New Gift from Alumni Robert A. and Penny Grossman Fox Expands Fox Leadership Program at Penn

Thanks to a generous boost from its founders, the Fox Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania will be able to prepare even more students for lives of leadership and service.

The Fox Leadership Program already engages thousands of students each year with its “study and serve” mission, accomplished through a combination of coursework, advising, events, and service experiences. Robert A. Fox, C’52, and Penny Grossman Fox, ED’53, established the program in 1999 and permanently endowed it with a gift of $10 million in 2007. Now they have made a new gift of $5 million to expand the program and establish four new scholarships in the School of Arts and Sciences, bringing their total support of the program to more than $28 million. In addition to providing programmatic support, the Foxes created three endowed chairs in the School of Arts and Sciences.

"Bob and Penny have a tremendous passion for giving Penn undergraduates unique opportunities to explore both service and leadership,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “They created this program to enable our students to develop and apply their skills in practical and meaningful ways. The value of this approach has become ever more apparent with each passing year. We are so very grateful to Bob and Penny for their vision and their continued generosity, which will benefit students for generations to come.”

The Fox Leadership Program offers myriad service and leadership-building activities for undergraduates. These include Fox Fellowships—one- to two-year service and learning experiences at leading non-profit and government agencies—and the Penn in Washington program, which sponsors internships and events for Penn students in the nation’s capital. Fox Leadership is also behind University initiatives such as Penn Leads the Vote, a non-partisan, student-led network that has dramatically increased on-campus election turnout; Penn Undergraduates in New Orleans, the largest university-sponsored program from outside the Gulf region continuously providing volunteer services in post-Katrina New Orleans; Youth Education for Success Recess Initiative, which aims to improve the recess experience for students at elementary schools; and Penn MERT, a student-run medical services organization.

“The Fox Leadership Program is among the best in the nation at preparing students for leadership roles in whatever realm they are called to,” said Rebecca Bushnell, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor, and Professor of English. “This most recent generous gift from Bob and Penny Fox will take the program to even greater heights.”

The new gift will double the number of fully-funded Fox Fellowships, from 50 to 100. Twenty of the new fellowships will be dedicated to opportunities in the nation’s capital as part of an expanded Penn in Washington. Another ten of the new Fox Fellows will work on a new initiative—the Penn Program for Opinion Research and Election Studies, headed by John Lapinski, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director, Elections for NBC News.

“The Leadership program, under the direction of John J. DiIulio Jr., the Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion, and Civil Society, has more than exceeded our expectations,” Robert Fox said. “We are happy to enable it to expand and offer even more opportunities to students at Penn.”

The Foxes’ gift also establishes four new scholarships in the School of Arts and Sciences for students with high financial need from the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The recipients will be known as Frederic Fox scholars, honoring Robert Fox’s father.

Robert 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 United States. He is an emeritus trustee at Penn, and received the University’s Alumni Award of Merit in 1999. Penny Fox serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Moore College of Art and Design, and the Pennsylvania Ballet.

In addition to establishing the Fox Leadership Program, the Foxes support a variety of other areas of the University, including Penn Medicine, athletics, and student life.

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