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Amy Gutmann

For the novelist see Amy Gutman

Amy Gutmann (born November 19, 1949) is the 8th President of the University of Pennsylvania and the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science. She is also a political theorist who taught at Princeton University from 1976 to 2004 and served as its Provost.

Upon succeeding former University of Pennsylvania president Judith Rodin, Gutmann became the first female president to succeed a female president of an Ivy League university. In her inaugural address, she launched the Penn Compact, her vision for making Penn both a global leader in teaching, research, and professional practice, and a dynamic agent of social, economic, and civic progress. The Compact articulates three central strategic goals: increasing access for the very best students of all backgrounds, regardless of economic means; recruiting and retaining the very best faculty members, who will integrate knowledge across multiple disciplines; and magnifying Penn’s intellectual and institutional impact throughout the Philadelphia region, the United States, and the world.

She serves on the board of directors of the Vanguard Group, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Schuylkill River Development Corporation. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution. In 2005, Gutmann was appointed to the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, a committee that advises the FBI on national security issues relating to academia.

Since arriving at Penn, she has spearheaded a major campus development plan, Penn Connects, that includes 24 acres that Penn purchased from the U.S. Postal Service along the Schuylkill River. Penn Connects is designed to boost the economic, educational and social capacity of Philadelphia and to create seamless gateways between West Philadelphia and Center City across the Schuylkill River.

Gutmann has also become a leading national advocate for financial aid based on need to promote socioeconomic diversity in higher education. Gutmann made Penn one of the handful of universities in the country that substitute grants for loans for students from economically disadvantaged families earning less than $60,000 a year. In addition, Gutmann recently announced a new financial aid initiative that will eliminate loans for financially eligible undergraduate students regardless of family income, making it possible for students from a broad range of economic backgrounds to graduate debt-free. This new program will begin in September 2008, and include all eligible undergraduates, not just entering freshmen. Effective that year, students with calculated family incomes under $100,000 will receive loan-free aid packages, while families above that level will receive a 10 percent reduction in need-based loans. By fall 2009, all undergraduate students eligible for financial aid will receive loan-free aid packages, regardless of family income level.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, to Jewish parents Kurt and Beatrice Gutmann, Amy Gutmann was raised in Monroe, New York. Her father had fled Nazi Germany in 1934 as a college student and brought his entire family – including four siblings -- to join him first in Bombay, India, and in the United States after World War II. She is married to Michael Doyle, a Professor of Law and International Affairs at Columbia University. They have one daughter, Abigail, who is a Ph.D. student in chemistry at Harvard and was recently hired as an assistant professor of chemistry at Princeton University.


Gutmann graduated as class valedictorian from Monroe-Woodbury High School, before entering Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1967 with sophomore standing on a scholarship. She received a B.A. (magna cum laude) from Radcliffe College in 1971, a M.Sc. in Political Science from the London School of Economics in 1972, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard in 1976.


Through her writings, Gutmann has consistently sought to bridge theory and policy to advance the core values of a civil democratic society: liberty, opportunity and mutual respect. Her first major contribution to political philosophy was her book Democratic Education (1987; revised 1999). The book addresses the central questions in the political theory of education: How should a democratic society make decisions about education? What should children be taught? How should citizens be educated?

The book also takes on some contemporary scholarly debates: What is the appropriate response of democratic education to the challenge of multiculturalism? Should schools try to cultivate patriotic or cosmopolitan sentiments among students?

Gutmann’s second major contribution to political philosophy is a theory of deliberative democracy that she developed in collaboration with Harvard political scientist Dennis Thompson. Democracy and Disagreement (1996) calls for more reasoned argument in everyday politics. Deliberation can inform decision making through reasoned argument, and develop society’s collective capacity to pursue justice while finding mutually acceptable terms of social cooperation – even when disagreements persist.

Democracy and Disagreement has been both praised as an effective remedy for polarized politics and criticized as impractical. A collection of pro and con essays was published in Deliberative Politics, edited by Stephen Macedo.

Gutmann’s third major contribution to political philosophy is her analysis of group identity and its intersection with justice. In Identity in Democracy (2003), Gutmann argues that identity groups as such are neither friends nor enemies of democratic justice. She analyzes the legitimate but also problematic parts played by group identity in democratic politics and draws distinctions among the good, the bad, and the ugly of identity group politics.

Selected Works

Why Deliberative Democracy? with Dennis Thompson, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J., 2004

Identity in Democracy, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J., 2003

Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race, with Anthony Appiah, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996

Democracy and Disagreement, with Dennis Thompson, Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996

Democratic Disagreement (a collection of essays on Democracy and Disagreement with a response by the authors), edited by Stephen Macedo, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1999

Democratic Education, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1987

· New edition with Preface and Epilogue, 1999

Liberal Equality, New York and London: Cambridge University Press, 1980

Ethics and Politics: Cases and Comments, with Dennis Thompson, Chicago, Ill.: Nelson-Hall, 1984

· Third edition, 1997

· Fourth edition 2005

Freedom of Association, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1998 [editor and first chapter]

Human Rights [title essay by Michael Ignatieff], Princeton University Press, 2001 [editor and introduction]

Goodness and Advice [title essay by Judith Jarvis Thomson], Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2001 [editor and introduction]

The Lives of Animals [title essay by J. M. Coetzee], Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999 [editor and introduction]

Work and Welfare [title essay by Robert Solow], Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1998 [editor and introduction]

A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law [title essay by Antonin Scalia], Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997 [editor and introduction]

Multiculturalism and The Politics of Recognition [title essay by Charles Taylor], Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992 [editor and introduction]

· Expanded paperback edition: Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, 1994

Democracy and the Welfare State, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1988 [editor]

Awards and Honors

Alumnae Recognition Award from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard for her outstanding contributions to liberal arts education, 2006

Centennial Medal by Harvard University for "graduate alumni who have made exceptional contributions to society,” 2003

Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree, University of Rochester, 2005

Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree, Wesleyan University, 2005

Member, American Philosophical Society, 2005-

W. E. B. Du Bois Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 2001-

Fellow, National Academy of Education, 1999-

Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1997-

Ralph J. Bunche Award of the American Political Science Association, 1997

North American Society for Social Philosophy Book Award, 1996-97

Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America Award, 1997

Tanner Lecturer in Human Values, Stanford University, 1994-95

Honorary Doctor of Law Degree, Kalamazoo College, 1992


Former Dissertation Advisees, now Political Theory/Political Science Professionals (partial list):

Paul Bou-Habib (University of Essex)

Corey Brettschneider (Brown)

Wendy Brown (Berkeley)

Suzanne Dovi (Arizona)

Denise Dutton (Missouri State)

Judith Failer (Indiana)

Hawley Fogg-Davis (Temple)

John Holzwarth (Lewis & Clark)

David Johnston (Columbia)

Jacob T. Levy (McGill)

Stephen Macedo (Princeton)

Marilyn McMorrow (Georgetown)

Pratap Mehta (New Delhi, India)

Jason Scorza (Fairleigh Dickinson)

Marion Smiley (Brandeis)

Joan Tronto (Hunter)

Alex Tuckness (Iowa State)

Stuart White (Oxford)




  • Smallwood, Scott & Birchard, Karen "Women at the Top". Chronicle of Higher Education 47 (45): A7.

External links

Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science

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