Richard J. Fox

Biography

For 40 years, Richard J. Fox has been a trusted leader at Temple University and a major philanthropic partner of Temple and the Fox School of Business. In 1999, the Board of Trustees, for which Fox had served as chair for 17 years, named the Fox School in his honor, as recognition of his profound level of dedication to the university’s success, and his unique distinction as the university’s longest-serving board chairman.

A Philadelphia native, Fox obtained an engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and served three years in the Navy as ensign and paymaster aboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri. “Innovation was not a huge part of that job,” says Fox of his time in the Navy. That changed in 1952, when he returned home and began a modest home-building business with his brother, Robert A. Fox. Thinking outside of the box, the company eventually grew into The Fox Companies, one of the premiere development and construction firms in the Philadelphia area. The Fox brothers’ first project consisted of three single-family homes in Narberth, a small town just outside of Philadelphia. The market was strong, as millions of World War II veterans had young families needing homes. “We were fortunate in our timing,” says Fox. “You could sell them as fast as you could build them.” The Fox Companies went on to establish Chesterbrook in the 1960s, a community near the Main Line. Fox bought up most of the land, including Alexander Cassatt’s Chesterbrook Farm. The plan for the new town included creating a true community, and landscaping was an important part of that vision—Fox budgeted more than three times the average landscaping budget for Chesterbrook. “Issues such as schools, open space, traffic, and roads were defined to help counter urban sprawl,” said Jim Hovey, former president of The Fox Companies, in a previous interview with Main Line Life. Beyond real estate, Fox was inspired by innovation and exciting research. This fascination led him to co-found and serve as the chairman of Planalytics, a business weather intelligence firm in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. Fox has served on Temple’s Board of Trustees continuously since 1967. His tenure as Board Chairman from 1983-2000 coincided with Peter Liacouras’ presidency, and the two grew to become great friends. “They made so many positive changes together,” says Geraldine Fox, Richard’s wife. Fox and Liacouras enhanced Temple’s reputation, and guided the transformation of campus from ordinary to dynamic. Together, they promoted Temple’s “access to excellence”, the best value for higher education in the area, and also guided the transformation of Temple’s campus from ordinary to dynamic. During Fox’s tenure as Board Chairman, he helped lead the university through a transformational period marked by rising academic excellence and a deepened commitment to Main Campus. With a keen interest in politics, Fox became the Pennsylvania Chairman of the Reagan/Bush campaign in 1980, and in 1985, co-founded the Republican Jewish Coalition—he served as its first chairman. In 1988, Fox became the national finance chairman of Jack Kemp’s presidential campaign. Due to his extraordinary service to and support of Temple, Fox has been described as “second only to Temple Founder Russell H. Conwell.” His long years of service to the university reflect his enduring faith in education. Fox continues to advance the mission of the university by serving on the Board of Trustees’ Development Committee, and the Fox School by serving as its founding chair of the Dean’s Council. Through the full commitment of their time, treasure, and talent, Fox and Geraldine have been instrumental in the school’s success. “My advice to young people has always been to get all the education you can,” said Fox. “It never hurts to know more. Education gives you the tools to go out and be successful at whatever you want to do.”

Temple University Degree
Honorary Degree ’93, Temple University

Title & Company
Founder and chairman, The Fox Companies, a building development and real-estate management company in Eastern Pennsylvania that is responsible for such landmarks as the Wachovia Center

Temple University Awards & Affiliatons

  • Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership, 2007
  • Russell H. Conwell Award, 1996
  • Chairman’s Circle
  • Dean’s Council, Fox School of Business
  • Former Board of Directors, Temple University Children’s Medical Center
  • Former Board of Directors, Temple University Health System
  • Former Board of Governors, Temple University Hospital
  • Trustee
  • Wachman Society 30