Penn plans to extend University President Amy Gutmann’s contract for five years, the Board of Trustees announced in a statement Tuesday morning.
The Trustees will finalize the five-year extension — which will carry through until June 30, 2019 — at a meeting on June 15.
The contract extension will make Gutmann the second longest serving president in Penn’s modern history, behind only Gaylord Harnwell, who served from 1953 to 1970.
Gutmann began at the University in 2004. Her current contract ends in 2014.
“The Trustees feel very strongly that Amy Gutmann is simply the best university president in the country,” Board of Trustees Chair David Cohen said in a statement. “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.”
Among other things, Gutmann has spearheaded the launch and expansion of the University’s no-loan undergraduate financial aid program. She has also led Penn in its Making History fundraising campaign, which hit its target goal of $3.5 billion last semester — more than a year before its scheduled close.
Gutmann, who previously served as provost at Princeton University, also chairs President Barack Obama’s Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.
“I’m tremendously grateful to the Trustees for their extraordinary support and confidence in what we’re doing at Penn,” she said.
She added that it is “both humbling and thrilling” to think that, by 2019, she will be listed among the longest serving Penn presidents ever.
When she came to the helm at Penn in 2004, Gutmann became just the fourth-ever permanent female president in the Ivy League.
In 1994, Penn became the first Ivy League school to bring in a full-time female president when Judith Rodin began her tenure at the University. The year before that, Claire Fagin had served as interim president of the University.
Gutmann is also among the highest paid Ivy League presidents. In the 2009 calendar year — the latest time period for which salary information is available — Gutmann’s total compensation package was $1,321,040.
Across the Ivies, this was third only to Yale University President Richard Levin, whose total compensation package was $1,627,649, and Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, who received $1,527,217, according to tax filings for the respective institutions.
Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli said Gutmann has provided “great leadership and momentum for the University.”
“For the kind of world we live in today, the notion that we can have stable leadership is a big plus for the University,” he said.
College sophomore and Undergraduate Assembly President Dan Bernick agreed.
In particular, Bernick spoke to Gutmann’s ability to work with undergraduates as a major plus for students during her time at Penn.
“With her at the helm for another seven years, the future of Penn is as bright as it’s ever been,” he said.
While Gutmann said she is currently in the process of developing new strategic priorities for the next several years, she pointed to several “evergreen goals” — such as financial aid and faculty recruitment and retention — as ones that are consistent priorities for her.
“In what areas do we have more to accomplish? Everywhere,” Gutmann said. “There’s never been a better time for Penn, and we’ll never lose sight of the heart and soul of what makes Penn great, which is its faculty and students.”Comments powered by Disqus
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