A discussion between Gutmann and special guest Walter Isaacson.

As part of events showcasing the home of the Pennovation Center and South Bank facilities, Penn President Amy Gutmann hosts the 2014 David and Lyn Silfen University Forum, “From Idea to Innovation: The Impactful University,” at the South Bank, featuring a discussion between Gutmann and special guest Walter Isaacson, author of the book, “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.”

2014 Panelists

The panelists of this David & Lyn Silfen University Forum include Amy Gutmann and Walter Isaacson. Please see their biographies below.

Amy Gutmann, moderator

President and Christopher H. Browne Professor of Political Science in the School of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Communication in the Annenberg School for Communication

Amy Gutmann

As the 8th President of the University of Pennsylvania (2004— ), Dr. Amy Gutmann is a national leader in increasing access to higher education and integrating knowledge to maximize creativity and innovation. Dr. Gutmann developed Penn's no-loan guarantee for undergraduates, which has become a national model. She has dramatically expanded Penn's contribution to employment, innovation, and economic development in the city and state and pushed Penn to the forefront in civic engagement, exemplified by the creation of Penn Park, a 24-acre urban oasis connecting the campus to the city which opened in 2011.

Under Dr. Gutmann's leadership, the University completed its largest, most successful campaign ever, Making History, and has dramatically broken down barriers across academic disciplines, invigorating the intellectual climate for both faculty and students.

She has published widely on the value of education and deliberation in democracy, on the importance of access to higher education and health care, and on the essential role of ethics—especially professional and political ethics—in public affairs. She continues to be an active scholar as Penn's President, publishing her sixteenth book, The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It (with Dennis Thompson) in May 2012.

Dr. Gutmann is a founding member of the Global Colloquium of University Presidents, which advises the Secretary General of the U.N. on a range of issues, including the social responsibility of universities. Gutmann has won the Harvard University Centennial Medal (2003), Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award (2009), and was named by Newsweek one of "150 Women Who Shake the World" (2011). She is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, and is a W.E.B. DuBois Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. In May 2012, she received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Columbia University.

Appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama, Dr. Gutmann chairs the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. She also serves on the National Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Boards of the National Constitution Center, the Carnegie Corporation and the Vanguard Group.

Dr. Gutmann graduated magna cum laude from Harvard-Radcliffe College, earned her master's degree in Political Science from the London School of Economics, and her doctorate in Political Science from Harvard.

Walter Isaacson

CEO, Aspen Institute & Author

walter isaacson

Walter Isaacson is the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, DC. He has been the chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine.

Isaacson's upcoming book, The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (October 2014) is a biographical tale of the people who invented the computer, Internet and the other great innovations of our time and will be a must-read from Wall Street to Silicon Valley to Main Street.

He is the author of Steve Jobs (2011), Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), and Kissinger: A Biography (1992), and coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986).

Isaacson was born in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He began his career at The Sunday Times of London and then the New Orleans Times- Picayune/States-Item. He joined TIME in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor and editor of new media before becoming the magazine's 14th editor in 1996. He became chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003.

He is chair emeritus of Teach for America, which recruits recent college graduates to teach in underserved communities. He was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other international broadcasts of the United States, a position he held until 2012. He is vice-chair of Partners for a New Beginning, a public-private group tasked with forging ties between the United States and the Muslim world. He is on the board of United Airlines, Tulane University and the Overseers of Harvard University. From 2005-2007, after Hurricane Katrina, he was the vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority.