middle School; and the execution of a comprehensive strategy to strengthen education in West Philadelphia, including an expansive early childhood education initiative and a $30 million Department of Education Promise Neighborhood grant to support seven local public schools by expanding early literacy and science education, engaging parents as partners in teaching, improving access to education and job training for young adults, and providing more psychological and counseling services.

Lucy has been that rare combination of bold strategist, shrewd tactician, trusted convener and facilitator, and above all, an institutional conscience who never allows any of us to lose sight of our highest principles ... or the people we are privileged to serve. She has applied all those skills and qualities toward ensuring that our innovation districts produce economic benefits along with pathways to education, workforce development, and employment for all neighborhood residents.

In short, Lucy Kerman has created a legacy of civic action by building not only a sturdy infrastructure for neighborhood and community partnerships, but also an ecosystem around civic engagement that will serve Drexel and our neighborhood well for decades to come.

While I am sorry to see Lucy step down from the role that she brilliantly invented, I am happy to report that she will stay on at Drexel as a part-time advisor to help ensure a seamless transition for her successor and provide continuing guidance and support for me and our civic commitments. I look forward both to celebrating Lucy Kerman at an upcoming event, and to continuing my collaboration and friendship with her. In the meantime, please join me in thanking Lucy for her contributions and service to Drexel.


John Fry

Contact Us