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$10 Million to Endow Robert A. Fox Leadership Program from Alumni Robert A. Fox and Penny Grossman Fox
December 11, 2007, Volume 54, No. 15



Alumni Robert A. Fox and Penny Grossman Fox have made a gift of $10 million to endow and expand the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. The program, established in 1999 through an initial gift from the Foxes, combines coursework, events and service experiences to inspire and equip undergraduates to assume leadership roles in their future endeavors (Almanac May 4, 1999). This most recent gift brings the Foxes’ total support of the program to more than $23 million.

Mr. Fox is a 1952 graduate of the College at Penn, and Mrs. Fox received a BA in education in 1953 from Penn as well.

“Bob and Penny Foxes’ foresight and generosity in establishing the Fox Program have enabled the School of Arts and Sciences to offer its students essential leadership experiences that bridge the gaps between academia and the broader community,” said SAS Dean Rebecca Bushnell.

“The Robert A. Fox Leadership Program teaches Penn students to embrace the challenges of today’s world with great civic spirit and intellectual acumen,” President Amy Gutmann said. “Bob Fox’s work as a leader and benefactor at the University serves as a model of the principles taught by the Fox Program. His commitment will benefit generations of Penn undergraduates, and, by preparing them to become future leaders, will have a resounding impact on society at large.”

The Fox Program will continue to expand the applied-focus events, courses and hands-on learning experiences it offers to undergraduates.  During the 2007-2008 academic year, Fox-affiliated instructors are offering eight courses that address pressing issues, such as Leadership and Democracy: Theory, Practice, Purpose and Leadership and Community Service. The program also offers extensive opportunities for students to participate in service projects, including the Fox Leadership in New Orleans, Louisiana program, part of the largest university-based service initiative directed toward Hurricane Katrina relief. Among other initiatives, this program annually sends 100 students to New Orleans for one-week spring break service trips and supports 20 10-week paid summer internships in New Orleans-area communities serving non-profit organizations.

In addition to providing programmatic support, the Foxes created three endowed chairs in the School of Arts and Sciences.

Penn President Emerita Judith Rodin was the inaugural Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor, and Dr. Donald F. Kettl is the current chairholder. Dr. John J. DiIulio Jr., faculty director of the Fox Program, is the Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion and Civil Society.

“The Leadership program has met and exceeded our expectations thanks to John DiIulio and his team,” Mr. Fox said.  “It is truly rewarding to spend time with the participating students and share their excitement and appreciation for the program.”

“In a quarter century in higher education and nonprofit work, I’ve never known a better, kinder or more public-spirited benefactor,” Dr. DiIulio said. “Thanks to Bob and Penny Fox, we have a bigger, stronger program that will enrich our undergraduates’ lives—and keep its staff and facilities going—forever. Our students could not be more grateful, or more excited.”

Mr. Fox is the chairman and CEO of R.A.F. Industries Inc., a private investment company that acquires and manages a diversified group of middle market companies located across the country.

Mrs. Fox serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Moore College of Art and Design and the Pennsylvania Ballet.

Mr. Fox is an emeritus trustee at Penn and serves on the Penn Medicine Board of Trustees and the Athletics Board of Overseers. The Foxes support a variety of areas of the University, including support for Penn Medicine, athletics, undergraduate financial aid and student life with the establishment of the Bob and Penny Fox Student Art Gallery in Logan Hall. 

In 1999, Mr. Fox received the Alumni Award of Merit, the highest award presented by Penn Alumni, given in recognition of outstanding service to the University.


Robert A. Fox and Penny Grossman Fox with Amy Gutmann and John DiIulio. Photograph by Stuart Watson
Almanac - December 11, 2007, Volume 54, No. 15