Penn Announces Launch of President’s Engagement Prizes

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann today announced the launch of the President’s Engagement Prizes, competitively awarded annual prizes for Penn seniors to design and undertake fully funded local, national or global engagement projects during the first year after they graduate.

As many as three prize recipients –- preferably one each for local, national and global engagement –- will receive $50,000 for living expenses and up to $100,000 for project-implementation expenses. 

“The President’s Engagement Prizes are unique in higher education,” Gutmann said. “These prizes invite students to think creatively, on a large scale, about the meaning of engagement. In doing so, our graduates will have the opportunity to do well by doing good and make a profound difference in people’s lives locally, nationally and around the globe. Penn is deeply committed to maximizing its social impact by helping people to lead healthy, inspired and productive lives, and these prizes give our students a chance to build on that important tradition.”

The President’s Engagement Prizes are the newest addition to the Penn Compact 2020 Presidential Initiatives, which include a comprehensive effort to raise an additional $240 million for the endowment to support undergraduate financial aid, as well as the new President’s Distinguished Professorship Fund to support up to 50 new endowed professorships during the next four years. 

The President’s Engagement Prizes will help advance the strategic priorities of the Penn Compact 2020 to engage locally, nationally and globally by delivering the benefit of Penn's research, teaching and service to people and communities at home and around the world.

Penn students have already conducted many self-initiated engagement projects, ranging from creating an institutional food recovery program to aid local Philadelphia food banks, to a public-policy initiative to reduce Medicaid expenses and improve patient health, to empowering youth in Southern Sudan. The scope and scale of President’s Engagement Prize projects will enable Penn students to continue such projects after graduating. 

Beginning in the fall of 2014, any graduating senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Nursing or Wharton School who will receive an undergraduate degree in December 2014, May 2015 or August 2015 will be eligible to apply for the inaugural Presidential Engagement Prizes through a proposal process administered by the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. Details of the application process are available on the CURF website.

The inaugural President’s Engagement Prizes will be awarded in March 2015.

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