Sam Richards, Ph.D.

Sam is a senior lecturer in Sociology at the Pennsylvania State University and Co-director of the Race Relations Project.


Dr. Sam Richards is a sociologist and award-winning teacher who has been inspiring undergraduate students at Penn State since 1990. Most notably Dr. Richards reshaped a class on race relations, taking it from one of the least popular in the Liberal Arts College to one of the most popular courses campus-wide and the largest of its kind in the nation. Every year, 1,000 students have the opportunity to re-examine the world and their place in it from a socio-cultural perspective. Although Dr. Richards is most recognized for his abilities in the classroom, many know him as an alliance builder who connects people and organizations to one another in ways that strengthen their mutual goals.

Sam is also co-director of the Race Relations Project at Penn State. The work of this endeavor centers around a small group of trained undergraduate students who facilitate open-ended conversations with their peers on the topic of race relations. The project's mission is to create an ideologically neutral environment for dialogue where individuals can voice their unscripted true concerns about race relations. Each year over 6,000 Penn State students participate in one of nearly 800 RRP conversations on the Penn State University Park campus.