President Gutmann

Words of welcome from Penn’s faculty, students, administration and staff, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, learned societies, and institutions of higher education.

Charles W. Mooney, Jr., chair of the Faculty Senate
Jason A. Levine, chair of the Undergraduate Assembly
Simi R. Wilhelm, chair of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly
Rodney V. Robinson, chair of the Penn Professional Staff Assembly
Sylvia M. Beauvais, chair of the Weekly Paid Professional Staff Assembly
Edward G. Rendell, Governor, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Paul Williams, President, Penn Alumni
Frank H.T. Rhodes, President, American Philosophical Society
Neil L. Rudenstine, Chair of the Board, ARTstor and President Emeritus, Harvard University
Shirley M. Tilghman, President, Princeton University


Charles W. Mooney, Jr., chair of the Faculty Senate

Greetings from the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania.

We are delighted to welcome Amy Gutmann to Penn.

The selection of Dr. Gutmann as president fulfilled our greatest hopes. She brings to Penn impeccable credentials as a preeminent scholar and outstanding administrator. And she has the vision and energy to lead us forward.

The past decade has witnessed enormous successes for the Penn community, including our University City neighbors. We look to the future with unflagging hope for continued success. But hope alone will not suffice. Treading water will move us nowhere, even backward.

Not to worry. Dr. Gutmann has challenged us to step up the pace. She has exhorted us to pursue our core missions of creating and disseminating knowledge that will make the world a better place. She has challenged us to stay the course of pursuing and preserving Penn’s unique position among the world’s great research universities. And she has challenged us to see that Penn plays an important role in fostering social justice and democratic institutions.

But as we pursue excellence and justice, we must always keep intellectual freedom ringing within the Penn community. We believe that vigorous debate and intellectual rigor thrive in an atmosphere of civility and respect for one another. As members of the diverse Penn community, we are entitled to express our views and, yes, even to be wrong.

Consider the following passage taken from Langston Hughes’ poem, “Democracy”:

Is a strong seed
In a great need.
I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you.

Dr. Gutmann, you have challenged us to rise to the challenges of a diverse democracy. We the Penn faculty accept your challenges. We accept them gladly. And we especially look forward to meeting them with you as our colleague. Welcome to Penn.


Jason A. Levine, chair of the Undergraduate Assembly

On behalf of Penn’s undergraduate students, I am honored to welcome Dr. Amy Gutmann to this great university. As students, we wanted a president who is renowned not only as a scholar, but also as a leader and a motivator. We found all of this in Dr. Gutmann. She has developed a powerful vision about the contribution that universities can make to society and democracy. I have met so many students who already feel a special connection with Dr. Gutmann through her writings.

As a leader, Dr. Gutmann brings new energy, optimism, and inspiration to Penn. Her Inaugural theme, “Rising to the Challenges of a Diverse Democracy,” recognizes many issues that we face today. In the short time she has been here, Dr. Gutmann has motivated students to take on ambitious intellectual pursuits and serve in the community.

She has already shown her willingness to work with students and listen to their opinions. Her warm smile encourages all of us to speak freely. Dr. Gutmann, we undergraduates look forward to working with you, learning from you, and thriving together. And when we beat Princeton, perhaps we can coax you into helping us tear down the goalpost. Just kidding.

The undergraduate community welcomes you wholeheartedly, and we wish you health and happiness in your new post as president of the University of Pennsylvania.


Simi R. Wilhelm, chair of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly

On behalf of graduate and professional students across the University of Pennsylvania, I would like to officially extend a collective and warm welcome to our eighth president, Dr. Amy Gutmann.

As the next generation of scholars and professionals, we need a president who understands the appropriate marriage of practical and classical instruction; we need a leader who can champion a vision for common academic values across professions and disciplines; we need a colleague who can relate to the hours we pore over our experiments, case studies, and journal articles; and perhaps most importantly, we need a president who provides a strong role model both as a scholar and as a professional institutional leader.

We are celebrating today because in Amy Gutmann, we have just that president.

Dr. Gutmann has embraced Penn’s dual commitment to liberal and practical education. Her vision for democratic education speaks to all of us and her distinguished scholarly works inspire us to push the boundaries of our own disciplines. In addition she exudes boundless energy and excitement for this institution and our role in its eminent future.

Lucky us and lucky Penn!

Dr. Gutmann, on behalf of over 11,000 graduate students who represent new friends and colleagues, I welcome you to your new institutional and scholarly home. Thank you for your commitment to preparing us for future positions in which we can honor our Penn legacy and for providing an elegant example of how to fulfill it.


Rodney V. Robinson, chair of the Penn Professional Staff Assembly

On behalf of the administrative and professional staff, I am honored to officially welcome you, Dr Gutmann, to our extraordinary Penn family.

As you have learned from Professor Mooney, Jason, and Simi, our faculty are world-renowned, and our students the best and brightest anywhere. You have also discovered that the dedicated men and women who support the teaching and research mission of this institution daily are truly remarkable and among the finest in higher education.

Dr. Gutmann, we are grateful that you have taken the time to get to know us. Encouraged by your vote of confidence in us, we have rallied to your call to lead Penn to new heights of excellence. You can count on our expertise and support to make your vision for Penn a reality. Dr. Gutmann, the administrative and professional staff is ready to roll!


Sylvia M. Beauvais, chair of the Weekly Paid Professional Staff Assembly

The Penn weekly paid professional staff joyfully welcomes the arrival of Dr. Amy Gutmann. The inauguration of a president is an occasion for the entire Penn community to renew and rededicate ourselves to our common purpose. Under Amy Gutmann’s leadership, all the engaged participants in University life—the students, the faculty, and the staff—can seek new ways to make this institution a world-class leader in teaching and research. Dr. Gutmann will lead us in creating a compassionate community that fully embodies the democratic values of deliberation and respectful exchanges at every level. The staff embraces President Gutmann, and we are thrilled that an outstanding scholar of deliberative democracy has been chosen to shape the campus culture into the 21st century.


Edward G. Rendell, Governor, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Good morning everyone. When I applied to the University of Pennsylvania in 1961, the fact that Penn was located in a large urban center was not looked at as a plus, it was looked at as a negative. Why do you want to go there with all the problems of the city? Why don’t you want to go to a pristine atmosphere where you can study and not worry about all the attendant things that come from urban life in the early ’60s?

Well the world has changed and those changes have been reflected in many places, and Philadelphia is one of them, and now it is a tremendous advantage, in my opinion, to go to college on an urban campus. The urban centers are truly a laboratory for all the challenges that face our democracy. Those challenges are great. Perhaps never in our lifetime have many of those challenges been more acute. Over the last decade Penn has made enormous progress in helping the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania meet those challenges.

We have seen a level of renewed activism, renewed cooperation, and renewed concern about the challenges that exist beyond the walls of ivy. And when we learned that Dr. Rodin was leaving many of us thought, “Oh my gosh, are we going to go back?” You don’t have to spend more than five minutes with Dr. Gutmann to know we’re not going back, we’re going forward at warp speed.

You know I’ve always been described as someone with boundless passion and boundless energy and I find that often to be the case, although I do get tired. And after spending my first substantive meeting with Dr. Gutmann, I was tired, I was tired. My energy and my passion was out-stripped in a few short moments. But it’s wonderful to see that, because if you look at the resources that we as a city, and we as a state, and we as a nation have, to meet the difficult challenges it’s never been more difficult.

How do we address the rising costs of health care at a time when people are living longer and longer lives? How do we deal with the challenges of the new economy which inevitably involves transition, but these are human beings you are transitioning out? How do we meet the challenges that technology and science are putting upon us? And when you look at our resources to meet those challenges, great universities—and I am proud to say this is among the very greatest—are our strongest assets. But only if they are led by leaders who have vision, compassion and who care about making these universities even more drivers of economic progress, of social progress, and of progress that will restore civility, decency, and quality of life for all of us as Americans. And for this challenge—this challenge that will culminate I think in many intense and focused ways on the morning of November 3rd—we couldn’t have a better leader for the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Gutmann, congratulations to you and congratulations to all of us for the great things that this University has accomplished over the last decade, will continue, grow, and will be more of a driving force in helping us meet those challenges.


Paul Williams, President, Penn Alumni

Good morning and greetings to all!

Dr. Gutmann—President Gutmann—it is an honor for me to welcome you on behalf of the Penn Alumni here today, as well as over 250,000 Penn alumni worldwide, who are here in spirit.

This morning Penn alumni enthusiastically join with the entire University community to express their love of Penn and their shared aspirations for its future.

All Penn alumni take enormous pride in the University’s recent accomplishments and the momentum and energy that abound everywhere on campus. And with great expectations we join you (President Gutmann) to begin a new chapter in Penn’s history.

Celebrating your inauguration provides a unique moment for all to reflect on our heritage and the profound contribution Penn has made to our lives and to the society at large. Today, we reaffirm our most deeply held values and goals, and then we look boldly to the future.

Penn is a great University, in no small measure because of the support of innumerable alumni across the globe and those who teach and work here.

We appreciate your recognition of the strategic role loyal Penn alumni may play in the task of bringing Penn to the next levels of achievement. We are excited by the prospect of working together with you to enhance the sense of alumni community and increase the breadth of involvement and support. We seek to advance the credo of life-long learning and connection with Penn as our intellectual home. We are inspired by your commitment to foster mutual respect and civility and celebrate diversity in every domain of the University.

While the ambitions and goals we express are perennial, the force of time and circumstance demands a new articulation—a new vision to guide us going forward. President Gutmann, thank you for accepting that mission. Thank you for embracing that pragmatic, inventive spirit that is so uniquely Penn. May your leadership in the coming years prove most fruitful, and for this most important endeavor, it is my privilege to pledge the support of Penn Alumni—all 250,000 of us—and growing. Proudly, we cheer you on!


Frank H.T. Rhodes, President, American Philosophical Society

On behalf of the nation’s learned societies, I am pleased to offer congratulations to Amy Gutmann on her inauguration as the University of Pennsylvania’s eighth president, and to commend the University of Pennsylvania on its choice.

Amy Gutmann is the ideal leader for Penn in the 21st century. She is a distinguished scholar known the world over for her work in the fields of political philosophy, ethics, and human values. She has been widely recognized for her research, teaching, and writing on ethnic and cultural pluralism, and I am pleased to note, as the representative of the learned societies at these festivities, that Amy Gutmann is one of us. She is a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education. She is also a W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and president of the American Society of Political and Legal Philosophy. I take her active involvement in these scholarly groups as a very good omen for the future of the learned societies and for the future of Penn.

For more than 250 years, the nation’s learned societies and the nation’s universities have been partners in the search for knowledge and in its dissemination. That is especially true for the University of Pennsylvania and for the American Philosophical Society, which I have the privilege to serve as president. Penn and APS both emerged from the fertile mind of Philadelphia’s “first citizen,” Benjamin Franklin, the tercentenary of whose birth Philadelphia will be celebrating in 2006. Both embodied Franklin’s practical, non-sectarian philosophy and his belief that education should contribute to “the common stock of knowledge” as well as to the cultivation of the “finer arts.” And both benefited from his leadership and direct involvement over many years. In fact, early in its history, the American Philosophical Society provided space to the University of Pennsylvania in Philosophical Hall; today there continues to be mutual dependence between the learned societies and the major universities of the world.

Here at the University of Pennsylvania, Franklin sowed the seeds for what has become the basis for a liberal education all across America. He envisioned a college that would teach “ornamental knowledge” and practical skills; that would prepare students not just for the clergy, but also for productive personal and professional lives across a wide spectrum of fields. And in both the learned society and the University, Franklin helped foster an international outlook. He himself had lived abroad at several stages of his life. He was a member of the Royal Society of London and many literary and scholarly societies on the continent. Several of the early members of the APS were foreigners, including Lafayette, Von Steuben, and Kosciusko. And that spirit of international inclusiveness infused his University, too.

It is wonderful to see at Penn a true commitment to preparing faculty and students for a world of growing global interdependence. And to note that the commitment to nurturing a global perspective is poised to increase dramatically under Amy Gutmann’s leadership. Her vision for Penn, as reflected in this afternoon’s symposia, speaks both to the core values of democratic societies and to the diversity of ways in which they are expressed around the world.

To quote Ben Franklin: “Either write things worthy of reading or do things worth the writing.” I predict that we can look forward to great accomplishments in both those spheres from Amy Gutmann. On behalf of the learned societies, I am privileged to convey congratulations to her and to the University of Pennsylvania and to wish them both good success.


Neil L. Rudenstine, Chair of the Board, ARTstor and President Emeritus, Harvard University

It is a great pleasure and honor to be here with you, to offer greetings and congratulations on behalf of higher education in this country and abroad.

More personally, I am happy to be able to speak at a university founded during the age of the Enlightenment, when Scottish Anglicans, English Quakers, and American Deists gathered together harmoniously to create this institution, which began as a fragile charity school, transformed itself into a burgeoning college, and then dashed ahead outflanking everyone else—to become, in exactly 39 years, the first seat of higher learning in America to be called a University.

Because of your Enlightenment founders, you chose to cultivate the liberal arts, the advancement of science, and—most originally—the beginning of serious study in the major professions (nearly a century before others followed your lead).

These ambitious commitments involved, from the very start, an unequivocal dedication to free inquiry, free expression, and the free publication of a multiplicity of ideas and opinions. Much as you respected religious conviction, you also made a bold proclamation of non-sectarianism, and stated that you did not intend to become—like so many other colleges—a training ground for the ministry.

In charting this course, you may actually have succeeded more extravagantly than you expected. Before long, there were four times as many publishers and printers in Philadelphia, freely circulating disconcerting ideas, as there were ministers. And your commitment to the arts and sciences swelled the ranks and quickened the exponential expansion in the number of learned institutions that made Philadelphia the most intellectually conversable city in America: institutions that ranged from the Athenaeum and the American Philosophical Society, to the Academy of Natural Sciences, and an already stunning symphony orchestra that consisted, astonishingly, of 120 musicians who apparently all played simultaneously as well as melodiously.

Because the two universities where I have spent most of the last half-century were established by unappeasable Puritans, who were inclined to cast a cold eye on virtually all the fine arts, and certainly on any potentially wayward philosophical musings; and because every time Princeton chose a Jonathan Edwards as President, Harvard would call in a cheerless Cotton Mather; and since the prevailing gloom that shrouded both of these colleges made conventional run-of-the-mill Calvinists seem positively effusive, if not hopelessly frivolous; you can perhaps understand what a revelation it is for me to stand in the very center of an institution that did not require a century or two of protracted excruciation in order to emerge into the bright daylight that Benjamin Franklin and his colleagues obviously took so easily for granted as part of their natural birthright.

In short, the University of Pennsylvania was able to create—very swiftly—a new conception of higher education on this continent: one that was more daring in its intellectual openness and its reach, with an extensive and adventurous curriculum that was as modern as it was classical; and an approach to education that was concerned to encourage the practical application of knowledge for the public good, as well as to pursue the discovery of significant new knowledge, irrespective of any obvious utility that it might have. Finally, you were more directly engaged with the creative, cultural, and enterprising life of your city than any other American college or university—something that enabled both town and gown together to be distinctively and beneficently urbane, rather than simply urban.

For all that you have accomplished, the rest of us are here, not only to bring greetings, but also to say how much we are in your debt.

The most recent of all your clairvoyant deeds has been, of course, the selection of your new president. You have chosen not only wisely and well, but brilliantly. It would be hard for anyone to match the extraordinary record of Judith Rodin—but, fortunately, there is no need for competition in such matters.

In President Amy Gutmann, however, you have found someone who combines penetrating analytic ability, decisiveness with firmness, and a capacity for strong and clear-sighted leadership.

You have also chosen a person who motivates and energizes others, bringing them together in a common enterprise, and doing so with vivacity, resilience, great human warmth, and deeply humane values.

Ethel Merman was once asked what she thought of another performer, and promptly replied: “She’s OK, if you like talent.” Merman, of course, was not merely talented—she was a show-stopper. Congratulations for having selected, as your next president, someone who will be a leader for all of higher education, and who is also—unambiguously—a show-stopper.


Shirley M. Tilghman, President, Princeton University

It is truly an honor for me to extend to Amy Gutmann the greetings of her fellow college and university presidents as she formally takes the helm of the University of Pennsylvania. We are delighted that this venerable institution, whose founder, Benjamin Franklin, is synonymous with intellectual curiosity, has had the wisdom to entrust its presidency to a scholar, teacher, and leader of Amy Gutmann’s stature.

Of course, this occasion is also a true test of my character. For after all, we gather to celebrate Penn’s gain at Princeton’s expense, a circumstance that we Tigers try hard to avoid on every other occasion, and most particularly at the Palestra. To all of us who had the great good fortune to work with her over the past 28 years, Amy Gutmann will always be a true daughter of Princeton, even though her colors are now red and blue.

Amy Gutmann’s qualities of mind and heart—her sense of fairness and commitment to excellence—are ideally suited to the challenges that Penn, and indeed all universities and colleges, will face in the coming years. Let me highlight just two of these. The future vitality of this country depends upon the doors of our institutions of learning being held wide open for every qualified student, irrespective of their ethnic background or their family’s economic circumstances. This country faces a paradox in education: we have arguably the finest system of higher education in the world, but we are hampered by a K-12 system that is failing far too many students, particularly in poor inner-city neighborhoods and rural areas. Attending an institution like the University of Pennsylvania is one of the few ways in which a student from a disadvantaged background can achieve social mobility in our democracy—but we know from experience that such opportunities will not be available unless educational leaders are committed to the principles of equal opportunity. Amy Gutmann’s deep understanding of this central issue of our time grows out of her lifelong scholarship on identity and the value of multicultural education.

Universities must also be champions for the free exchange of ideas and independent inquiry in a democracy. That principle lies at the very heart of what we mean when we speak of academic freedom. At a time when our nation struggles to strike the right balance between preserving the civil rights of the individual and the collective right of the population to be secure, our colleges and universities need to be places where those difficult debates, and others like them, can be conducted in a climate of civility and mutual respect. We must teach a new generation of students how to take part in civil discourse dispassionately and with due respect for the facts and the convictions of others. As a brilliant political theorist and moral philosopher, Amy Gutmann has written compellingly on the subjects of freedom of association, human rights, and the value of deliberative democracy. As a powerful teacher, she has led a generation of students to becoming informed and effective citizens.

If Penn is blessed in its choice of president, Amy Gutmann is equally fortunate to be joining a university that has long embodied educational principles that she has studied and articulated, principles that have helped to define the character of higher education in America since pre-revolutionary times. She can draw inspiration from Penn’s motto: Leges sine moribus vanae—“laws without morals are useless”—and from the vision of Penn’s extraordinary founder. In his Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania, published in 1749, Benjamin Franklin argued that students should be brought to see that “true Merit” consists of “an Inclination join’d with an Ability to serve Mankind, one’s country, Friends and Family.” Penn’s commitment to service, to the ethical pursuit of knowledge, and to an inclusive definition of education, both in terms of subjects offered and persons taught, will ensure that Amy Gutmann and the community that welcomes her today will form a strong and fruitful partnership for many years to come. Penn is a great university, and Amy Gutmann will give new substance and expression to this greatness. If ever a marriage were made in heaven, I like to think that this is it.

2004 The Pennsylvania Gazette
Last modified 10/29/04

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A Marriage “Meant to Be”
Amy Gutmann Inaugurated
as Penn's Eighth President

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Greetings, President Gutmann
Words of welcome from Penn’s faculty, students, administration and staff, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, learned societies, and institutions of higher education.

Inaugural Speech:
From Excellence to Eminence

Rising to the Challenges
of a Diverse Democracy