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02-28-19-amy-gutmann-sharon-lee

Penn President Amy Gutmann will sit for her first hearing in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Tuesday.

Credit: Sharon Lee

The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold its first hearing on Tuesday on Penn President Amy Gutmann’s nomination to be the next U.S. ambassador to Germany.

The Dec. 14 hearing is set to start at 10 a.m. and will be live-streamed on the committee's website. Gutmann will appear before the committee alongside Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, President Joe Biden’s nominee for ambassador to India, and U.S. diplomat Donald Blome, nominee for ambassador to Pakistan.

After the hearing, the committee will schedule a vote to submit Gutmann’s nomination to the full Senate — favorably, unfavorably, or without recommendation. If her nomination is then approved in a majority vote by the Senate, Gutmann will become the first female ambassador to Germany in U.S. history.

University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the University’s plans if Gutmann is confirmed as ambassador.

After her nomination was announced in July, Gutmann wrote in an email to the University community that she would continue to serve as president until June 30, 2022, or earlier if the Senate confirmed her as ambassador.

Gutmann's nomination followed speculation that Penn's ties to Biden would earn Gutmann a spot in his administration. Biden had held the honorary role of Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor from 2017 to 2021, and he established the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C. in 2018.

Students expressed support for Gutmann’s nomination after it was announced, although several said they were uncertain about the University’s transition to new leadership.

Professors praised Gutmann’s qualifications for the position and said she could improve the United States' relationship with Germany — which last week appointed a new chancellor for the first time in 16 years. Gutmann, whose father fled Germany at the start of the Holocaust in 1934, also has personal ties to Germany.

In September, Penn announced the formation of the Consultative Committee to select the next University president. The committee includes seven trustees, two deans, five faculty members, one staff member, one undergraduate, and one graduate student.

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