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Penn State Smeal faculty member J. Randall Woolridge honored with $1 million named professorship

March 8, 2021
Penn State Smeal faculty member J. Randall Woolridge honored with $1 million named professorship

Randy Woolridge, the Goldman, Sachs and Co. and Frank P. Smeal University Fellow, has been a driving force behind the Penn State Smeal College of Business Nittany Lion Fund.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State alumni and longtime benefactors Dave and Tricia Rogers have made a $1 million commitment to create the J. Randall Woolridge Professorship in Finance in the Smeal College of Business.

The professorship, named for longtime Smeal faculty member J. Randall “Randy” Woolridge, the Goldman, Sachs and Co. and Frank P. Smeal University Fellow, will help Smeal recruit and retain exceptional faculty members in finance.

Dave Rogers called faculty support a priority for the couple.

“The biggest and best thing you can do for students is give them good instruction, good teachers, and good counsel. If our students aren’t being taught by people with the right knowledge and skills, and with the right kind of commitment, then it’s all going to be for naught,” he said.

Dean Charles H. Whiteman said that the Rogers have been integral to Smeal’s success in launching students’ careers on Wall Street.

“I am grateful for their support. The Rogers’ philanthropy — which includes the Rogers Family Trading Room, faculty support, student scholarships, and support for construction of the Business Building — has helped make Smeal one of the most respected sources of new investment banking talent,” Whiteman said. “Their gift to create the J. Randall Woolridge Professorship in Finance is yet another signal of their ongoing commitment to our students and our pursuit of academic excellence.”

Rogers earned both a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA from Smeal in 1978 and 1980, respectively. He founded his own investment firm, J.D. Capital Management — a private investment portfolio structured as a limited partnership — in 2001. Prior to that he was a partner at Goldman, Sachs & Co. where he served on the Equity Division Operating Committee, was head of Equities Division Trading and Risk Management, and a former co-head of Global Equity Derivatives.

He received the MBA Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award in 1995, the Alumni Fellow Award in 2000, and the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2017.

Rogers said that he believes that as the beneficiary of a great education, he has an obligation to share his time and talent with the University. He is currently a member of the Smeal Board of Visitors, the Nittany Lion Fund Advisory Board, and the Penn State Investment Council.

Tricia Rogers earned her bachelor’s degree from Penn State in mechanical engineering in 1979. She worked for PPG Industries and Clairol, Inc. and went on to earn an MBA from the University of Connecticut. She left Clairol in 1985 to focus on raising the couple’s two children, both of whom are Smeal graduates, and to volunteer for nonprofit organizations in the Stamford, Connecticut, area.

Dave Rogers said that the decision to name the professorship after Woolridge was an easy one.

Woolridge, who earned a Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Iowa in 1979, has taught at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive MBA level for more than 40 years.

He has published more than 35 articles in leading academic and professional journals, including the Journal of Finance and the Journal of Financial Economics. He has been cited in Harvard Business Review, the New York Times, The Economist, Barron’s, Fortune, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications.

He is director of the Rogers Family Trading Room, president and CEO of the Nittany Lion Fund, LLC, and faculty advisor to Leveraged Lion Capital, the nation’s first student-run syndicated loan and high-yield bond paper portfolio.

“Randy has been the lifeblood of Smeal’s Wall Street initiatives from the beginning. From recruiting the right people at the start, to the ways he drives our students to be successful, to the way he advocates for time and resources from Smeal’s vast network of alumni, he’s been integral to the success of the program. Tricia and I wanted our gift to reflect the value that Randy brings to the program,” Rogers said.

Woolridge said that he was stunned to learn that the Rogers’ named the professorship after him.

“What an honor,” Woolridge said. “Our program is what it is because of Dave and Tricia. Their vision and their philanthropy, which includes their support and leadership in the creation of the Nittany Lion Fund, have changed our college for the better and dramatically enhanced student opportunities on Wall Street. I am humbled by their gesture.”

Rogers said that he and Tricia are thrilled to play a part in Smeal’s long-term success.

“Tricia and I are proud to support excellence in education and a path to Wall Street for Smeal students,” he said. “When I think about the future, I hope my grandchildren will walk into the trading room as Penn State students one day and say ‘Wow. This has been important for decades, and now I get to be a part of it, too.’ That would be a great legacy.”

This gift 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 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 serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

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