Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professorship

Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professorship

May 10, 2006

(Philadelphia – May 11, 2006) – The Wistar Institute today announced the establishment of the Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professorship. The newly endowed professorship, made possible by a generous gift from Mr. Robert A. Fox, a distinguished Philadelphia businessman and philanthropist, will enable Wistar to recruit an outstanding new researcher in the field of cancer research.

The Wistar Institute is an independent nonprofit biomedical research organization with historical strengths in vaccine development and cancer research. The Institute is a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center.

Mr. Fox has been a member of Wistar’s Board of Trustees since 1974 and served as the Board’s president between 1984 and 1994. He was the first recipient of The Wistar Award in 1994, an honor given to only three individuals since its inception. The award recognizes an individual who exemplifies the qualities of compassion, integrity, generosity, commitment, and vision.

The new professorship will significantly advance Wistar’s goal of recruiting the most talented researchers from around the world to expand its faculty, a key objective outlined in its current Strategic Plan.

“The Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professorship will make it possible for The Wistar Institute to attract the kind of creative, bold scientist that we know from experience can contribute the most to the fight against disease,” says Russel E. Kaufman, M.D., president and CEO of The Wistar Institute. “We are deeply grateful to Bob and Penny Fox, both for their generosity and longstanding leadership in support of Wistar’s mission to end cancer and other diseases.”

Establishment of the Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professorship is only the most recent expression of Mr. Fox’s long-term support of The Wistar Institute and its scientific aims. In the past two years alone, for example, he has pledged a total of $5 million in unrestricted support of critical goals described in Wistar’s Strategic Plan, including plans to completely renew the Institute’s infrastructure, purchase vital new scientific instrumentation, and recruit the most gifted scientists to expand the faculty to take on ambitious new scientific projects. Mr. Fox’s gifts make him the most generous supporter of the Institute since its founding in 1892.

“It gives me great satisfaction to see The Wistar Institute succeeding as it is now, to see the scientists flourishing and making the kinds of discoveries that will improve human health in the future,” says Mr. Fox. “Wistar is transforming itself in fundamental ways to reach for new levels of scientific preeminence, and I’m pleased to have the opportunity to play a part in that process.”

Mr. Fox is the chairman and CEO of R.A.F. Industries, Inc., a private investment company acquiring and managing a diversified group of operating companies and venture capital investments.

At Wistar, his philanthropy has underwritten numerous initiatives, including the creation of the Robert A. Fox Structural Biology Center to explore the form and function of important biological molecules using the most advanced three-dimensional imaging techniques. At Penn, where he is an alumnus, he established the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program, an innovative educational program for undergraduates that seeks to promote development of the qualities and skills needed to assume positions of leadership in society. With his wife, he also established the Bob and Penny Fox Student Art Gallery at the university. Mr. Fox has also given generously to many other charitable enterprises for many years, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the United Way.

The Wistar Institute is an independent nonprofit biomedical research institution dedicated to discovering the causes and cures for major diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases, including AIDS and influenza. Founded in 1892 as the first institution of its kind in the nation, The Wistar Institute today is a National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center focused on basic and translational research. Discoveries at Wistar have led to the creation of vaccines for such diseases as rabies, rubella, and rotavirus; significant insights into the mechanisms of skin, brain, breast, lung, and prostate cancers; and the development of monoclonal antibodies and other significant research technologies and tools. On the web at: