Dinner honors James Franklin, raises $287,600 for Renaissance Scholarships

November 01, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State's 43rd annual Renaissance Fund dinner on Oct. 30 at the Bryce Jordan Center honored James Franklin, Penn State football’s head coach and a leader in the University and State College community. Attended by 335 guests, the dinner raised more than $287,600 for endowed scholarships.

Franklin celebrated the recognition with his wife, Fumi, and their two daughters, Shola and Addy.

“I want to thank University leadership, the Renaissance Board, and those who support this impactful initiative,” said Franklin. “We are honored and humbled by this recognition. We are all here to support higher education and to create more opportunities for young people at Penn State. It’s Fumi’s and my goal to help make a positive impact on our community through opportunities such as this. We want to give back, make a difference, and be part of the solutions.”

Franklin attended East Stroudsburg University, where the Langhorne, Pennsylvania, native majored in psychology and served as a four-year letterman quarterback. As quarterback, Franklin was a two-time All-PSAC selection, broke or tied 23 school records and was inducted into the East Stroudsburg Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.

After graduation, Franklin began his coaching career as a position coach at Kutztown University. He subsequently coached at East Stroudsburg University, James Madison University, Washington State University (where he earned a master’s degree in educational leadership), Idaho State University, University of Maryland, the Green Bay Packers and Kansas State University, before accepting a head coaching position at Vanderbilt University in 2011.

Franklin joined Penn State as head football coach in 2014. Under Franklin’s leadership, the Nittany Lions have won the Big Ten Championship (2016), achieved two Top 10 teams, attended a bowl game every season and secured a top-five recruiting class.

Franklin has also worked to instill a sense of community pride in his student-athletes’ college experience. The team devotes hundreds of hours each semester to service, including an annual team trip to the Penn State Children’s Hospital at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to visit with young children battling pediatric cancers. Franklin has spoken at every THON since 2014, and the Franklin family has generously supported THON through annual gifts.

“We are so grateful for all James has done for generations of students, faculty, staff and alumni,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “His work ethic, integrity, humility and commitment to the welfare of others are a model for success on the football field and in life — and the Franklin Family Renaissance Fund scholarship will allow us to continue our heritage of providing access to education for academically strong students who demonstrate the highest need.”

Gifts to the Franklin Family Renaissance Fund will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

Last Updated November 04, 2019