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Wharton School of Business Makes History Appointing Black Woman as Dean

The University of Pennsylvania has named Erika James dean of it’s Wharton School of Business. This is the first time in its 139-year history that a woman and person of color has been appointed to this position.

James, who has a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan, was previously dean of Emory University’s business school. It was there that she grew the school’s faculty by 25% by the end of her first year and was credited with having the most gender-diverse faculty populations in higher education.

She said in a press release, “The scope and platform of the Wharton School provides an opportunity to create far reaching impact for students, scholars, and the business community.”

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann commented on James' and her new role and said she is, “A passionate and visible champion of the power of business and business education to positively transform communities locally, nationally, and globally, she is exceptionally prepared to lead Wharton into the next exciting chapter of its storied history.”

The Realist Woman’s take:

Erika James is the first woman and person of color to be appointed dean of the prestigious Wharton School of Business, which has been around for 139 years! James has made history in more ways than one and has a reputation for making inclusivity a priority. Congrats to Erika James. Black women are amazing.