‘United by a common good’

President Amy Gutmann discusses the three R’s—resourcefulness, resilience, and responsiveness—which are guiding the University through such trying times.

In a new video message, President Amy Gutmann described how quickly and how selflessly the Penn community has adapted for the common good.

“I am so proud,” said Gutmann. “It takes grit and courage to run toward challenges rather than away, to set aside how we’ve always done things in order to do the most good for others.” 

It has been nearly two months since Gutmann first dubbed this unprecedented time as a “generation-defining moment.” 

“And like every such moment that has gone before, it is not only the crisis itself but also how we respond that matters most,” she explained.

Ever since, Penn, and its extraordinary community, has completely transformed. The health system has upended itself, radically increasing emergency capacity to save as many lives as possible, and more than 4,000 courses have moved online, being accessed by Penn students worldwide.

Students have gotten innovative to stay connected—while apart—too, like when they recreated campus in Minecraft, and Penn researchers continue to amaze by working diligently to solve the many scientific mysteries of the virus.

Reflecting on these circumstances, Gutmann, in her most recent message, noted three principles, the three R’s, which have helped guide her as well as the University: resourcefulness, resilience, and responsiveness.

“Penn people are resourceful, they’re ensuring public health, supporting frontline health care professionals, and deploying our resources to meet both the demands of the hour and the future,” she said. “Penn people are resilient, teaching and learning online, while physically apart, finding new ways of being more connected, and conducting life-saving research under the strictest protocols and the greatest time pressure.”

Above all, she continued, “We are responsive, caring for patients, caregivers, workers, and community partners whose lives and livelihoods are at risk, while at the same time supporting the needs of our amazing students.”

Everyone at Penn has pivoted from their immediate priorities to serve the greater good, Gutmann concluded. With the three R’s, she assured those watching, “We will get through this—with flying red and blue colors—together.”