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From Napoleon to Gutmann: Inside the Penn President's Quest to Conquer Philadelphia


Since the beginning of time, rulers have attempted to not only maintain control over their kingdoms, but to expand and assert dominance over neighboring territories and oftentimes the whole world. Many have vied for this role in the modern age, but only one ruler has the courage to succeed today: Penn President Amy Gutmann.

With her recent conquests of Lauder College House and now New College House West, Gutmann extends her territory into more of Philadelphia, and inch by inch, asserts herself as the future heiress to all of Philadelphia — and possibly even Pennsylvania.

As a conqueror, Gutmann has to present herself a certain way. Napoleon didn’t rally his troops by seeming weak. In that spirit, it’s been reported that Gutmann will stride around her office daily on horseback, telling subordinates that their caliber must be high if their attempts at domination are to be successful.

Instead of the warm and fuzzy “How are you?” when employees arrive, Gutmann will shout at them, “We must reign supreme at all costs!” This has supposedly frightened some and invigorated others. Those that don’t have ambitious goals of urban domination have supposedly left Penn administration’s ranks, while others have stayed in the hopes of asserting some of the power that will be bestowed to Penn upon total domination.

Around the water cooler, Gutmann ambushes her employees, knocking over any drink that they had in their hands and screaming, “Have you acquired any land today?!” If the answer is no, Gutmann will then proceed to dump the entire water pitcher on their head. When asked if these practices were a bit extreme, Gutmann had this to say:

“I am trying to conquer Philadelphia — to rule all of its mighty lands. I have no time or tolerance for buffoonery. If Penn employees want to worry about student dining or mental health, then they can find a job at a weak college. Here at Penn, however, we are focused on acquiring land solely. That’s the name of the game now.”

Gutmann appears dead-set on the idea of total domination, but is that what Penn students want? Many say that it’s not their first priority.

“Having just gotten to Penn and still struggling, I can’t really say that I care too much about whether or not Penn owns all the land,” first year Cristin Chase said. “Sure, I suppose it’d be nice, but if they could throw another bone or two to just about anything else, that’d be really cool.”

In response to student complaints, Gutmann has taken swift action. She believes that if her servants aren’t fully invested in the mission, then they must be eliminated. As such, Chase has since been expelled from the University of Pennsylvania.

The recent successes of Lauder College House and New College House West have proven that the model for Philadelphian domination can work. Given this fact, Gutmann has bold ambitions for what the next five years could look like.

“By 2023, I expect to have exerted my control over Lincoln Financial Field, whether I have to go to battle with the Eagles myself or not,” she said. “Then, in 2024, I will conquer all of Center City, building by building. Slowly but surely, I will seize control over Philadelphia City Hall, and the city will become mine.”

She also detailed how she would turn One Liberty Place into student housing and how the penthouse of the Comcast Center would become her office.

Gutmann’s plan to conquer Philadelphia may seem outlandish, but it’s important to keep in mind that all great conquerors seemed outlandish at first. People made fun of Napoleon for his bold ambition, and look at what he did. With the ample resources at her disposal, Amy Gutmann is prepared to seize all the land that Philadelphia has to offer, and in doing so, become one of the great rulers the world has ever seen.