Early and Often

Warren Lichtenstein, C’87, has established two challenge funds to encourage alumni to make giving a life-long habit.

Monday, May 6, 2019

By Lauren Rebecca Thacker

Conventional wisdom holds that it takes time and effort to form a habit. Warren Lichtenstein, C’87, is in the habit of giving, and he’s established two challenge funds to help others grow their own philanthropic tendencies and support Penn Arts & Sciences. “The joy of giving, he says, “can easily become a lifelong practice.”


Warren Lichtenstein, C’87



Lichtenstein’s challenge funds bolster two types of gifts: scholarship gifts from young alumni and recurring gifts to the Arts & Sciences Annual Fund.

The Warren Lichtenstein Young Alumni Scholarship Challenge Fund provides a full match for gifts of $75,000 for endowed financial support from alumni who completed their undergraduate degree within the past 10 years. “I believe that through early involvement in philanthropy, young people will make giving a part of their lives as they grow and gain success,” he explains. “Giving is especially meaningful when you see the funds help other students realize their dreams of a college education.” Each scholarship created by the initial gift and matching funds will support a student in the College of Arts & Sciences every year.

The second fund is available to donors who make a five-year commitment to the Arts & Sciences Annual Fund. New or existing donors who pledge $1,500 every year will see that amount matched by the Warren Lichtenstein Arts & Sciences Challenge Fund. The match will raise donors’ yearly impact to $2,500, qualifying them for inclusion in the Benjamin Franklin Society (BFS). BFS honors Penn’s most generous supporters of unrestricted annual giving funds across the University.

I’ve always believed that a liberal arts education gives you the ability to explore many subjects, rather than becoming highly specialized at a young age.

It’s important for Lichtenstein that the challenge funds provide direct support to Arts & Sciences because he’s a proponent of the broad education the School provides. “I’ve always believed that a liberal arts education gives you the ability to explore many subjects, rather than becoming highly specialized at a young age,” he says. “Having a breadth of knowledge in different subjects was instrumental to my development and provided a solid foundation as I started out in my career.”

“We are grateful for Warren’s gift, which not only supports financial aid and other priority areas but also inspires the engagement of other alumni and friends,” says Steven J. Fluharty, Dean of Penn Arts & Sciences and Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience. “His generosity will impact many initiatives and will particularly help us meet the increasing needs of students for whom a Penn education would not be possible without scholarship aid.”

Lichtenstein earned his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1987 and is Founder and Executive Chairman of Steel Partners Holdings L.P., a global diversified holding company that engages in multiple businesses. He also serves as Executive Chairman of Steel Connect, Ltd. and Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. He has supported various initiatives at the University, including The Penn Fund and undergraduate scholarships, for more than 15 years.

Looking back on his time as a student in the College, Lichtenstein says that lessons continue to resonate. “There was a sociology professor who challenged us to look deeper at personal relationships and human behavior,” he remembers. “That really stuck with me. It’s more important than ever to examine our own behavior and to value interaction and participation when developing meaningful relationships.”



Lisa Hershman, C’01, and Joshua Hershman, C’99, and a member of the Arts & Sciences Ambassador Council, participated in the Warren Lichtenstein Arts & Sciences Challenge Fund because they believe that giving directly to the School is the best way to support the liberal arts education they so deeply value. “It's important to us that the College remain a place where students and faculty freely explore critical perspectives,” Lisa explains. Joshua agrees, adding, “Regular giving to the Arts & Sciences Annual Fund provides the School with the reliability to meet ongoing commitments and flexibility to transform challenges into opportunities.”


To learn more about the Warren Lichtenstein Young Alumni Scholarship Challenge Fund and Warren Lichtenstein Arts & Sciences Challenge Fund, please contact Laura Weber, Assistant Vice Dean of Advancement, at lweber@sas.upenn.edu.