Meet President Gutmann

President and Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science
in the School of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Communication
in the Annenberg School for Communication

The 8th President of the University of Pennsylvania, serving since 2004, Amy Gutmann is an internationally renowned leader in higher education: a prominent advocate for increased access to higher education, for innovation based on interdisciplinary collaboration, and for the transformative impact of universities, locally, nationally and globally. In November 2016, Penn announced that President Gutmann’s contract had been extended to 2022, making her the longest-serving president in Penn’s history.

In her 2004 inaugural address, President Gutmann outlined a bold and ambitious vision for the University: the Penn Compact. Penn’s commitment to the three core values of the Penn Compact — Inclusion, Innovation, and Impact — has propelled the University forward during an era of dramatic change.


Penn's all-grant policy for undergraduate financial aid, based on need, is the largest in the country and serves as the cornerstone for inclusion efforts. Penn has provided students and their families with more than $1.4 billion in grants since its implementation in 2009. The average cost for aided students to attend Penn today is almost $2,300 less than it was in 2005. A first-generation, low-income college student herself, President Gutmann has more than doubled the number of students from low-income, middle-income, and first-generation college families attending Penn.


President Gutmann has led the creation of an innovation ecosystem on Penn’s vibrantly expanded campus, which brings together researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs to move research discoveries into the marketplace. The Penn Center for Innovation, opened in 2014, fast-tracks Penn discoveries and technologies to meet social needs. Officially opened in 2016, Pennovation Works is a 23-acre former heavy industrial site that the University purchased and transformed into an innovation campus close to its academic core. The Pennovation Center is Pennovation Works’ flagship business incubator and laboratory.


Transformative initiatives also underscore Penn’s impact on its community, society and world. These include the expansion of civic-minded partnerships with Philadelphia public schools such as the model, University-assisted Penn Alexander School, which won coveted National Blue Ribbon status in 2016, and strong programmatic support for hundreds of other local public schools. On the global front, the fall 2016 opening of the Perry World House on campus and the spring 2015 opening of the Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing mark the launching of major new sites for university-wide initiatives that promote global solutions to challenging problems, and bring the world to Penn and Penn to the world. Most recently, in 2017, Penn announced that Vice President Joseph R. Biden would lead the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington.

To ensure the future of these and many other major initiatives, Dr. Gutmann has raised more than $5 billion for Penn and led the largest, most successful fundraising effort in the University's history, a $4.3 billion Making History campaign that concluded in 2012, exceeding its ambitious goal by almost a billion dollars. While more than doubling financial aid and adding more than 200 endowed faculty professorships under her presidency, Penn has combined expertise and prudence in managing its expenses and investing its endowment. Penn's endowment has more than doubled over the course of Gutmann's presidency.

A leader in interdisciplinary research and education, Penn created the Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) University Professorships, a unique university professorship program that brings preeminent faculty to Penn from around the world. PIK university professors hold joint appointments in two or more of Penn's 12 schools. Penn has also distinguished Itself with the widest range of new interdisciplinary majors, research and teaching programs, academically based service learning courses, and massively open online courses (MOOCs) that span Penn's 12 schools.

President Gutmann also has pushed Penn to the forefront in civic engagement by converting an abandoned parking lot into Penn Park, a 24-acre urban oasis opened in 2011 that connects Penn’s campus to the center of Philadelphia. Design Philadelphia called Penn Park an "urban sanctuary" in the city.

President Gutmann is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Professor of Communication in the Annenberg School for Communication, with secondary faculty appointments in Philosophy in the School of Arts and Sciences 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 her pathbreaking scholarship as Penn's President.  In August 2019 she will publish her seventeenth book, co-authored with Jonathan Moreno, entitled Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven But Nobody Wants to Die. Based on her work as Chair of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, the book is an incisive examination of bioethics and American healthcare and NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell called it “required reading for anyone with a heartbeat.” In 2012 she published The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It (with Dennis Thompson). Judy Woodruff of the PBS Newshour called the book "a clear-eyed examination of the forces that bring warring political leaders together or keep them apart. I wish every policymaker would read it.”

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