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Penn Trustees to Extend President Gutmann's Contract

May 22, 2012, Volume 58, No. 34

GutmannThe Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania will extend the contract of President Amy Gutmann for five additional years beyond its current expiration date.

The extension, announced recently by Trustees Chair David L. Cohen, will be formally ratified at the board’s meeting on June 15 and will extend Dr. Gutmann’s contract as president to at least June 30, 2019. The extension would make her the second-longest serving President in Penn’s modern history. President Gaylord Harnwell served as Penn’s President for 17 years, from 1953-1970; he died in 1982 (Almanac April 20, 1982).

“The Trustees feel very strongly that Amy Gutmann is simply the best university president in the country,” Mr. 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,” Mr. Cohen said. “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, Dr. Gutmann has championed greater interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship, enhancing Penn’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.  

Penn’s students are the most academically accomplished and diverse in its history. Dr. 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. 

Dr. Gutmann, who assumed the presidency in 2004 (Almanac October 19, 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. 

In addition to her duties as president, Dr. Gutmann also serves as the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science in the School of Arts & Sciences with secondary faculty appointments in philosophy, the Annenberg School for Communication and the Graduate School of Education. 

“I am truly grateful to the trustees for their extraordinary support and for giving me the opportunity to work with so many talented individuals,” Dr. Gutmann 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 status quo will never suffice at this University. Our boldness is a characteristic that has set Penn apart from its peers, and it will be what distinguishes us in the coming years. 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. 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.”

Almanac - May 22, 2012, Volume 58, No. 34