September 2, 2014 – Laura Perna has been named the James S. Riepe Professor in the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. This newly created professorship has been awarded by Penn President Amy Gutmann in honor of the former chairman of Penn’s Board of Trustees.
“I am pleased to name Dr. Laura Perna as the first James S. Riepe Professor,” Gutmann said. “Laura and her scholarship have made -– and undoubtedly will continue to make -- substantive contributions to the body of knowledge about how to improve college access and educational attainment.”
Laura Perna is a respected national expert on the ways tuition, financial aid, academic preparation and other policies and practices determine who goes to college and who makes it to graduation. She joined Penn GSE in 2005 and is the founding executive director of the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy, or Penn AHEAD, and chair of the Higher Education Division of GSE. Through her research, Perna finds policy solutions to closing gaps in educational attainment for students from traditionally underrepresented groups. She is also Faculty Fellow of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, Faculty Affiliate of the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative, member of the Advisory Board for the Netter Center for Community Partnerships and member of the Social Welfare Graduate Group of the School of Social Policy &Practice.