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President Gutmann's Vision

Have you ever dreamt of changing the world? 

At Penn, there’s a Prize for that.

Penn has been making the world a better place since the days of our founder, Benjamin Franklin.  The President’s Engagement Prizes are a new way to build on that legacy.  This is an unprecedented program that enables exceptional Penn students to put their knowledge to work for the betterment of humankind — starting as soon as they graduate.

This is a big prize because we are deeply committed to having Penn graduates do big things.  When I announced the Penn Compact 2020, one key goal was to encourage local, national, and global engagement.  The President’s Engagement Prizes maximize this effort.  We want all of our students, across all disciplines, to think about public service and take advantage of the opportunity to do well by doing good.  These prizes give our students the opportunity to jump start their professional lives by working to transform the lives of others.                             

At Penn, we engage our students.  In turn, we expect our graduates to engage with the world.  These prizes are a measure of how seriously Penn takes public service.  Franklin was often fond of saying that well done is better than well said.  The President’s Engagement Prizes provide a tangible opportunity for our graduates to “do well.”  Penn’s tradition of using knowledge as a force for good in the world is as firmly established as the University itself.  These prizes take this long-held tradition one step further by rewarding students who demonstrate a purpose-driven desire to get out and make a difference — in their community, across the country, and around the world.

Amy Gutmann

  • Amy Gutmann Portrait
About the Prizes

The President’s Engagement Prizes are competitively awarded annually to academically excellent and civically engaged Penn seniors to design and undertake fully-funded local, national, or global engagement projects during the first year after they graduate from Penn.

Each project winner will receive up to $100,000 in project implementation expenses, as well as $50,000 in living expenses.  These prizes are one-of-a-kind in higher education.  They exemplify Penn’s commitment, under the Penn Compact 2020, to engaging locally, nationally, and globally for the benefit of society.

The Prizes would not be possible without the generous support of Emerita Trustee Judith Bollinger, WG’81, and William G. Bollinger, in honor of Ed Resovsky, C’65; Trustee Lee Spelman Doty, W’76, and George E. Doty, Jr., WG’76; Emeritus Trustee James S. Riepe, W’65WG’67HON’10, and Gail Petty Riepe, CW’68; Trustee David Ertel, W’87WG’88, and Beth Seidenberg Ertel, W’88WG’92; Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation; and an Anonymous donor.