M. Elizabeth Magill
University of Pennsylvania President, Trustees University Professor, and Professor of Law
On July 1, 2022, M. Elizabeth “Liz” Magill became the University of Pennsylvania’s ninth president. A legal scholar and inspiring leader, Magill comes to Penn after serving as Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of Virginia and, prior to that, as the Richard E. Lang Professor and Dean of the Stanford Law School. Magill’s leadership at both UVA and Stanford brought transformative changes to both institutions. At Penn, she also serves as Trustees University Professor and Professor of Law.
During her successful tenure as Provost at the University of Virginia, Magill oversaw the university’s teaching and research activities, directing the academic administration of its 12 schools as well as the university’s library, art museums, public service activities, institutes and centers, and foreign study programs.
A highly skilled recruiter, at UVA Magill led the searches and recruited more than half of the school deans, helping establish the most diverse group of school deans in the University’s history. Among her other notable achievements, she led UVA’s revision of its internal budget system and, as part of President Jim Ryan’s 2030 plan, she helped launch a historic grand challenges program to transform the depth and impact of the University’s research, and led the effort to enhance the University’s undergraduate advising for its more than 17,000 undergraduate students. Working closely with President Ryan and his leadership team, Magill was pivotal in leading UVA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working not only for the safety of those at the University, but also for the safety of the broader Charlottesville community, and ensuring transparency through regular communications with UVA students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and community members.
Prior to becoming provost at UVA, Magill served seven years as dean of Stanford Law School. There, she helped establish an innovative Law and Policy Lab, and also launched the school’s Global Initiative, which was funded by Stanford Law School’s largest alumni gift ever. She expanded and redesigned student life initiatives, with a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and oversaw the expansion of Stanford Law’s public service commitments. At Stanford, Magill also presided over a transformative faculty revitalization, hiring nearly 30 percent of the law faculty.
Before joining Stanford, Magill served as a professor and leader at UVA’s School of Law for 15 years. When she left for Stanford in 2012, she was the Joseph Weintraub–Bank of America Distinguished Professor of Law, the Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Professor, and she served as the school’s vice dean from 2009 to 2012.
A scholar of administrative and constitutional law, Magill is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Law Institute. She has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, held a fellowship in the Law and Public Affairs Program at Princeton University, and was the Thomas Jefferson visiting professor at Downing College, Cambridge University. Her articles have been published in leading law reviews, and she has won several awards for her scholarly contributions.
Prior to her career in higher education, Magill acquired experience working in politics and at the U.S. Supreme Court. After completing her bachelor’s degree in history at Yale University in 1988, Magill served as a senior legislative assistant for energy and natural resources for U.S. Senator Kent Conrad, a position she held for four years. She left Capitol Hill to attend UVA’s School of Law, where she was articles development editor of the Virginia Law Review. After graduating in 1995, Magill clerked for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and then for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Magill grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, and is married to Leon Francis Szeptycki, a lawyer and expert in natural resources law and policy. They have two children.