The following text is Penn President Amy Gutmann’s speech from the launch of the Campaign For Penn Athletics, which took place October 20, 2007 in The Palestra...
It’s always a thrill to come to the Palestra, the mecca of college basketball. Standing here takes me back not only to memorable moments on the hardwood -- including great wins over Princeton -- but also to lasting impressions of all the scholar-athletes I have known in men’s and women’s sports.
They remind me that Penn Athletics is about more than just winning games and having fun -- which is great. It’s about learning the value of preparation, hard work, dedication, and persistence. It’s also about living the values of leadership, fair play and teamwork. These values of leadership, fair play, and teamwork are ones that I want Penn to instill in all of our students. So in a very real sense, Penn Athletics focuses on educational values and magnifies the power of a Penn education in realizing those values.
That is nothing new, but these values have never been more important. Throughout Penn’s history, athletics and recreation have helped to shape the lives of our undergraduates, providing wonderful out-of-classroom learning experiences. At Penn, where our mission is to train not just the mind but the whole person, coaches are respected teachers.
Today, we launch a campaign that, first, will create the very best environment and opportunities for our students to flourish during their years at Penn; and, second, to become great future leaders.
What will it take to ensure the success of Penn Athletics going forward?
First, dedicated coaches and athletic department leaders.
Second, fabulous sports and recreational facilities on a par with our classrooms, laboratories, and dormitories.
One of the most exciting features of our campaign -- unrivaled by any of our peers -- is that Penn Athletics is going to help lead the way for our campus development plan, Penn Connects, which includes a major eastward expansion over the next thirty years. The greening of our extended campus will include new athletic fields.
But that’s just the beginning. We will also expand our athletics arena, improve our facilities and programming, deepen and broaden the role of athletics and recreation within the Penn community, and dramatically improve the aesthetics of our campus.
When visitors come from Center City or other points east to campus, they will be greeted by a beautiful urban park and athletics neighborhood that radiates our commitment to the valued place that Athletics holds in the life and culture of Penn.
As we gather here in the Palestra, united in purpose, I know you share with me yet another memory. The sound of cheers that rattle the roof -- cheers for sons and daughters of Penn performing at their personal best.
Please allow me to take this moment to recognize five sons of Penn who continue to give their personal best to their alma mater and are great leaders for society: Al Shoemaker, George Weiss, John Clark, Jim Dunning, and Marc Werner.
I want to say a few words in particular about a man who delivers in the clutch for Penn time after time after time after time: the chair of Penn’s campaign, George Weiss!
George is the kind of leader who is always at his best -- whether he is leading his fund management firm, or working with disadvantaged students through his “Say Yes to Education” program, or taking his Tae Kwon Do skills to an Olympic level, or supporting financial aid and athletics at Penn.
Let’s hear it for our friend, our partner in elevating Penn to previously unfathomable heights and amazing new vistas ... a winner in every arena, George Weiss!
Right now, the Palestra is jammed with winners whose commitment and generosity will keep Penn Athletics in championship form. I particularly want to thank all of you who have already supported this campaign with your generous gifts. You are helping Penn Athletics secure its place as the class of the Ivy League for the 21st century.
This is Penn’s moment. We have 12 magnificent schools and six great centers working together on one close-knit campus. We are dynamically connected not only to each other but to the people in our neighborhood and across the world. And we are united in our fanatic devotion to our beloved Penn Quakers.
No wonder I am confident that we will make Penn the very best urban teaching and research university in the world.