Re: What do you believe?
Dr. Amy Gutmann became the eighth president of the University of Pennsylvania on July 1, 2004. In her inaugural address, Gutmann launched the Penn Compact, her vision for making Penn a global leader in teaching, research, and professional practice, as well as a dynamic agent of social, economic, and civic progress. The Compact focuses on increasing access for the most talented students regardless of socioeconomic background, recruiting and retaining eminent faculty who integrate knowledge across multiple disciplines, and making Penn a more powerful transformational force locally, nationally, and around the globe. In October 2007, Gutmann officially launched “Making History: The Campaign for Penn,” a five-year, $3.5 billion fundraising effort to support the University’s priorities of expanding undergraduate, graduate, and financial aid, strengthening faculty endowment, and creating the optimal environment for teaching, research, and student living. “Making History” is by far the largest fundraising effort in Penn’s history.
Gutmann serves on the Board of Directors of the Carnegie Corporation and the Vanguard Corporation, and on the Board of Trustees of the National Constitution Center. In 2005, she was appointed to the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, a committee that advises the FBI on national security issues relating to academia. Gutmann is a member of the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF), which convenes at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and is a member of the Asia Society’s Task Force on U.S. policy toward India. She also is among the leaders of a select group of presidents of research universities throughout the world who advise the U.N. Secretary General on a range of global issues, including academic freedom, mass migration, international development, and the social responsibilities of universities.
Amy Gutmann: I do have a personal philosophy. And I couldn’t describe it very briefly because that’s why I write books. My books are, in part, an extension of my personal philosophy. But if you emphasize the personal part of it, I can put it very briefly. I believe that every human being not only has a dignity, but has a mission to accomplish. And it’s not a pre-ordained mission. The reason we were given brains is we have to figure it out for ourselves. And we can’t figure it out once and for all. One of the people who inspired me, John Rawls, has written about a life plan. I don’t believe that everybody has a life plan. I believe that you have to seize opportunities. And you always have to know what your passions are, because you can’t do anything great without passion.
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