Rick Sokolov named chair of 'A Greater Penn State' fundraising campaign

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As Penn State moves forward with "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a fast-paced, five-year fundraising campaign that launched in July 2016, the University has named Richard “Rick” Sokolov as campaign chair. As of September, Sokolov will lead the University’s corps of fundraising volunteers and assist Penn State leadership in advancing the campaign goal of securing $1.6 billion toward the key imperatives of a great public university.

“Our vision for 'A Greater Penn State' is ambitious, and fulfilling this vision will require the dedication and generosity of the entire Penn State community,” said O. Richard Bundy III, vice president for development and alumni relations. “It will also require outstanding leadership, so we are fortunate that Rick Sokolov has agreed to step forward as our campaign chair. Rick knows this University well, but even more importantly, he embodies the kind of passion and commitment this effort will require.”

Sokolov previously served as the Intercollegiate Athletics (ICA) chair in "For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students" and as a member of the ICA committee in the "Grand Destiny" campaign. A 1974 graduate of Penn State with a bachelor of arts in psychology, he is the president and chief operating officer and a member of the board of directors of Simon Property Group, the largest publicly traded retail real estate company operating in North America. He joined Simon when it merged with DeBartolo Realty Corporation, where he served as CEO and president and as a member of its board of directors. Sokolov began his real estate career as a partner in a major Baltimore law firm that specializes in real estate, and he holds a juris doctor from Georgetown University Law School. He also has served as a member of the Smeal College of Business Real Estate Advisory Board.

Sokolov and his wife, Susan Sokolov, who earned a bachelor’s degree (1971) and a master’s degree (1972) in education from the University, have made gifts to Intercollegiate Athletics and to areas across the University. Residents of Youngstown, Ohio, they are members of the President's Club, the Atherton Society, and the Laurel Circle of the Mount Nittany Society. In 2000, Rick Sokolov received the Alumni Fellow award from Penn State.

"Susan and I are appreciative of the meaningful role that Penn State has played in our lives," said Rick Sokolov. "I look forward to further demonstrating our commitment to the University by helping to lead 'A Greater Penn State' forward. I am excited by the vision and goals of the campaign, and the generosity we have already seen from so many Penn Staters is gratifying. I certainly anticipate and look forward to continuing the momentum we've begun."

Sokolov succeeds Martha Jordan, a 1976 graduate of the Smeal College of Business who has served as the University’s lead fundraising volunteer since 2014 and who, alongside the University’s leadership, led the efforts to plan and launch "A Greater Penn State." Jordan will continue her service as vice chair of the campaign.

“I’ve been honored to guide 'A Greater Penn State' through the early phases of the campaign, and I’m delighted that Rick Sokolov will be the person to lead us forward,” said Jordan. “Rick brings not only extensive experience as a fundraising volunteer but also the professional perspective of a real estate industry leader, and Penn State is fortunate for his willingness to serve. Rick will not only help us achieve the goals we’ve set out for the campaign but also build a network of supporters that will benefit our University far into the future.”

Gifts from Penn State’s alumni and friends have been essential to the success of the University’s historic land-grant mission to serve the public good. To fulfill that mission for a new era of rapid change and global connections, "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence" is focused on the three key imperatives of a public university. Private support will keep the door to higher education open and enable students to graduate on time and on track to success; create transformative experiences on Penn State campuses and around the globe that tap the full potential of Penn Staters to make a difference; and impact the world through discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

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Last Updated August 16, 2017