Skip to main content area Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to search Skip to section navigation

Pritchett Serves a New Mayor and a New President

November 11, 2008

It's been a whirlwind of a year -- or two -- for University of Pennsylvania Law School Professor Wendell Pritchett.

The University of Chicago Press published his second book, a biography of Robert Clifton Weaver, the first African-American to serve in the cabinet of a U.S. president. (See related story.)

Then Pritchett followed in Weaver's footsteps, leaving academia temporarily to pursue government work. In Philadelphia's 2007 mayoral election, Pritchett helped create policies on crime, education, jobs, and housing for City Councilman Michael Nutter, and then spent eight months as deputy chief of staff and director of policy for the new mayor.

"Mayor Nutter's focus is to change the way Philadelphians view their city," says Pritchett. Even though the Nutter administration is in its early days, he predicts the mayor "will be remembered for making government work."

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign tapped Pritchett to serve as its chair of metropolitan and urban policy, creating position papers and advising the candidate who now is set to become the 44th president of the United States.

"The election of our first African-American president, along with the fact that he received support in so many parts of the country, is a momentous event for the nation," Pritchett says. "President-Elect Obama is standing on the shoulders of people like Weaver, who I know would be very proud at this moment."