Penn Athletics names The Pottruck Center for Student-Athlete Success

Alums David Pottruck, daughter Stephanie, and son-in-law Aaron have made a leadership gift to enhance holistic development of student-athletes. The leadership gift also provides critical funding to the Penn Athletics Wharton Leadership Academy.

Penn has announced a $6.3 million leadership gift from alumnus David S. Pottruck, reinforcing his half-century of engagement with Penn Athletics. The majority of Pottruck’s commitment to the Set The Future In Motion campaign will establish an endowment in an area of passion for him, leadership development. Pottruck’s endowment gift to the Penn Athletics Wharton Leadership Academy will provide funding in perpetuity to a program that will shape Quaker student-athletes for generations to come. The Penn Athletics Wharton Leadership Academy currently falls under the purview of the Center for Student-Athlete Success (CSAS), which in recognition of Pottruck’s incredible generosity will be renamed the The Pottruck Center for Student-Athlete Success. Pottruck’s daughter, College of Arts and Sciences graduate Stephanie Pottruck Goldman, and son-in-law, Wharton alumnus Aaron Goldman, were inspired by Pottruck’s philanthropy and made a financial commitment to CSAS in his honor, bringing the total to more than $7.1 million between the two gifts.

“I am extremely grateful for Dave Pottruck’s leadership and philanthropy,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “His generosity has spanned the decades and touched countless members of the Penn community. With this landmark gift, Dave is providing critical support for student-athletes that will benefit them in their athletic and academic endeavors, as well as far into their careers. The Pottruck Center for Student-Athlete Success is a testament to Dave’s visionary leadership and profound recognition in the importance of investing in future thought leaders. My thanks as well to Stephanie and Aaron for following Dave’s lead in this important area.”

From left, President Amy Gutmann, alumnus David Pottruck, and Athletic Director M. Grace Calhoun attend a basketball game at the Palestra in January 2020.

Five million dollars of Pottruck’s gift will establish an endowment to ensure a baseline of funding for the Penn Athletics Wharton Leadership Academy in perpetuity while enhancing the offerings of CSAS. The positive impact that CSAS will have on Penn’s student-athletes will impact the trajectory of their lives. Student-athletes will develop the mental, spiritual, and social skill sets that will ultimately position them to make significant contributions to the world long after graduation.

“The gift is a way for Penn Athletics to prioritize the importance of leadership education, while supplementing this important discipline with critical development areas such as civic engagement and academic support and vice versa,” said Pottruck. “I’m thrilled that my philanthropic interest in Penn has been passed down a generation and has motivated Stephanie and Aaron to make a significant contribution to Penn Athletics. To know that our family name will forever be aligned with the shared areas of importance to Penn and the Pottrucks and Goldmans, is extremely gratifying and humbling.”

“Athletics has always been important to our family,” said Stephanie Pottruck Goldman. “We love the competition aspect, but we have always been strong believers in the skills that being part of a team and working toward a shared goal teaches young people. Aaron and I are thrilled to make this gift in honor of my father to a dedicated area within Penn Athletics that will develop and nurture these important skills for generations of Penn student-athletes.”

Grace Calhoun, the T. Gibbs Kane, Jr., W’69, Director of Athletics and Recreation, underscored the critical importance of investing in people and programs as it relates to the maturation of student-athletes.

“Dave Pottruck has been as loyal a supporter as Penn Athletics has, and as a result of his most recent gift, Penn will be better positioned to deliver on our promise of providing our student-athletes with an unrivaled academic and athletic experience, while developing them into our leaders of tomorrow,” said Calhoun. “Dave’s investment in the whole person is truly remarkable and catapults Penn Athletics toward being a national leader in this space. We are incredibly thankful to Dave, Stephanie, and Aaron for their leadership and this transformational gift.”

Pottruck is not only supporting broad-based programming for all Penn student-athletes, but is also focused on assisting the football and wrestling programs—two sports that had an incredible impact on him during his formative years in West Philadelphia. As an undergraduate, Pottruck was a member of the varsity football and wrestling teams, and has made this gift to not only provide annual financial support to two programs close to his heart, but also to motivate others to join him to ensure that both teams have proper operational funding now and in the future.

In making this gift, Pottruck, a former University of Pennsylvania Trustee, emeritus member of the Division of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics Board of Advisors, and former global chief executive officer at Charles Schwab, is supporting an area that played a major role in his professional success. He understands the importance of giving back in an effort to help nurture the next generation of leaders.

“My years in business have repeatedly demonstrated to me how important it is to develop future leaders,” Pottruck said. “Leadership is a quality that can, and should, be taught. The combined stamina, discipline, and team spirit that Penn’s athletes show so consistently demonstrates their enormous potential as world leaders. The Leadership Academy program will help them move seamlessly and successfully into the future.”

“As a former wrestler at Penn myself, I have always admired Dave Pottruck as a leader and a mentor for my own development, and to know that the lessons he has taught me over the years will be shared with all our student-athletes through our partnership with the McNulty Center at Wharton is incredibly exciting,” said Matt Valenti, associate athletics director for student-athlete success and a 2007 alumnus. “Moreover, to have the physical office that I work in carry the Pottruck name going forward is not only personally gratifying but will also be motivating for our student-athletes for years to come.”