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In a move that will extend Penn’s influence to the White House, President Barack Obama named University President Amy Gutmann chairwoman of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.

The announcement came Tuesday afternoon after Obama signed an Executive Order creating the commission, which will advise on matters relating to bioethics, in addition to science and technology.

A statement from the White House described Gutmann as “a distinguished political scientist, philosopher, and scholar of ethics and public policy.”

“It is fitting that President Gutmann has been chosen by President Obama for this important national position,” David Cohen, head of the Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “Dr. Gutmann is an eminent scholar and prize-winning teacher renowned for her expertise in multiple fields.”

Cohen highlighted Gutmann’s experience as a scholar and a leader, adding that her new role “will benefit our country — as it has and will continue to benefit the University of Pennsylvania as our president.”

James Riepe, current head of the School of Medicine Board and former head of the Board of Trustees, echoed those same sentiments.

The appointment “reflects [Gutmann’s] demonstrated ability to frame complex subjects in a way that produces constructive discussion and an actionable understanding of the critical issues,” Riepe said in a statement.

He emphasized that this is also a tribute to the University.

“It is emblematic of Penn’s engagement — utilizing its extensive research, educational and medical science resources — with issues that are important to the continuing development of our society,” he said.

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