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Former Penn President Amy Gutmann greets students as they move into New College House West in Fall 2021, recently renamed Gutmann College House in her honor. Credit: Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania

Penn announced today that New College House West would be renamed Gutmann College House, in honor of eighth President Emerita Amy Gutmann. 

Gutmann College House was one of two college houses — along with Lauder College House — built during Gutmann’s 18-year presidency. The building, located at 40th and Walnut streets, opened in fall 2021 and houses around 430 sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Penn’s residential system comprises of 13 houses to support the approximately 6,000 students that live on campus.

“It is a delight to honor President Emerita Gutmann’s tremendous achievements in this way,” President Liz Magill told Penn Today. “As Penn’s longest-serving president, Amy Gutmann held a deep appreciation for the transformative power of a college education and the value of living and learning together as part of an academic community. Penn’s intentionally built college houses are not just emblematic of that commitment, they are at the heart of the student experience.” 

The opening of the facility coincided with the launch of the Second Year Experience Program — an initiative developed by Gutmann as well. The program includes a two-year housing requirement for all students in an effort to promote a “culture of academic vibrancy, diversity, and wellness,” Penn Today wrote

The 250,000-square foot College House includes multiple club rooms, communal kitchens, music practice rooms, classrooms and seminar rooms, study rooms, and 445 beds. Gutmann College House also has a fitness center, coffee shop, and the Quaker Kitchen dining hall.

“We thought: ‘What a perfect building to attach [Gutmann’s] name to, given that that is what enabled us to have a two-year residence program that was one of the big signature achievements of her time,” Chair of the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees Scott Bok said in an interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian. 

Gutmann College House was designed by Philadelphia-based internationally acclaimed Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects. In 2022, the building became designated as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver, which aligns with Penn and Gutmann’s sustainability goals per Penn’s Climate and Sustainability Plan 3.0. Gutmann was the first Ivy League President to sign the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment during her presidency.

"Dr. Amy Gutmann is a remarkable leader and visionary who was integral in shaping the college house we strive to be. Her insight for addressing complex issues through community and education can be seen in every element of the physical space as well as in our house motto 'Innovation is Invented Together'", House Director of Gutmann College House Kathryn McDonald wrote in a statement to the DP.

Gutmann, who now serves as the United States Ambassador to Germany, created an innovation ecosystem on Penn’s campus and focused on global engagement, highlighted by the development of facilities such as Perry World House and Pennovation Works. 

“I am truly humbled and honored to have this deeply meaningful space bear my name,” Gutmann told Penn Today. “Its community-friendly design, its Quaker kitchen, and its wide-ranging student-centered offerings are incredibly appealing. Above all, there will always be a special place in my heart for the diverse and brilliant community of students who now call—and for generations will call—this College House their home.” 

Administration Desk Editor Jared Mitovich contributed reporting.