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

Amy Gutmann

The eighth 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 about $4,000 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, which kicked off 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 the highly 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. The President’s Engagement and Innovation Prizes were launched, in 2015 and 2016, respectively, which award graduating seniors funding and advising to get their impactful startups off the ground. In 2017, President Gutmann announced the opening of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C.

To ensure the future of these and many other major initiatives, President Gutmann has raised nearly $9 billion for Penn since 2004. She 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 goal by almost a billion dollars. Currently, President Gutmann is leading the ambitious Power of Penn Campaign. 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 tripled over the course of Gutmann’s presidency.

A leader in interdisciplinary research and education, the Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) University Professorships were created as 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 massive 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. In thinking green, President Gutmann has also led efforts to establish a Climate Action Plan in 2009, which has been revamped every five years since.

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 published her 17th book, co-authored with Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor 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 health care. NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell called it “required reading for anyone with a heartbeat.”

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Appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama, Dr. Gutmann chaired the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues for seven years, during which time the Commission published 10 reports on major issues including pediatric vaccine testing, privacy and progress in whole genome sequencing, protecting participants in human subjects research, and preventing and responding to public health crises such as Ebola and Zika.

She has served on the Board of the Vanguard Group since 2006, and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Berggruen Institute since 2014. In addition, Dr. Gutmann is a member of the American Talent Initiative, which works to collaboratively increase access to higher education for highly talented, low-income students. She was a member of the National Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, which was convened by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011-13). She was elected and served as Chair of the Association of American Universities (2014-15); served on the Board of the National Constitution Center (2007-19); and was a member of the Knight Commission on Trust, Media, and Democracy (2017-19).

Dr. Gutmann has been honored with the Harvard University Centennial Medal (2003), the Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award (2009), was named one of the “150 Women Who Shake the World” by Newsweek (2011), and received the Anti-Defamation League’s Americanism Award (2014), the Urban Affairs Coalition’s Doer Award (2015), the Lucretia Mott Award from Women’s Way (2017), and the Philadelphia Inquirer Industry Icon Award (2018). She was named one of Fortune’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” (2018). In 2019, Dr. Gutmann was honored with the William Penn award, as well as the Pennsylvania Society’s coveted Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement. She is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, and is a W.E.B. DuBois Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. Dr. Gutmann previously served as President of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy. She is a founding member of the Global Colloquium of University Presidents, an advisory group to the Secretary General of the United Nations. She has received numerous honorary degrees, including a Doctor of Humane Letters from Johns Hopkins University (2017), Doctor of Laws from Columbia University (2012), and was named an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics (2013).

As the leader of Philadelphia’s largest private employer, Dr. Gutmann heads one of the Commonwealth’s most powerful economic engines, with an estimated total economic impact of $14 billion annually in Pennsylvania. As part of that impact, the University has made substantial and far-reaching investments in its own physical infrastructure. Since 2006, Penn’s campus master plan, Penn Connects, has added 6 million square feet of new construction, and reinvested in 2.7 million square feet of renovated space while also adding more than 30 acres of new open space. These capital achievements represent a combined public and private investment of $3.8 billion. Penn Connects 3.0 will add an additional 3 million square feet of space to campus.

In addition to those noted above, selected highlights of President Gutmann’s tenure at Penn include:

Prior to her appointment at Penn, Dr. Gutmann served as Provost at Princeton University, where she also was the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics. She was the Founding Director of the University Center for Human Values, an eminent, multidisciplinary center that supports teaching, scholarship, and public discussion of ethics and human values. Also at Princeton, she served as Dean of the Faculty and as Academic Adviser to the President, and was awarded the President’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

Dr. Gutmann graduated magna cum laude from Harvard-Radcliffe College. She earned her master’s degree in Political Science from the London School of Economics and her doctorate in Political Science from Harvard University. She is married to Michael W. Doyle, a University Professor at Columbia University.

Revised November 2019.