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Credit: Zoey Weisman

The University of Pennsylvania's President Amy Gutmann was recently awarded the 2018 William Penn Award — the highest honor given to a business or civic leader in the city.

“I am truly honored to be recognized by The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia with the William Penn Award,” Gutmann said in a Nov. 27 press release. “Penn values its many strong partnerships in Philadelphia. Our city’s history, its talent, its vibrant civic life, and the region’s innovation and growth are just part of what makes it the best place in the world to live, learn, and create.”

Philadelphia’s Chamber of Commerce has given the award annually since 1949 to a local individual for their “outstanding contributions toward the betterment of the region, professional accomplishments, and commitment to charity as well as to the community,” according to the press release. The award has previously been granted to former Penn President Judith Rodin and former Drexel President Constantine Papadakis.

Since her inauguration in 2004, Gutmann has expanded Penn’s financial aid budget for undergraduate students by 155 percent and created 200 new endowed professorships. Gutmann’s most recent fundraising campaign, titled “The Power of Penn: Advancing Knowledge for Good,” promises to raise an ambitious $4.1 billion in four years.

She has also spearheaded several major initiatives, including the construction of Penn Park, Pennovation Works, the Singh Center for Nanotechnology, New College House, Perry World House, and the opening of the Penn Wharton China Center.

In April, Gutmann was named one of the world’s top 50 leaders by Fortune Magazine.

“Amy Gutmann’s outstanding leadership extends far beyond the Greater Philadelphia region to points throughout our nation and around the world,” President and CEO of the Chamber Rob Wonderling said in the press release. “Her efforts to truly transform and innovate all aspects of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania serve as a model for all to emulate.”

Formerly a political theorist at Princeton University, Gutmann has remained active in her academic pursuits. She is on track to publish her seventeenth book, “Everyone Wants to Go To Heaven, But Nobody Wants to Die.” The book will discuss what Gutmann learned from her experience chairing former President Obama’s Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, and it will be co-authored by Perelman School of Medicine professor Jonathan Moreno. 

Gutmann will be honored at an April 26 gala hosted by the Chamber at The Bellevue Hotel.