Honoring Service: Richard K. Sussman ’95 Receives the Ursula Gentile Lowerre Outstanding Service Award

At the recent Commencement ceremony on May 18, 2024, Franklin University Switzerland proudly honored Richard K. Sussman ’95 with the prestigious Ursula Gentile Lowerre Outstanding Service Award. Established in 2006 by the Franklin University Switzerland Board of Trustees, this award recognizes outstanding members of our alumni community for exemplary service to Franklin and for their enthusiastic leadership and support of its mission and goals. Sussman’s dedication and achievements make him a deserving recipient of this notable recognition.

A Remarkable Journey

Sussman graduated from Franklin in 1995 with a BA in Political Science and German. His academic journey continued with an MA in Organizational Management from Saybrook University and he is an alumnus of Harvard Business School having graduated from its Graduate Management Program.

Richard’s career spans across private equity, venture capital, Fortune 500 and start-ups in technology scaling revenue, tech, and capital across a diverse portfolio globally. He has run operations, IP, and revenue-generating business units at several tech/media/data companies with ~$1B market caps (The Nielsen Company, IPG, and Gracenote-Tribune Media…); as well as co-founding two venture-backed media, entertainment & e-commerce technology platforms (with respectable exits) and two venture capital funds. The first, a European-American early-stage fund, Nordic Eye VC, with a portfolio of 30+ investments worldwide returning ~700% IRR for investors, tracking top-decile fund performance and awarded Venture Capital firm of the year in the Nordics. The second, Rebel Fund, a ~80 portfolio seed stage venture fund that leverages data science and Silicon Valley’s most accomplished founders to invest in a portfolio of Y Combinator startups with the statistical power to outperform, also tracking top-decile fund performance with a 53% mark up to date. He is often interviewed and Profiled on the State of Technology by Media Publications: Los Angeles Business Journal,   TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and The Los Angeles Times. A Guest Lecturer: at UCLA, USC and has won industry awards:  Two-time recipient of ARF’s Great Mind Award, Nielsen's Best of the Best Award, Nominated as one of the 50th most influential alumni in 50 years from Franklin University Switzerland, and 2017 VC of the Year (Nordics).

Dedication to Franklin

Sussman’s commitment to Franklin extends far beyond his student years. He served as Alumni Trustee from 2005 to 2008 and a long-term member of the Alumni Council until 2018, contributing to the growth of advancement, alumni affairs, and capital projects. He co-founded the Franklin College Western Advisory Group, which re-engaged alumni in the western United States and paved the way for the current regional clubs.

Words of Wisdom

Although Sussman could not attend the ceremony due to an unexpected obligation, he shared a message of gratitude and wisdom:

“It is an honor to accept this award, especially as it’s named after such amazing champions of this school and an international education. I wish to share a few words being back here after so many adventures since my graduation in 1995. As I share with my 13-year-old son and my 16-year-old daughter, be passionate about what you do! Make good choices that you will not regret one day but do take calculated risks! Don’t focus on the micro gains without understanding the full cost of your decisions. Note that you are the average of the five people that you spend your time with… so choose wisely! Don’t expect anything without hard work, sacrifice, and commitment. No one is owed anything!

In the words of Professor Mottale, which I still remember to this very day, he shared as I was enjoying a drink or two with friends in the Grotto, ‘Take it all in, enjoy this moment as you will look back with fond memories.’ Such words were true then as equally as they are true today as it impacts everything you will do in life. Embrace the moments big and small, be present for yourself and your loved ones, and always dream big! Congratulations, Class of 2024! Thank you!”

An Inspiring Legacy

Richard Sussman’s journey from Franklin to a global career in technology and finance serves as an inspiration to all graduates. His dedication to hard work, strategic thinking, and commitment to his alma mater underscores the values that Franklin strives to instill in its students. As the recipient of the Ursula Gentile Lowerre Outstanding Service Award, Sussman’s achievements and contributions are a testament to the enduring spirit of Franklin University Switzerland and the profound impact its alumni continue to make worldwide.