Amy Gutmann’s ambassadorial appointment, the latest connection between President Biden and Penn

President Joe Biden received his undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and his law degree from Syracuse University. But you could say that the educational institution he has become most affiliated with, at least in recent years, is the University of Pennsylvania.

These ties only strengthened on Friday when he appointed Penn President Amy Gutmann become the next US Ambassador to Germany.

Gutmann is Biden’s first ambassadorial appointment to a Group of Seven nation, according to the Associated Press. She would be the first woman to serve as a U.S. Ambassador to Germany if confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Senate hearings on Gutmann’s appointment have not yet been scheduled.

When Biden won the presidency last November, rumors circulated that Gutmann could be in the running for a role in its administration, potentially as secretary of education. His qualifications and ties to the university have sparked speculation.

In 2017, the university opened the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington. The center, which continued during Biden’s presidency, focused on diplomacy, foreign policy and national security.

Gutmann, who oversaw the establishment of the center, previously called Biden “one of the greatest statesmen of our time” and credited him for “his unparalleled understanding of diplomacy and his deep understanding of global issues. “.

“In [Biden’s] A distinguished career serving our nation, he has demonstrated a unique ability to bring people together across divisions and to craft constructive responses to some of the most difficult and important political challenges of our time, ”said Gutmann in 2017.

Prior to running for president, Biden was Honorary Professor of Presidential Practice Benjamin Franklin at the university. He was based in Washington, but kept an office on the main campus. Biden also had joint appointments to the Annenberg School for Communication and the School of Arts and Sciences, as well as a secondary affiliation with the Wharton School.

Biden’s connection with Penn started on a personal level. Her late son Beau and daughter Ashley each graduated from the Ivy League school. His granddaughter Naomi too.

In 2013, Biden delivered the university’s opening address and received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Three years later, Biden deployed his “Cancer Moonshot” program at the university’s Abramson Cancer Center.

Gutmann has welcomed Biden to campus on several occasions as a guest speaker. On one occasion, she invited Biden and former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush to participate in an immigration forum, where they were asked to find a compromise on the matter. Like Biden, Gutmann emphasized the importance of compromise, making the focus of one of his 17 books.

Gutmann, 71, who became Penn’s eighth president in 2004, will remain in his post until the confirmation hearings begin. His contract expires in June 2022.

“I cannot stress enough that it is a significant and extraordinary honor to be appointed by the President for this important post in the service of our country,” said Gutmann. said in a press release out on friday.

“As the daughter of a German Jewish refugee, as a first generation university graduate and as a university leader dedicated to the advancement of constitutional democracy, I am grateful beyond words. adequately express to President Biden for the trust he has placed in me to help represent America’s values ​​and interests to one of our closest and most important European allies. ”

During his 17-year tenure, Gutmann also served as Christopher H. Browne Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication.

Gutmann’s focus on global initiatives also led to the establishment of the Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing in 2015 and the school’s Perry World House on its University City campus in 2016.

In addition to having a close relationship with Biden, Gutmann has also openly criticized former President Donald Trump, calling his administration’s immigration policies “enemies of our values.”

In 2018, Fortune magazine named Gutmann one of the “50 Greatest Leaders in the World”.

Gutmann previously worked at Princeton University, where she held various positions including provost and dean of the faculty. Gutmann also worked at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the University of Maryland.


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