F&M Stories

Robert Mullins '91: Grateful for F&M

How do you show appreciation for an institution that set you up for a successful life? A place and a group of special people that helped make you a lifelong learner, taught you what was important, and worked with you through a monthslong, life threatening illness so you could get your degree in four years?  

If you’re Robert (Rob) Mullins ’91, you give back to that organization in every way you can. “Franklin & Marshall College helped, and helped, and then helped some more,” Mullins recalls. 

“I was playing spring lacrosse when I became ill. I couldn’t play anymore. F&M made it work. For example, when I had to go home for surgery, Professor Bob Gray (Professor of Government) worked with me and later supervised a yearlong independent study during my senior year, so that I could complete outstanding coursework. There were lots of examples where they arranged things for me, not to lessen the work but to help me get it all done, and I was able to graduate on time.” 

After graduation, Mullins earned his master’s degree in international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh and later a doctorate in war studies from the University of London. He then went to work in the defense industry, serving in a variety of strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and operational roles across a more than 22-year career.

"I was a first-generation student... I started my college career at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and when I couldn’t continue there, F&M supported me in so many ways. My father and mother never had the chance to go to college and education was important to them; my giving is always to honor them."

– Robert Mullins '91

Mullins was supporting the Franklin & Marshall Fund every year, but he started to feel that he wanted to do something more for the college that had cared so much for his future.  So, in the 2009-2010 academic year, he became F&M’s first “Executive in Residence and Harris Center Fellow” for the Department of Business, Organizations & Society. At the time, he was a director of operations, strategy and development at Northrop Grumman Corp.’s Electronic Systems sector, based in Linthicum, Md.

“I was on campus a few days each month during that academic year,” he remembers, “working with faculty on strategic planning and implementation issues. I was also able to help with advising students on career and postgraduate educational opportunities, and I taught a class as a guest lecturer. I couldn’t think of a better way for me to give back to the College!” 

Mullins capped off his corporate career by serving as the senior vice president leading corporate strategy and development for Lockheed Martin.  Following a brief stint as an independent consultant, he joined CSP Associates LLC in October, a boutique commercial diligence advisory firm in the aerospace, defense and government services markets. He joined CSP as a senior managing director, leading all facets of CSP’s strategic and transaction advisory practices, including business development, client relationship management and transaction execution. 

Today, Mullins continues to give back to Franklin & Marshall College. He is a member of the Franklin & Marshall Leadership Council and he helped to plan his class’s 20th reunion. He still gives to the Franklin & Marshall Fund and other College priorities every year. And, in June, he and his wife, Suzanne, made a $200,000 pledge to the Franklin & Marshall Fund. 

“I was a first-generation student,” Mullins says. “I started my college career at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and when I couldn’t continue there, F&M supported me in so many ways. My father and mother never had the chance to go to college and education was important to them; my giving is always to honor them.” 

With his slightly unconventional F&M education, what did Mullins learn about life’s truths? “I would tell today’s students that you don’t want to be one-dimensional,” he says. “Take advantage (of everything F&M has to offer) and come out of school multidimensional… manage your career but also spend time just learning.” 

Related Articles

July 18, 2024

Success Beyond F&M: ‘I Owe a Lot to the Foundation I Built at F&M’

At F&M, Maggie Corson ’23 studied public health on the sociology track. Today, Corson is pursuing a master’s of science in health and the public interest at Georgetown University. “My master's program has been an incredibly rewarding experience, and I owe a lot of that to the foundation I built at F&M,” she said.

July 12, 2024

Two Alumni Earn Prestigious Foreign Affairs Fellowship

Lam Tran ’21 and Munahil Sultana ’24 will begin their careers in global diplomacy this fall through the prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship Program.

July 11, 2024

Success Beyond F&M: ‘I Am So Thankful That 17-Year-Old Me Decided to Attend F&M’

Sydney Dzenutis ’23 has been busy gaining professional experience in the sports world with the Columbus Crew, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Orioles. "F&M helped further not only my basic knowledge of the business world, but also honed my ability to take on new challenges, learn on the fly and use multiple perspectives to solve problems," Dzenutis said.