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Gerard H. “Jerry” Sweeney, of Brandywine Realty Trust, holds his crystal owl statuette as the recipient of the 2016 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership.
Gerard H. “Jerry” Sweeney, of Brandywine Realty Trust, holds his crystal owl statuette as the recipient of the 2016 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership.

A short drive to the boardwalk taught Gerard H. “Jerry” Sweeney a lifelong lesson about professional drive.

As a child, Sweeney would walk two miles of boardwalk planks in Wildwood, N.J., until he had secured a job for the summer. And only then would Sweeney’s father provide a ride home.

“I have found that persistence defines us, motivates us, and relentlessly pushes us forward,” said Sweeney, who received the 2016 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership.

Temple University’s Fox School of Business honored Sweeney as the recipient of the Musser Award, the highest honor conferred by the School, during a Nov. 16 dinner and reception at Mitten Hall. This year’s event marked the 20th anniversary of the award ceremony, which has recognized a litany of Philadelphia’s leading businesspeople.

Fox School of Business faculty, staff, and alumni recipients of the 2016 Musser Award gather on the stage. (Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)
Fox School of Business faculty, staff, and alumni recipients of the 2016 Musser Award gather on the stage. (Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)

The evening paid homage to Sweeney, who is President, Chief Executive Officer, and Trustee of Brandywine Realty Trust, which develops, builds, and manages the nation’s leading Class A office and mixed-use properties. He has overseen the growth of Brandywine Realty Trust from four properties and a total market capitalization of less than $5 million to more than 33 million square feet and a total market capitalization of close to $5 billion.

“Jerry is a fresh-thinking, innovative leader who is helping to elevate Philadelphia’s reputation into the upper echelon of the world’s greatest cities,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School. “His commitments to community, civic change, and professional leadership are unmatched, and we are proud to honor him.”

CNBC anchor Tyler Mathisen presides as master of ceremonies of the 2016 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership dinner. (Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)
CNBC anchor Tyler Mathisen presides as master of ceremonies of the 2016 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership dinner. (Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)

Sweeney is credited for coining the term “vertical neighborhood,” which has been used to describe the 50-story FMC Tower at Cira Centre South and its premier amenities.

“Our true legacy is not in the money we make or the buildings we build,” Sweeney said, upon accepting the Musser Award. “Our legacy is in how many lives we touch, how many smiles we make, and how much cheer we bring.”

Tyler Mathisen, the managing editor of CNBC Business News and co-host of CNBC’s Power Lunch, once again served as the event’s master of ceremonies. He introduced attendees to one of Sweeney’s earliest business ventures, when he developed a business plan to sell rabbits as a fourth-grader. Mathisen then welcomed to the stage a rabbit named Tony, from Philadelphia’s Morris Animal Refuge.

“He’s yours to take home, Jerry, if you’d like to reestablish your first business conquest,” Mathisen said, jokingly.

The Musser Awards dinner and reception gathers Philadelphia’s leading business executives under one roof. Past top honorees in attendance included Warren V. “Pete” Musser, Robert Fox, and Steven Korman, and Temple trustees Dennis Alter, Chairman Patrick J. O’Conner, and Daniel H. Polett.

Also recognized at the reception were:

  • Excellence in Teaching: Dr. Pallavi Chitturi, Research Professor of Statistical Science
  • Excellence in Research: Dr. William W.S. Wei, Professor of Statistical Science
  • Excellence in Faculty Service: Martin Doyle, Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems
  • Excellence in Administrative Service: Dr. Janis Moore Campbell, Director of Graduate Professional Development
  • Excellence in Student Leadership: Ancy Thomas, FOX ‘15
  • Excellence in Alumni Achievement: Daniel Conway, FOX ‘87
Dean M. Moshe Porat, left, and Warren V. “Pete” Musser, right, greet 2016 Musser Award recipient Gerard H. “Jerry” Sweeney. (Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)
Dean M. Moshe Porat, left, and Warren V. “Pete” Musser, right, greet 2016 Musser Award recipient Gerard H. “Jerry” Sweeney. (Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University Photography)

O’Connor called Sweeney “a one-of-a-kind businessman, community servant, and leader. The Fox School of Business could not have chosen a more-deserving honoree for this 20th anniversary event.”

Sweeney credited his success to his supportive professional colleagues and loving family.

“The only limit on our capacity to dream and grow are those that are self-imposed,” said Sweeney, who credited his success to supportive colleagues and his loving family. “And to achieve this recognition from the Fox School, the vanguard of Philadelphia’s renaissance, is truly special.”

Jerry SweeneyTemple University’s Fox School of Business will award Gerard “Jerry” H. Sweeney the 2016 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership – the school’s highest honor, for outstanding achievement, leadership, and commitment to the community by a distinguished member of industry.

Sweeney will be honored at the 20th annual Musser Award reception and dinner Nov. 16, 2016, in Mitten Hall, on Temple University’s Main Campus.

Sweeney is President, Chief Executive Officer, and Trustee of Brandywine Realty Trust, which develops, builds, and manages the nation’s leading Class A office and mixed-use properties. He has held these roles since the company’s founding in 1994. He has overseen the growth of Brandywine, from four properties and a total market capitalization of less than $5 million to more than 33 million square feet and a total market capitalization of close to $5 billion.

“Jerry Sweeney has overseen Brandywine Realty Trust from its infancy through to today. He is directly responsible for helping the company flourish into a leader in the real estate industry,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business. “This year marks an anniversary. For two decades, we have honored distinguished business professionals with the Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership, and Jerry certainly fits that description.”

His previous industry experience includes serving as vice president of LCOR, Inc., a real estate development firm, from 1983-94. He was responsible for the marketing, management, construction, asset management, and financial oversight of a diversified portfolio of urban high-rise, mid-rise, flex, warehouse, and distribution facilities, as well as retail and apartment complexes.

Sweeney received a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from West Chester University.

A few of the previous Musser Award winners include the late Lewis Katz, former director of the Katz Foundation; Steven H. Korman, founder of Korman Communities; Joan Carter, co-founder and president of UM Holdings Ltd.; the late Ralph J. Roberts, founder of Comcast; Stephen A. Cozen and Patrick J. O’Connor, of Cozen-O’Connor; H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, president and CEO of The Lenfest Group; and Dennis Alter, former chairman and CEO of Advanta Corp.

For sponsorship and reservation information, contact Amy Gurreri, Assistant Director of Special Events and Facilities, at 215-204-4889 or amy.gurreri@temple.edu.

Graham receives Fox School’s Musser Award
Temple University recapped this month’s Musser Awards dinner and reception, and top honoree William A. “Bill” Graham, within the university-wide newsletter, Temple Now.

Photo of William A. "Bill" Graham IV
William A. “Bill” Graham IV, recipient of the 2015 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership

Temple University’s Fox School of Business will award William A. “Bill” Graham IV the 2015 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership – the school’s highest honor, for outstanding achievement, leadership, and commitment to the community by a distinguished member of industry.

Graham will be honored at the 19th annual Musser Award reception and dinner Nov. 5, 2015, in Mitten Hall, on Temple University’s Main Campus.

Graham is the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of The Graham Company, a privately held and leading U.S. insurance and surety brokerage and consulting firm considered one of the largest in the nation based on revenue size. The company provides property and casualty products, employee benefits, and surety bonds for an elite client base.

“Bill Graham helped build a family business into a recognized and respected brand. He’s a giant in the insurance and risk management industries,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business. “For nearly two decades, we have honored distinguished business professionals with the Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership, and Bill certainly fits that description.”

Graham has been a member of the Philadelphia business community for more than 50 years.

He joined his father’s insurance agency as a sales representative in 1962, eventually becoming the sole owner in 1972. He served as president from 1970 to 1999, and currently serves as chairman and chief executive officer. He has overseen the growth of The Graham Company, from six employees with revenues of $300,000 in 1972, to more than 160 employees and revenues exceeded $40 million.

Graham is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of Bucknell University, and is on the Boards of Directors of Xanitos, Inc.; Adhezion Biomedical, LLC; and Aspire Bariatrics, LLC. He also serves on the Advisory Board of Guest Counts Hospitality.

He is an alumnus of Bucknell University and the William Penn Charter School.

Previous Musser Award winners include Lewis Katz, director of the Katz Foundation; Steven H. Korman, founder of Korman Communities; Joan Carter, co-founder and president of UM Holdings Ltd.; Ralph J. Roberts, founder of Comcast; Stephen A. Cozen and Patrick J. O’Connor, of Cozen-O’Connor; H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, president and CEO of The Lenfest Group; and Dennis Alter, former chairman and CEO of Advanta Corp.

For sponsorship and reservation information, contact Amy Gurreri, Assistant Director of Special Events and Facilities, at 215-204-4889 or amy.gurreri@temple.edu.

What do a former Temple University football player, a self-titled “chief trash collector” and a film student have in common? What about a student housing development company, an environmentally focused apparel company and a bill registry to help students crowdfund their expenses?

Photo of Musser Award honoree and Temple Trustee Lewis Katz with award namesake Warren V. "Pete" Musser.
Musser Award honoree and Temple Trustee Lewis Katz with award namesake Warren V. “Pete” Musser at the Nov. 20, 2013, awards dinner in Mitten Hall. Photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University

Each idea was developed while these individuals – Shawn Bullard, Brian Linton and Jazmin Butler – were students at Temple. These alumni returned to campus Nov. 20 to pitch their businesses in lightning-round format during the 17th Musser Awards for Excellence in Leadership, hosted annually by Temple’s Fox School of Business.

The Musser Awards honor outstanding achievement and service by a distinguished member of the business community, and this year the award went to university Trustee Lewis Katz, director of the Katz Foundation. Given Katz’s remarkable success as an entrepreneur and the Fox School’s national reputation as an innovation and entrepreneurship leader, the night showcased university-wide entrepreneurship.

Staying true to the theme, the awards program featured “Power Launch,” a spin on event-host Tyler Mathisen’s CNBC show “Power Lunch.” Each of the three alumni was given 180 seconds to pitch their respective businesses to Katz and past Musser Award recipients Warren V. “Pete” Musser – the award’s namesake – and Joan Carter.

Bullard kicked things off with Konkrete Investments, a student-housing development company he launched after winning Temple’s 2009 Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, which the Fox School organizes via the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI). Bullard, a former football player and School of Tourism and Hospitality Management graduate, took the $10,000 grand prize and turned that into $10 million in assets.

Butler followed and pitched her company, MyBillRegistry, and its counterpart MyClassroomRegistry. MyBillRegistry functions as a crowdfunding platform for students’ monthly expenses. Students register on the site and list their bills. People or organizations that wish to support a student may pledge any amount of money toward a given bill. The donations are then consolidated and paid directly to the specified expense.

Photo of 2013 Musser Awards Reception
Photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University

Butler, who graduated from the School of Media and Communication in 2012 after winning IEI’s Innovative Idea Competition, has also partnered with Scholastic to create MyClassroomRegistry. Through this program, educators sign up and list their classroom needs. Supporters can contribute toward or purchase those supplies through The Scholastic Store.

Linton, chief trash collector, founder and president of United By Blue, gave a compelling overview of his company, which removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways for each item of apparel or accessories the company sells. The for-profit company is based on the idea that, “Everything from the birds to the moose and mosquito all need water to live, and in that way we are all truly ‘United By Blue,’” Linton said.

A College of Liberal Arts graduate, Linton also won the Be Your Own Boss Bowl® during his time at Temple. Since then he has been named a finalist in the Bloomberg Businessweek America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs competition and in the Wall Street Journal’s Small Business, Big Innovation contest.

To support current and future entrepreneurs, such as Bullard, Butler and Linton, proceeds from this year’s Musser Awards supported the Lewis Katz Entrepreneurship Scholarship Fund, which is especially fitting considering Katz got his start as an entrepreneur when he and fellow alumnus Bill Cosby founded an on-campus entertainment and speaker series. The Fox School will oversee the fund and use it to support student-entrepreneurs from all majors and colleges at Temple.

Just before the evening came to a close, Katz shocked the crowd of 350 regional business leaders with one final announcement – a pledge to give the university $25 million, which would represent the largest single gift in university history.

“Lewis Katz is the epitome of an entrepreneur and philanthropist who has emphasized giving back in each of his many successful business ventures,” Fox School of Business Dean M. Moshe Porat said. “To Lew, entrepreneurship and philanthropy are inextricably linked. We were proud to highlight that linkage on a night of historic proportions.”

Photio of Lewis Katz
Lewis Katz

Temple University’s Fox School of Business will award Lewis Katz, director of the Katz Foundation, with the 2013 Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership – the school’s highest honor for outstanding achievement, leadership and commitment to the community by a distinguished member of industry.

“Lewis Katz is the epitome of an entrepreneur and philanthropist who has emphasized giving back in each of his many successful business ventures,” Fox School of Business Dean M. Moshe Porat said. “To Lew, entrepreneurship and philanthropy are inextricably linked. We are so proud to enhance our nationally recognized efforts in entrepreneurship through a scholarship fund at Temple in his name.”

Katz serves on the board of trustees of Temple University, as well as the board of Temple Health System and Fox Chase Cancer Center. In his philanthropic efforts, Katz has established several programs to help children in his native Camden, N.J., and has built two Boys & Girls Clubs that serve nearly 3,000 youth annually. He has also founded two K-4 charter schools, called Katz Academies, in Camden.

Katz is the former principal owner of the New Jersey Nets and Devils, and was a former member of the NBA board of governors. He is also a founding partner of the law firm Katz, Ettin & Levine in Cherry Hill, N.J. Katz is majority owner of five radio stations in New Jersey and former chairman of Interstate Outdoor Advertising. He and a group of local investors purchased Philadelphia Media Network, which owns The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com, in 2012.

The Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership was established in honor of the achievements and entrepreneurial spirit of Warren V. “Pete” Musser. As founder of Safeguard Scientifics, and as its leader for nearly four decades, Musser formed numerous technology-oriented companies that helped create Greater Philadelphia’s reputation for technological innovation.

In addition to honoring a leading member of the region’s business community, the Musser Awards also recognize achievement among faculty, staff and students. The 2013 honorees are:

Previous Musser Award winners include Steven H. Korman, founder of Korman Communities; Joan Carter, co-founder and President of UM Holdings Ltd.; Stephen A. Cozen and Patrick J. O’Connor, Cozen O’Connor; Gerry Lenfest, president and CEO, The Lenfest Group; Ralph J. Roberts, founder, Comcast Corp.; and Dennis Alter, former chairman and CEO, Advanta Corp.

Dec. 8, 2010

Temple University’s Fox School of Business presented PNC regional president J. William Mills III with its Musser Excellence in Leadership Award at a dinner held Nov. 10 at Temple’s Mitten Hall. PNC’s commitment to early education inspired the event’s decor – tables were decorated in primary colors with children’s books as centerpieces – and a reading of a Dr. Seuss book by the event’s master of ceremonies, Tyler Mathisen of CNBC, to his 5-year-old son, Mack. The dinner’s 350 guests raised more than $300,000 for the Dean’s Fund for Excellence, which provides student scholarships.

Continue to The Philadelphia Inquirer to read more…

Media Contact: Brandon Lausch, 215-204-4115, blausch@temple.edu

William Mills III

PNC President J. William Mills III has been named the 2010 recipient of the MusserExcellence in Leadership Award, the Fox School’s highest honor for outstanding achievement, leadership and commitment to the community by a distinguished member of the business community.

“Bill Mills is one of the most visible business and civic leaders in our region,” Dean M. Moshe Porat said. “Not only is he a successful leader in one of the country’s largest financial services companies, but he is also committed to our community through many activities, including his dedicated service to Temple University.”

With more than 30 years in the financial services industry, Mills serves as the president of the Philadelphia and southern New Jersey region of PNC, overseeing 160 branches and offices, and more than 3,000 employees.

Mills joined Provident National Bank, a PNC predecessor, in 1989 as bank treasurer and president of the PNC Funding Corp. During the next 20 years, he rose to become senior vice president of Fixed-Income Investments for PNC Investment Management and Research; executive vice president in charge of Capital Markets and the bank’s Asset Liability Committee; and executive vice president in charge of PNC Wealth Management in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey. Mills has been president of the Philadelphia and southern New Jersey market since 2001.

An active presence in Greater Philadelphia, Mills serves on the board of directors of Independence Blue Cross and The Philadelphia Orchestra. He also serves on the executive committee of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Thomas Skelton Harrison Foundation and the Police Athletic League Emeritus.

From 2007 to 2009, Mills served on Temple University’s Board of Trustees. Until 2009, he was also a member of Temple Health System’s Board of Overseers. He now serves on the College of Education’s Board of Visitors.

The 14th annual Musser Excellence in Leadership Awards Dinner is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 10, in Mitten Hall. Proceeds from the event will support the Dean’s Fund for Excellence, which supports programs that add significant value to the learning experience at Fox, such as MBA programs and the Dean’s Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, which enables talented honors students to conduct meaningful research throughout their undergraduate careers.

– Staff Report