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Credit: Daniel Xu

In 2016 — the most recent year for which Penn's data is public — Penn President Amy Gutmann earned a record high of $3,908,031. This is a 10.5 percent increase from the previous year, the number makes her the second highest-paid university president in the Ivy League. Still, The Daily Pennsylvanian Editorial Board supports Gutmann's high salary for her work fundraising, diversifying opportunities for students, and building new spaces for our campus.

Granted, her salary was 20 times the median Penn professor’s salary in 2016, and could have paid for tuition, room, and board for nearly 66 students during that academic year. Except for Columbia University President Lee Bollinger who made approximately $3.96 million, Gutmann made more than double the salaries of each Ivy League university president. The next highest paid president in 2016, Harvard University's Drew Faust, made only $1.53 million. Regardless, the money she makes is justified, as the institution would not be able to function, nor would the student experience be as robust, without her in charge.

Credit: Winnie Xu

Gutmann’s fundraising prowess is extremely impressive. Her first capital campaign as president launched in 2007. The Making History Campaign raised $4.3 billion — $800 million more than its initial goal. Nearly half of the money brought in was allocated to a variety of research and programs. Other large sums went towards undergraduate and graduate financial aid, as well as faculty endowments and building construction. 

Gutmann's current campaign, the Power of Penn, is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the history of the University. In its quiet phase over the last four and a half years, the campaign has raised $2.7 billion. While the public phase of the campaign aims to raise $4.1 billion in four years, Gutmann is up to the task. She has been traveling the globe to fundraise — launching the campaign in places like London, Los Angeles, and Boston, and will be in Hong Kong this March. 

Her ability to fundraise is often linked to Penn's successful endowment. Since Gutmann took office in 2004, Penn’s total endowment has grown 245 percent — a rate that has exceeded every other Ivy League university. In 2018, Penn's endowment ballooned to $13.8 billion. 

Credit: Jess Tan

While students don’t often see Gutmann on Locust Walk, her travels to fundraise throughout the world have contributed directly to the growth of student opportunities at Penn. It is clear that Gutmann’s time and energy is going toward issues that matter to undergraduates, like making the University more accessible to people from a variety of different backgrounds. One of the main priorities of Gutmann’s Power of Penn campaign is to “expand student opportunities.” 

In an October 2018 University Council meeting, Gutmann noted that this campaign helps the University to increase global opportunities, making them more available to first-generation, low-income students. Under Gutmann’s leadership, Penn’s financial aid budget has already grown by 171 percent, and the campaign seeks to raise an additional $334 million for undergraduate student financial aid.

As a result of Gutmann's impressive leadership, the campus has seen — and continues to see — substantial physical growth. Her new campaign is set to raise money to finance various renovations and extensions of buildings on campus, as well as fund eight new buildings. 

These projects include the construction of the Wharton Academic Research Building, Tangen Hall, New College House West, a new indoor training facility behind the Hollenback Center, Penn Dental’s Schattner Pavilion, renovations in the Penn Museum, and the new Pavilion at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. They hopefully will improve the experiences of a diverse range of people on Penn’s community — from anthropologists at the Penn Museum to patients and staff working in the hospital.

With a contract extension through June 2022, there is a reason why Amy Gutmann will be Penn’s longest serving president. The Penn community often forgets to acknowledge the scope of Gutmann’s job. She is responsible for overseeing the operations of Penn’s 12 schools and the city’s largest private employer — that is no simple feat. There is no doubt that Gutmann receives substantial compensation. That does not mean it is not justified. So long as President Gutmann continues to do a thorough job advocating for the Penn community, she will continue to be well deserving of her multi-million dollar paycheck.

Editorials represent the majority view of members of The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. Editorial Board, which meets regularly to discuss issues relevant to Penn's campus. Participants in these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on related topics.

All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.