Finding meaning amid misfortune

In an audio message, President Amy Gutmann urges the Penn community—from Camden to California, Canada to Kuala Lumpur—to make the very best of this new way of life.

spring on campus

In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, President Amy Gutmann knows the strength and determination of the Penn community, facing the crisis together, but also apart. In an audio message, Gutmann encourages students, faculty, and staff to stay positive during such unprecedented times—a lesson she learned from her mother. 

“These days bring back memories of when I was in high school and my father suddenly died. My life was split in two,” Gutmann says. “Everything that was comforting and good had come before. Now my life was uncertain and more than a little frightening. It hurt.”

But Gutmann’s mom found the means to make other lives better while calming the chaos that disrupted their own. “In the midst of misfortune, she found great meaning,” Gutmann explains.

In the midst of misfortune, Gutmann continues, “each of us can find meaning. Each of us has a calling.”

Gutmann’s full message can be listened to below.