On Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new data science building and unveiled its official name, Amy Gutmann Hall, honoring Penn’s President. Amy Gutmann is the eighth and longest-serving President in Penn’s history; leading the University since 2004, her term will conclude at the end of this academic year.
Harlan M. Stone, University trustee and Penn Engineering advisor, made a $25 million commitment in 2019—the largest gift in Penn Engineering’s history—to support the construction of the building during the School’s The Power of Penn Engineering: Inventing the Future Campaign. Stone, in consultation with the University, chose to name the building in honor of Gutmann’s extraordinary vision and leadership.
“Penn has been part of my family since my father, Norman, first arrived on campus in the fall of 1948, and it continues to be an important part of our family today. Even more important to all of us is the broader impact Penn has had on Philadelphia, the nation, and the world,” said Stone. “We have witnessed a transformation under Amy Gutmann that is truly astonishing, as her vision and leadership has created so much opportunity for so many. This building is all about realizing and seizing opportunities. We are now able to properly honor Amy’s remarkable work by naming this building Amy Gutmann Hall. May the new discoveries and innovation achieved within these halls echo for all to hear of Amy’s courageous leadership.”
“I am incredibly humbled by Harlan Stone’s decision to name this remarkable new building in my honor,” said Gutmann. “This leading-edge facility will have such a monumental impact on the future of data science at Penn. I look forward to the innovative and revolutionary research that will be conducted in this space, and ultimately benefit society. Harlan’s altruism is extraordinary, and I will be eternally grateful for this tremendous honor.”
Amy Gutmann Hall will serve as a hub for cross-disciplinary collaborations that harness expertise, research, and data across Penn’s 12 schools and numerous academic centers. Upon completion, it will centralize resources that will advance the work of scholars across a wide variety of fields while making the tools and concepts of data analysis more accessible to the entire Penn community.
“I am thrilled Penn Engineering’s new data science building will honor Dr. Gutmann’s remarkable legacy at Penn,” said Vijay Kumar, Penn Engineering Nemirovsky Family Dean. “Her Penn Compact and the principles of inclusion, innovation, and impact influenced the School’s strategic priorities from which the plan for a data science building emerged. This revolutionary new facility will create a centralized home for data science research and provide collaborative and accessible space for our faculty and students, as well as the Philadelphia community.”
The 116,000-square-foot, six-floor building will be located at the northeast corner of 34th and Chestnut Streets. Planned academic features include a data science hub, the translational and outreach arm of the School in the area of data science and artificial intelligence; research centers for new socially aware data science methodologies and novel, bio-inspired paradigms for computing; and laboratories that will develop data-driven, innovative approaches for safer and more cost-effective health care.
The impressive building is the design of executive architects Lake|Flato, with KSS Architects serving as associate architects. The building architecture will denote the future and the dynamic shift from the traditional to the digital. The facility is planned to be the first mass timber building in Philadelphia and will focus on sustainable design.
Construction will begin in spring 2022 and is slated for completion in 2024.