ATLANTA-Richard H. “Rick” Lenny (B.B.A. ’74), chairman, president and CEO of The Hershey Company, and his wife Susan have pledged $750,000 towards a $1 million endowment at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. The total gift will be presented to the college this year and will lead to the creation of the Richard and Susan Lenny Distinguished Chair in Marketing. The endowment will include $250,000 in matching funds from the College.

“We are extremely grateful to the Lennys for this generous gift and their continued support of the J. Mack Robinson College of Business,” said H. Fenwick Huss, Robinson dean. “Recruiting high-caliber faculty has always been a priority at Robinson and this endowment will help us attract another nationally recognized scholar to complement the 26 outstanding, full-time professors we already have within the college’s marketing department.”

Lenny, a Robinson alumnus, is the first CEO in Hershey’s history to be hired from outside the company. Earlier this year, Barron’s named him one of the 30 “World’s Most Respected CEOs.” He is credited with substantially increasing the value of the company and extending Hershey’s reach beyond confectionery into the $60 billion snack market. In 2004, Brandweek named him “Marketer of the Year.”

Prior to joining Hershey, Lenny served as President, Nabisco Biscuit Company.  Following Kraft’s acquisition of Nabisco in 2000, he was Group Vice President of Kraft Foods and President, Nabisco Biscuit and Snacks.  He currently serves on the boards of McDonald’s Corporation and Sunoco, Inc., Hershey Trust Company, Milton Hershey School, Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business, and the Alumni Advisory Board of Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. He also is Chairman of the Board of the Grocery Manufacturers of America.

“Susan and I are honored to be able to give back to Georgia State University and the Robinson College of Business,” said Lenny. “From my experience at Robinson, I know that exceptional faculty and students are the catalysts for any great program. We’re pleased that our commitment will assist in recruiting the very best faculty to the marketing department and the College.