History of the Presidency

Biographical sketches of Penn Presidents (including Acting and Interim Presidents) and historically significant aspects of University history during each administration.

2004 - Present

Amy Gutmann, President

Born 1949, in Brooklyn, New York
B.A. Harvard-Radcliffe College, 1971
M.Sc. London School of Economics, 1972
Ph.D. Harvard University, 1976
  • Provost, Princeton University, 2001-2004
  • Director, The University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, 1990-1995, 1998-2001
  • President, American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, 2001-2004
  • Academic Adviser to the President, Princeton University, 1997-98
  • Dean of the Faculty, Princeton University, 1995-97
  • Director, The Program in Ethics and Public Affairs, Princeton University, 1990-1995, 1997-2000
  • Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, 1990-2004
  • Director, The Program in Political Philosophy, Princeton University, 1987-89
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Princeton University, Politics Department, 1986-88
  • Professor of Politics, Princeton University, l987-2004; Associate Professor, 1981-86; and Assistant Professor, 1976-81

University history (to date) during the Gutmann administration:

2004 Amy Gutmann announces The Penn Compact at her inauguration. The Compact encompasses Gutmann’s strategic vision to propel the University of Pennsylvania from excellence to eminence in its core endeavors of teaching, research, and service. Three core principles inform the Compact: increasing access, integrating knowledge, and engaging locally and globally.
2005 Penn Integrates Knowledge Initiative launches with a $10 million anonymous gift. The PIK initiative recruits and cultivates the most eminent scholars who are experts in integrating knowledge between and among disciplines.
2005 School of Social Work is renamed School of Social Policy and Practice.
2006 Penn Connects, the University’s 30-year development plan to expand the campus eastward and connect Penn with the center city of Philadelphia, is announced. 
2006 Penn’s all-grant undergraduate financial aid program is announced and fully phased in over three years. As of fall 2009, all undergraduate students who are eligible can graduate loan-free from Penn. The program is the largest financial aid investment in Penn’s history.
2007 Penn completes purchase of 24 acres of postal lands adjacent to the Schuylkill.
2007 $3.5 billion “Making History” campaign launches.
2007 Institute for Regenerative Medicine is created.
2007 The Penn Vet Working Dog Center is established as a national research and development organization dedicated to gathering scientific knowledge about the genetics, physical training, rearing, and conditioning of detection dogs.
2008 Ruth and Raymond Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine opens at Penn Medicine.
2009 University breaks ground on Penn Park, which will increase the University’s green space by 20 percent and develop the lands adjacent to the Schuylkill River.
2009 President Barack Obama appoints Gutmann Chair of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.
2009 Gutmann launches the Climate Action Plan, laying out strategies for the University to adopt to reduce its emissions of climate-altering greenhouse gases.
2011 Penn Park opens, connecting Penn’s campus to Center City Philadelphia and surrounding neighborhoods. The next year, Design Philadelphia calls it an “urban sanctuary” and gives it the Design Champion Award.
2011 Gutmann launches Penn’s Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence, outlining an extensive plan to recruit, retain, and mentor more diverse faculty.
2011 Penn acquires 23 acres on the South Bank of the Schuylkill River to be developed by the University, in part to strengthen Penn’s technology transfer and faculty innovation efforts.
2011 The Smilow Center for Translational Research Center opens.
2012 Golkin Hall opens, a state-of-the-art building that completes Penn Law’s integrated campus and embodies its distinctive vision for an interdisciplinary legal education. The Hon. Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, participated in the dedication.
2012 Shoemaker Green opens. The 2.75 acre green is adjacent to Penn Park in the center of campus and was designed to help reduce runoff and improve water quality.
2013 Penn completes its largest, most successful fundraising effort in the University’s history, raising $4.3 billion through the Making History campaign. The campaign’s original goal of $3.5 billion is hit 16 months ahead of schedule.
2013 Gutmann introduces the Penn Compact 2020, which will maximize Penn’s inclusion, innovation, and impact with bold next steps to increase access to Penn’s exceptional intellectual resources; integrate knowledge across academic disciplines with a strong emphasis on innovation; and engage locally, nationally, and globally to bring the benefits of Penn’s research, teaching, and service to individuals and communities at home and around the world.
2013 Krishna P. Singh Nanotechnology Center opens, becoming the region’s premier facility for advanced research, education, and innovative public/private partnerships in nanotechnology. The 78,000 square-foot facility serves as Penn’s focal point for groundbreaking work in nanotechnology.
2014 Gutmann announces creation of President’s Engagement Prizes, the largest and most unique prizes of their kind, to encourage Penn seniors to take on local, national and global engagement projects after graduation.
2014 The Climate Action Plan 2.0 is announced as a roadmap for environmental improvement and sustainability on campus to 2019 and beyond.
2014 Gutmann kicks off the Penn Center for Innovation, a new initiative that will provide the infrastructure, leadership, and resources needed to transfer promising Penn inventions, know-how and related assets into the marketplace for the public good.  
2015 Gutmann announces creation of President’s Innovation Prize, which provides a graduating Penn senior, or team of graduating seniors, $100,000 (plus a $50,000 living stipend per team member) to envision and implement an innovative, commercial venture that makes a positive difference in the world.
2015 Penn Wharton China Center opens in Beijing. The PWCC represents a substantial commitment to advance a long history of engagement with China in an increasingly interconnected global environment.
2016 Stephen A. Levin Building for Neural and Behavioral Sciences opens, integrating psychology, biology and behavioral sciences under one roof. Completion of the building positions Penn to become a leader in the interdisciplinarity of brain and human behavior research.
2016 New College House opens as Penn’s first purpose-built facility in the university system of college houses. In 2019, it’s named Lauder College House.
2016 Perry World House opens, a new, state-of-the-art campus hub for advancing interdisciplinary, policy-related approaches to the world’s most pressing global issues. Former United Nations high commissioner for human rights Navanethem Pillay and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates attend the opening.
2016 Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School (Penn Alexander School) is named a National Blue Ribbon School. It is one of only a few hundred schools in the country to receive the coveted annual distinction, and the first Philadelphia District school in West Philadelphia to ever receive the honor.
2016 Pennovation Center opens, an iconic new landmark for Penn’s innovation ecosystem. The Center is part of Pennovation Works, a 23-acre property adjacent to Penn's campus which accommodates Penn affiliates in state-of-the-art facilities, including researchers, entrepreneurs, and industry partners solving real-world problems and translating inventiveness into viable ventures.

Gutmann’s contract is extended to 2022, making her the longest-serving president in the University’s history.

2017 At Convocation, Gutmann announces the growth of the first-generation, low-income student population, which represented one out of every eight members of the Class of 2021.
2017 Hill College House re-opens after an $80 million refresh and renovation.
2017 The Penn Museum breaks ground on its Building Transformation project, which will renovate and reinstall over 44,000 square feet of space, restore original features of the building, and add important visitor amenities.
2017 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves CAR T-cell therapy, the first gene therapy that effectively treats cancer, thanks to the breakthroughs made by Penn researchers.
2017 The 49-story FMC Tower at 30th and Walnut streets is completed. In addition to holding the ground lease, Penn is a major tenant of the building—which helps connect the University to Center City—claiming 100,000 square feet of space.
2017 Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement opens in Washington, D.C.
2018 $4.1 billion Power of Penn campaign launches.
2018 Gutmann is named to Fortune magazine’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders list, and receives the Philadelphia Inquirer Industry Icon Award.
2018 The Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics officially launches.
2019 The final beam on Penn Medicine’s new $1.5 billion patient pavilion was secured, keeping the new building on track to open in 2021.
2019 Penn’s world-renowned design school was renamed the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, after the iconic footwear designer.
2019 Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 launches.
2019 Gutmann is honored with the William Penn award, as well as the Pennsylvania Society’s coveted Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement. 

The W. P. Carey Foundation, one of the leading philanthropic supporters of educational institutions, makes a $125 million gift to the law school at Penn, the largest gift ever to a law school. The school is named the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.

2020 Committed to the safety and health of Penn’s students, faculty, postdocs, staff, patients, and visitors, Gutmann leads the University through swift changes in operations as the COVID-19 pandemic takes shape across the city, nation, and world.
2020 Gutmann announces a series of new initiatives totaling $4 million in emergency financial assistance to Penn employees, third-party contract workers, and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Throughout 2020, she also announced new programs to support undergraduate and graduate students during the pandemic.
2020 The Robert and Jane Toll Foundation, founded by alumni Robert Toll and Jane Toll, makes a $50 million gift to the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School to dramatically expand the Toll Public Interest Scholars and Fellows Program, doubling the number of public interest graduates in the coming decade through a combination of full and partial tuition scholarships.
2020 Gutmann and her husband Michael Doyle make a $2M gift to the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing’s Innovating for Life and Living Campaign, as part of the University’s Power of Penn Campaign. The gift, which brought the couple’s total giving to Penn to $4.5M, created the Gutmann Leadership Scholars Program at Penn Nursing.
2020 Gutmann, along with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, School Board President Joyce Wilkerson, and Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia William R. Hite Jr., announce Penn’s $100 million contribution to the School District—$10 million annually for 10 years. The funding will be used to remediate environmental hazards, including asbestos and lead, in the city’s public school buildings.

Biographical sketches of Penn Presidents (including Acting and Interim Presidents) and historically significant aspects of University history during each administration.