The award recognizes presidents and chancellors who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in undergraduate education, both teaching and research; the development of major interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs that aim to bridge the gulf between the theoretical and the practical; focused university outreach to their local communities and cooperative efforts with business, education and civic leaders on initiatives such as K-12 school reform; and the expansion and improvement of international initiatives and global engagement.
“I am truly honored to be among the ranks of the distinguished current and past recipients of this award,” Gutmann said, “and I am especially proud to accept it on behalf of the eminent faculty, students and staff of Penn. It is especially meaningful to me that the award honors the legacy of Andrew Carnegie, a great Pennsylvanian, and a tireless advocate of the public’s right to knowledge. This Academic Leadership Award inspires all of us at Penn to continue pursuing our vision of providing world-class teaching, research and service with the goal of bettering the world.”
The other recipients of the 2009 Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award are Leon Botstein, president of Bard College; Scott Cowen, president of Tulane University; and William E. “Brit” Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland. The awards were announced in New York by Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York.
The Carnegie Corporation Board of Trustees honors these individuals with grants of $500,000 each to be used at the leader’s discretion toward his or her academic priorities at their institutions.
“These leaders each have an academic vision focused on a commitment to excellence,” Gregorian said. “They are first-rate educators and innovators who champion their students’ intellectual development and their schools’ opportunity and obligation to contribute to the growth of their local communities.”
Gregorian added that in perilous economic times, each has used their distinctive leadership skills to transform crisis to opportunity.
Gutmann launched the Penn Compact in 2004, when she became president of Penn. The Compact has enhanced Penn’s global leadership in teaching, research and professional service and has made Penn a dynamic agent of civic progress. It has propelled Penn forward in integrating knowledge, engaging locally and globally and increasing access.
Under Gutmann’s leadership, the Penn Integrates Knowledge Initiative has attracted the world’s finest teacher-scholars who hold joint appointments across Penn’s schools and who demonstrate exceptional achievement across disciplines. In addition, major University-wide initiatives have transformed West Philadelphia, where Penn is located, and made a significant difference in the nation and world.
Penn has had a dramatic effect on K-12 public education through school partnerships that create and foster high-achieving public schools, including collaborations between local elementary schools and Penn’s Graduate School of Education.
Gutmann, a political scientist and philosopher, has expanded Penn’s extensive service-learning and community-partnership initiatives: academically based community service courses have grown by 30 percent since 2004; and, at the 2008 ServiceNation Summit, Gutmann pledged that Penn will fund an additional 400 community service opportunities.
During Gutmann’s presidency, Penn took ownership of a large parcel of U.S. Postal Service land, which has become an important component of the University’s new campus master plan to increase green space by 20 percent, and Penn’s Climate Action Plan will further reduce the University’s carbon footprint.
In the global arena, Penn has established an ongoing partnership with Botswana to mitigate the devastating effects of HIV and AIDS.
Gutmann has championed equity in higher education, expanding Penn’s outreach efforts and dramatically expanding the university’s financial aid to make Penn fully affordable to students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Beginning this fall, all undergraduate students eligible for financial aid will receive grants rather than loans.
The Academic Leadership Award, established in 2005, is an investment in leadership by Carnegie Corporation that builds on the foundation's long tradition of developing and recognizing leadership in higher education.
Carnegie Corporation of New York was founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote “the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.”