Penn State alumnus and philanthropist Lewis Gold has passed away

Lewis and Karen Gold rode in the Penn State Homecoming parade several years ago. A 1959 liberal arts alumnus, Lew passed away on March 9, 2020. Credit: Courtesy of the Richards CenterAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State mourns the loss of alumnus and longtime supporter Lewis Gold, formerly of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, who died on March 9, 2020. He was 82.

Gold graduated with a bachelor’s degree in arts and letters from the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts in 1959. He went on to earn his juris doctorate from Villanova University, after which he enjoyed a nearly 50-year law career, first serving as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in the Attorney General’s Honors Program and then rising to preeminence as attorney, partner and then president of the top-rated law firm Adelman Lavine Gold & Levin. In 2007, the firm merged with Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, a national law firm, where Gold completed his career.

Gold was an enthusiastic and highly active volunteer for Penn State, serving in a variety of leadership and philanthropic roles. He joined the Penn State Alumni Council in 1995 as the representative from the College of the Liberal Arts Alumni Society, eventually becoming president of the Penn State Alumni Association from 2005 to 2007. He received the Outstanding Alumni Council Member Award from the Penn State Alumni Association in 2009. In 2008, he and his wife, Karen, endowed a staff recognition award for the Alumni Association.

“During Lew Gold’s time as president, the Alumni Association made great strides in membership, provided increased support to our academic colleges and Penn State campuses, and engaged more Penn Staters than ever had been before,” said Paul Clifford, associate vice president and chief executive officer of the Penn State Alumni Association. “He made a tremendous impact, both during his tenure with the Alumni Association and across the University. He will be deeply missed, but his spirit will live on through the award bearing his and Karen’s name.”

In the College of the Liberal Arts, Gold was a longtime member of the Liberal Arts Alumni Society Board, serving as its president from 1995 to 1998. He also was founding member and past vice chair of the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center Board of Visitors, where he served for two decades until his passing. He and Karen made generous contributions to Jewish Studies, the Humanities Institute, and other liberal arts initiatives and endowed a graduate fellowship in the Richards Civil War Era Center.

To recognize Gold’s many contributions, the College of the Liberal Arts presented Gold with its Service to Penn State Award in 2001 and named him as one of twenty Centennial Fellows during the 100th anniversary of the founding of the college in 2009.

In addition to making generous contributions to the College of the Liberal Arts and the Penn State Alumni Association, the Golds supported other units across the University including the Libraries, Four Diamonds, and the Penn State Hillel Endowment.

“Lew Gold was one of a kind — an unabashed cheerleader for all things Penn State and one of the warmest people I’ve had the privilege to know,” said William Blair, Ferree Professor Emeritus and director emeritus of the Richards Center. “He was among the handful of pioneer donors who supported an initiative that was, at the time, more dream than reality. The generosity by him and his wife, Karen, provided much needed confidence that we could someday succeed in our endeavors. His humor, kindness, intelligence, and enthusiasm will be dearly missed.”

“Lew Gold was such a wonderful member of our Richards Center community,” added Rachel Shelden, director of the Richards Center. “So many of us were touched by his kindness and generosity — from the founding of the center itself and in all of our tours, events, and email exchanges since. We will greatly miss Lew's joy, his wit, and his deep intellectual curiosity.”

“Signs of Lew Gold’s impact are everywhere at Penn State,” said Clarence Lang, Susan Welch Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts. “He was wonderfully admired as a volunteer and generous philanthropist, and his loss will be felt deeply in the Richards Center, the Humanities Institute, and across campus. On behalf of the College of the Liberal Arts and the entire Penn State community, I extend my sincerest condolences to Karen and the rest of his family.”

Last Updated July 28, 2020