Robert A. Fox Makes $10 Million Gift to the University of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA --- Robert A. Fox has made a $10 million gift to the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania to establish the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program, according to an announcement today (April 26) by University President Judith Rodin.

Mr. Fox, president and chairman of R.A.F. Industries, a private investment company based in Jenkintown, Pa., is a 1952 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences and a Trustee of the University.

"We are determined to make the educational experience for students in the College of Arts and Sciences truly distinctive," Dr. Rodin said, adding that, "as a business leader, trustee and former student-athlete, Bob Fox exemplifies the very leadership principles that inspired this exciting new program, which will benefit generations of undergraduate students at Penn."

Dr. Rodin said that the Fox Leadership Program will have several innovative and inter-related components:

  • All freshmen in the College will participate in a leadership program shortly after their arrival at Penn.
  • Leaders from business, politics, academia, the arts and public service will meet with small groups of College students in a series of structured and highly interactive programs throughout the academic year.
  • Curricular innovations, including a major effort to enhance students' speaking skills will be part of the program.
  • Students will have greater opportunities to practice leadership by participating in curricular and extracurricular activities in the community and have a chance to serve as mentors, trainers and leadership volunteers throughout their undergraduate years.
  • A public lecture by a world leader from politics or a variety of professions will be held each year.
  • Three Fox Leadership professors will be created.

"Leadership roles require skills as diverse as the arts and sciences themselves," said Samuel H. Preston, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. "The Fox Leadership Program will offer students a wonderful opportunity to develop skills that complement their liberal-arts education and prepare them for a lifetime of achievement."

"We know we have bright, talented students at Penn, but leadership comes not just from innate qualities but by nurturing and developing skills at the earliest possible opportunity," Mr. Fox said. "Strong leadership is essential in every profession, and I am delighted to be able to support this unique opportunity to introduce leadership training into the [College of Arts and Sciences] curriculum at the very beginning of the college experience."

A principal goal of the University of Pennsylvania's strategic plan, Agenda for Excellence, which is designed to solidify Penn's position as a premier urban teaching and research institutions, is to "enhance the undergraduate experience beyond the classroom experience." Since July 1, 1996, more than $500 million has been raised in support of Agenda priorities.

Dr. Preston anticipates that two of the Fox Professorships will be held by John DiIulio, professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University, who will join the Penn faculty in July, and Martin E.P. Seligman, professor of psychology at Penn. Dr. DiIulio is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, senior counsel to Public/Private Ventures and founding director of the Center for Public Management at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C. He is the author of 12 books, including Body Count: Moral Poverty...and How to Win America's War Against Crime and Drugs (Simon & Schuster, 1996). Dr. Seligman, the Kogod Term Professor of Psychology at Penn, is considered the world's leading authority on learned helplessness, explanatory style and optimism and pessimism. He is the author of 10 books, including the best-selling title, Learned Optimism (Knopf, 1991).

Richard R. Beeman, Dean of the College, said that the Fox Leadership Program will begin in the fall semester 1999 with a non-credit course, Lessons in Leadership, in the College of Arts and Sciences that will provide students with the opportunity to interact with alumni leaders in a variety of fields. Beginning in the fall semester 2000, the College will introduce the Fox Leadership Forum as a "vital component" of New Student Orientation. "We envision the Fox Forum as a weekend program, with opportunities for our students to participate in interactive workshops with some of the most distinguished academics in the country, including our Fox Professors of Leadership and others, as well as with men and women who are known for their leadership acumen. Other exciting courses in leadership will be developed by the Fox Professors," Dr. Beeman said.

"This most recent gift from Bob Fox exemplifies the leadership principles that inspired the new program," Dr. Rodin said. "Students will be

as well served by the support provided by the gift as by the vision of the donor."

Mr. Fox is a member of the Executive Committee of the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. He chairs the Trustee Standing Committee on Budget and Finance, is a member of the standing committees on facilities and campus planning and nominating and a member of the Trustee Board of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the Athletics Advisory Board.

Mr. Fox has made previous gifts to Penn, including a $1 million gift to the

$15 million Trustees Challenge Grant that will match contributions to endow undergraduate scholarships; funds to establish a chair in the School of Arts and Sciences; funds to establish the Bob and Penny Fox Student Art Gallery in the Perelman Quadrangle; and contributions to the Department of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics.

Dr. Rodin said that the Fox Leadership Program "has truly unlimited potential, and our expectation is that it will very quickly become the preeminent program of its kind available in higher education today."