The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania have announced that it will extend the contract of President Amy Gutmann for five additional years beyond its current expiration date.
“I am truly grateful to the trustees for their extraordinary support and for giving me the opportunity to work with so many talented individuals,” she said. “I am very proud of all that our fantastic faculty, staff, students and alumni have together enabled us to accomplish these past eight years, and I am confident that we will continue to move forward with passion and purpose.”
The extension, announced on Tuesday by trustees Chair David L. Cohen, will be formally ratified at the board’s meeting on June 15 and will extend Gutmann’s contract as president to at least June 30, 2019. The extension would make her the second longest serving president in the school’s modern history.
“The Trustees feel very strongly that Amy Gutmann is simply the best university president in the country,” Cohen said. “Under her superb leadership, Penn is a stronger and more vibrant institution than at any time in its storied history. She has done a fantastic job.
“Penn is an incredible resource for our community, our state, our nation and indeed the world,” he added. “As trustees, we feel a special obligation to ensure its continued success. We made a great choice in 2004 when we selected Amy Gutmann as Penn’s president and being able to keep her at the helm for another seven years is a huge win for our University. We are confident that she has the vision and the energy to keep Penn’s momentum going. If there is one thing on which our faculty, donors, alumni, students, overseers and trustees all agree, it is that Amy Gutmann is the right person to lead us into what we know will be a very bright future.”
As Penn’s president, Gutmann has championed greater interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship, enhancing the school’s stellar faculty by attracting world-renowned scholars, adding more than 100 new named professorships, including 14 Penn Integrates Knowledge professors jointly appointed between two schools, and launching a new Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence.
It could be noted that Penn’s students are some of the most academically accomplished and diverse in its history. Gutmann inaugurated Penn’s no-loan undergraduate financial aid program, which has greatly expanded access to a Penn education and become a model for other universities.
She has led one of the most successful fundraising campaigns in higher education history, with Making History: The Campaign for Penn attaining its $3.5 billion goal 16 months ahead of schedule and securing the largest single gift in Penn history – $225 million from philanthropists Ray and Ruth Perelman.
Alumni engagement has soared with participation at record-high levels.
Under her leadership, Penn Medicine has reached new heights in clinical care excellence and is more closely aligned with the university than at any point in its history.
Penn’s sponsored research funding has grown 23 percent to nearly $940 million annually.
Through the Penn Connects master plan, Gutmann has overseen a strategic and dynamic renewal of Penn’s campus, adding 47 acres — including Penn Park and the purchase of the former DuPont Marshall Lab property — and completing nearly 4 million square feet of capital projects. She has played a crucial role in strengthening Penn’s connections to its community, the nation and the world.
Gutmann, who assumed the presidency in 2004, expressed gratitude for the faith of the trustees in her leadership and pledged to build on the University’s momentum and history of innovation.
“The status quo will never suffice at this University,” she said. “Our boldness is a characteristic that has set Penn apart from its peers, and it will be what distinguishes us in the coming years.”
In addition to her duties as president, Gutmann also serves as the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science in the School of Arts and Sciences with secondary faculty appointments in Philosophy, the Annenberg School for Communication and the Graduate School of Education.
She has published widely on the value of education and deliberation in democracy, on the importance of access to higher education and health care, on “the good, the bad and the ugly” of identity politics and on the essential role of ethics –- especially professional and political ethics -– in public affairs.
Gutmann continues to be an active scholar as Penn's president, most recently lecturing on “What Makes a University Education Worthwhile?” and publishing her 16th book, The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It (with Dennis Thompson) this month.
Appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama, Gutmann chairs the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.
She also serves on the National Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences and on the boards of the National Constitution Center, the Carnegie Corporation and the Vanguard Group.
Gutmann has won the Harvard University Centennial Medal (2003) and the Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award (2009) and was named by Newsweek one of the “150 Women Who Shake the World” (2011). On May 16, she will receive an honorary doctorate from Columbia University in recognition of the national leadership that she has shown in higher education.
“As the Making History campaign comes to a close, we will review our evolving strategic priorities and think very seriously about how we position ourselves in a changing higher education environment,” she said. “But in the end, everything we do at Penn will continue to be about our passionate commitment to make a Penn education the very best in the world.”
Source: University of Pennsylvania Office of Communications / Penn News