May 4, 1999
Volume 45
Number 31

$10 Million to the College: Robert Fox Funds a New Program Including Three Professorships

Trustee Robert A. Fox has made a $10 million gift to the College of Arts and Sciences to establish the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program, President Judith Rodin has announced.

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

Dr. Rodin said that the Fox Leadership Program will create three new professorships, and will have innovative, inter-related components:

  • All freshmen in the College will participate in a leadership program shortly after their arrival.
  • 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.

SAS Dean Samuel H. Preston welcomed the Fox Leadership Program as an opportunity for students to develop "skills that complement their liberal-arts education and prepare them for a lifetime of achievement." He said he anticipates that two of the Fox Leadership Professorships will be held by Dr. John DiIulio, professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University, who will join the Penn faculty in July; and Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman, a professor of psychology who has been at Penn since 1972.

According to Dr. Richard R. Beeman, Dean of the College, the program will begin in Fall 1999 with a non-credit course, Lessons in Leadership, that will provide College students the opportunity to interact with alumni leaders in a variety of fields.

In Fall 2000, the College will introduce the Fox Leadership Forum as a vital component of New Student Orientation, Dr. Beeman said. "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."

"We know we have bright, talented students at Penn," said Mr. Fox, " but leadership comes not just from innate qualities but by nurturing and developing skills at the earliest possible opportunity. 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 curriculum at the very beginning of the College experience."

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

His previous gifts include 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 Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics.

His latest gift "exemplifies the leadership principles that inspired the new program," Dr. Rodin said. "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."

Nursing Awards: Dr. Villarruel, Dr. Spatz

Dr. Antonia M. Villarruel is the winner of the School of Nursing's Faculty Teaching Award this year, and Dr. Diane Spatz has won the School's 1999 Undergraduate Advisor Award.

About Dr. Villarruel: Assistant professor at the School since 1995, Dr. Villarruel has gained national and international recognition in nursing, and in the broader health and political arena, through her educational initiatives, research, and publications, especially with respect to cultural diversity and minority issues, Dean Norma Lang said in announcing the teaching award. An advocate in nursing education, especially for minority populations, at the policy level, Dr. Villarruel is president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and was on the Advisory Committee for the First National Hispanic Nurses Symposia. She was named by HHS Secretary Donna Shalala to the National Advisory Council on Nursing Education and Practice, and currently serves as the chair of its Diversity Task Force.

At the School of Nursing, she teaches at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels, focusing on human development, child and family development, health and human behavior, and Latino health issues. She has developed a course on Latino health issues and a study abroad program for undergraduate students in Oaxaca, Mexico. A central theme in her courses has been a strong community component. She is a frequent guest lecturer on practice and research issues related to cultural competence.

"Through scholarly inquiry she has tackled some of the major health care problems that place our nation's growing Latino population at high risk," Dean Lang said. "Her work has focused on the development of culturally sensitive pain measures for young Hispanic children, cancer awareness in the Latino community, promoting safe sexual behavior among adolescents, and conducting research with ethnic minority populations. Her current areas of research include the development of a health promotion curriculum for Hispanic adolescents. She is also principal investigator for a multi-site study on the experience of Hispanic women following an abnormal mammogram finding."

A graduate of Nazareth College in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Dr. Villarruel took her MSN from Penn in 1982 and her Ph.D. from Wayne State in 1993. She is on The Medical Herald's Top 20 list of the Who's Who of Latino Medicine, and was named the U.S. Public Health Service's Primary Care Policy Fellow in 1996. In November 1997, she was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing.

About Dr. Spatz: An assistant professor of nursing in the School's Health Care of Women Division, Dr. Spatz serves a dual role as a perinatal advanced practice nurse at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Her research interests are in health services delivery to high-risk vulnerable populations. Currently she is co-investigator with Dr. Linda Brown on an NINR-funded research project examining nursing interventions aimed at improving breast feeding and health outcomes for low birthweight infants. She also is co-investigator with Dr. Linda Pugh, at Johns Hopkins, on another NINR-funded research project, Breastfeeding Service for Low-Income Women.

In teaching such courses as Nursing 210--Care of the Childbearing Family and a seminar course, Nursing 361--Breastfeeding and Human Lactation, she is "committed to mentoring students beyond the classroom, particularly in the pursuit of research activities," the Dean said.

Over the years, several of the students she has mentored have won Nassau Awards for their research. In 1998, Dr. Spatz was awarded the School's Faculty Teaching Award. She also was awarded the Nursing Excellence Award from the Philadelphia County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Nurses Association.

Dr. Spatz received three degrees from Penn: her BSN in 1986, her MSN in 1989, and her doctoral degree in 1995. Before being appointed to the faculty of the School of Nursing, she was an instructor at Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing and staff nurse at Pennsylvania Hospital. She continues to serve as co-chair of Pennsylvania Hospital's nursing research committee and breastfeeding task force.


 Dedication of Steve Murray's Way

An Open Invitation to the University Community

President Judith Rodin and Executive Vice President John Fry invite you to join them in the dedication of Steve Murray's Way, the new street constructed between Chestnut and Sansom Streets.

Please join Steve's family, friends and colleagues in celebrating his many contributions and achievements, and the continuing development of Sansom Common.

Monday, May 10, 1999, at 10 a.m.

Between Sansom and Chestnut streets and between the Graduate Towers.

Reception to follow at the site.


Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 31, May 4, 1999


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