by Joe Friedman, GAPSA Chair 2011-2012
While the origins of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) date back to the early 1950s, the modern-day organization was constituted in 1979. In that year, on September 24, the first GAPSA assembly gathered, and shortly thereafter, the Board of Trustees sanctioned the organization’s inauguration in the Statutes of the University, a core body of governing laws.
To this day, along with the Undergraduate Assembly, GAPSA is one of only two student organizations inscribed in the Statutes of the University. Article IX of the document, as most recently amended, states:
Based on this grant of authority, GAPSA has developed a strong platform from which to promote student interests and enhance student welfare, and continues to meet regularly with Penn’s President and Provost and continues to sit on Board of Trustee committees.
While the modern organization represents all Penn graduate students, its mandate was initially less broad. Originally, GAPSA operations were conducted in tandem with those of its sister organization – called the Graduate Student Association Council (GSAC) – which operated on behalf of PhD students.
As student enrollment expanded and the number of graduate schools increased, an initiative emerged which sought to merge GAPSA and GSAC in order to more effectively coordinate and achieve interdisciplinary goals. In 2007, the objective was formally accomplished. A restructuring that year, voted on by all Penn graduate student governments and GAPSA and GSAC, launched a single university-wide graduate student government, coterminous with the single university-wide Undergraduate Assembly.
As the University of Pennsylvania enters its 268th year of existence, it is noteworthy that its university-wide graduate student government has younger, but still firm, roots. Due to its progressive structure, with General Assembly members representing all 12 Penn graduate schools in line with school census numbers, and an annually-elected, 12-member Executive Board that remains committed above all to strengthening Penn camaraderie both on and off campus, GAPSA today believes it has a bright future and strives to serve as a paradigm for student governments nationwide.
Access our General Assembly Minutes Archive to review prior years' work.
1979 First GAPSA Assembly constituted on 24 September
1979-80 Randall Marks (Law, JD)
1989-90 Mohamed Saadi-Elmandjra (Engineering, PhD)
1988-89 Vincent Phaahla (Design, AM)
1987-88 Wayne Glasker (Arts & Sciences, PhD)
1986-87 Wayne Glasker (Arts & Sciences, PhD)
1985-86 James Whelan (Arts & Sciences, PhD)
1984-85 Amy Lyman (Arts & Sciences, PhD)
1983-84 Bette Kauffman (Arts & Sciences, PhD)
1982-83 Bette Kauffman (Arts & Sciences, PhD)
1981-82 Steven Ludwig (Law, JD)
1980-81 Stephen Marmon (Wharton, MBA)
1999-00 Kendra Nicholson (Social Policy & Practice, MSW)
1998-99 Douglas Hagan (Wharton, MBA)
1998 Sanjay Udani (Engineering, PhD) (Spring)
1997 Victoria Tredinnick (Arts & Sciences, PhD) (Fall)
1996-97 Alexander Welte (Arts & Sciences, PhD)
1995-96 Victor Prince (Wharton, MBA)
1994-95 David Mestre (Arts & Sciences, PhD)
1993-94 Patricia Khuly (Veterinary, VMD)
1992-93 Allen Orsi (Nursing, PhD)
1991-92 Michael Goldstein (Wharton, PhD)
1990-91 Susan Garfinkel (Arts & Sciences, PhD)
2009-10 Corbett Brown (Nursing, PhD)
2008-09 Andrew Rennekamp (Medicine, PhD)
2007-08 Daniel Grabell (Wharton, MBA)
2006-07 Lee Shaker (Annenberg, PhD)
2005-06 Lela Jacobsohn (Annenberg, PhD)
2004-05 Simi Wilhelm (Education, PhD)
2003-04 Robert Alvarez (Wharton, MBA)
2002-03 Jeremy Korst (Wharton, MBA)
2001-02 Christopher Leahy (Law, JD)
2000-01 Kyle Farley (Arts & Sciences, PhD)
2012-13 James Wiley (Law, JD)
2011-12 Joseph S. Friedman (Law, JD)
2010-11 Maher Zamel (Education, EdD)