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Committing Penn to Increased Levels of Service
September 16, 2008 , Volume 55, No. 4

At last Friday’s ServiceNation Summit in New York City, University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann joined other college and university presidents in committing their institutions to increased national service.

The Summit was a gathering of some 500 national leaders from all sectors who came together to mobilize a campaign for a new era of service and civic engagement in which all Americans will work together to solve the country’s most persistent societal challenges.

“Penn’s founder Benjamin Franklin believed that the great aim of education in a democracy was to foster in students ‘an inclination joined with an ability to serve Mankind, one’s Country, Friends and Family,’” Dr. Gutmann said in her remarks at the luncheon. “Penn has a long and storied history in making service an essential part of our students’ educational experience.”

Dr. Gutmann also announced that during the next four years Penn will fund an additional 400 community-service opportunities for its students.

She cited Penn’s Fox Leadership Program, Civic House and the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships as examples of programs that “not only enable more than 40 percent of Penn’s 10,000 undergraduate students to engage in sustained service but also generate a ‘force multiplier’ effect. By strategically deploying our educational resources with the communities we serve, we expand the impact of our primary educational mission.

“We will continue to find new, innovative ways to cultivate our students’ inclination and ability to serve,” Dr. Gutmann said. “We will embed the ethos of civic engagement more deeply in the life of the University. And, by joining forces with our community partners, we will continue to inspire more students to become active, lifelong citizens and leaders of our diverse democracy.”

As president since 2004, Dr. Gutmann has identified local and global service as one of Penn’s priorities in the Penn Compact.

Almanac - September 16, 2008, Volume 55, No. 4