An internationally renowned political philosopher, whose scholarship focuses on democracy, education, practical ethics and public policy, Amy Gutmann became the eighth president of the University of Pennsylvania in 2004, As Penn's president she has championed increased access to higher education. Penn is now the nation's largest university offering an all-grant financial aid policy that meets the full need of undergraduate students. A first-generation college student herself, Dr. Gutmann has significantly expanded the number of students from low-income, middle-income, and first-generation college families at Penn. She has been equally steadfast in her commitment to increasing diversity, interdisciplinary excellence, civic leadership, and service among faculty, students, and staff.
At the request of President Obama, Dr. Gutmann has chaired the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues since 2009. She has published widely on the importance of access to high-quality education, mutual respect among individuals, deliberation in governing, and on the essential role of ethics in public affairs. She continues her scholarship as Penn's president, publishing her sixteenth book, The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It (with Dennis Thompson) in 2012. She is also former chair of the American Association of Universities.
Under her leadership, Penn completed the most successful fundraising campaign in its history, raising $4.3 billion. She oversees Penn’s role as Philadelphia’s largest employer and most vibrant civic partner. Among the many campus advances made during Dr. Gutmann’s tenure, the University has added nearly 4 million square feet of developed space. The crown jewel is Penn Park, an award-winning, 24-acre sustainable urban oasis that is open to the Philadelphia community. She has also overseen the acquisition and development of the Pennovation Works campus on the eastern shore of the Schuylkill River, which will jumpstart technology commercialization and entrepreneurial activity for the entire region.