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Venerable Financier Honored for Dedication to Students

Richard Hocker.

Richard Hocker, KSB/BS ’68, KSB/MBA ’70, knows that schools need support from their community, whether they are teaching middle schoolers or college students.

His commitment to supporting the students of institutions that he once called home, and to underprivileged children in Philadelphia, has earned him American University’s 2010 Alumni Recognition Award.

The award is bestowed on an alumnus or alumna who inspires the world through service to the community. Hocker will be honored at the Alumni Awards Ceremony on campus on October 23.

Hocker, the founder and CIO of Penn Capital Management Co., has enjoyed an illustrious career in investment management and strategy. His Philadelphia-based firm, which he founded in 1987, specializes in managing high-yield, fixed-income and micro- to mid-capitalization equity portfolios.

He has been a diligent and longtime supporter of both his alma maters – American University and the Valley Forge Military Academy.

The family foundation he founded, named after his mother, Ethel Mae, provides scholarships for disadvantaged youth to attend schools they otherwise couldn’t afford – such as Valley Forge.

“We’re [also] working on the schools in the neighborhoods where these kids live, in the Philadelphia metropolitan area,” he explains.

“Unfortunately, many students in the public school system are not equipped even to be in high school – so we’re focusing on secondary education as well as getting them to college.”

And when they do get to college, Hocker is an advocate for a business education.

“I’m interested in supporting the [Kogod] business school, so I can help them get an education where they can eventually get a job,” he says, adding that a business degree is both a pragmatic and honorable one. “Capitalism is a key part of our society, and key to our success and freedom in America.”

A generous contributor to the Kogod building expansion, Hocker and his company continue to support two Bloomberg terminals in the new state-of-the-art Financial Services lab, ensuring students have access to the tools they need to succeed in a modern business environment.

The graduate of Kogod’s bachelor’s in Accounting program is also pleased that the undergraduate degree was newly reintroduced.

“I always felt that if you wanted a degree of substance in the business school, Accounting was the one,” he recalled. “It gave you the tools for everything you do in business – balance sheets, financial statements.”

While he modestly credits a Zeta Beta Tau fraternity brother with keeping him connected to AU, he recently visited a 95 year-old former professor who now resides in Venice, Italy.

“Dr. Richard Rush was an inspiration to me,” remembers Hocker –- a man whose generosity has surely served as an inspiration to many others.