Honored scholar

On May 16, Columbia University will present Penn President Amy Gutmann with an honorary laws degree during its 258th commencement exercises in New York City. In announcing Gutmann as a 2012 honorary degree recipient, Columbia lauded her as “a national leader in facilitating greater access to higher education.”

As part of the Penn Compact—Gutmann’s vision for making Penn a global leader in teaching, research, professional practice, and local and global engagement—she developed a no-loan guarantee for undergraduates that has become a national model, significantly expanding opportunities for low- and middle-income students.

As Penn’s president, Gutmann continues to be an active scholar, publishing her 16th book, “The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It,” with co-author Dennis Thompson, this month (see related story, Page 1). In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed her chair of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, and she serves on the boards of the Carnegie Corporation, the National Constitution Center, and the Vanguard Group.