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Penn President Amy Gutmann was one of four higher-education leaders to receive a 2009 Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award yesterday.

The award, which consists of a $500,000 grant, recognizes a “commitment to excellence in undergraduate education,” according to a statement released by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The funding is intended for academic initiatives and will be distributed at Gutmann’s discretion.

“I am truly honored to be among the ranks of the distinguished current and past recipients of this award,” Gutmann said, “and I am especially proud to accept it on behalf of the eminent faculty, students and staff of Penn.”

This year’s other recipients were Bard College President Leon Botstein, Tulane University President Scott Cowen and University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan.

“At a time when resources are scarce we hope these awards will allow outstanding leaders to maintain the momentum of their most critical and innovative educational initiatives,” Carnegie President Vartan Gregorian, who announced the awards, said in a statement.

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