When this successful businessman-turned-philanthropist visited his alma mater, he was deeply impressed by the changes the College of Business had implemented since his graduation in 1967.
I know what the college was like when I was there. I look at what the college is like now and I say, “Wow. They’ve done a lot.” There’s a stock ticker running in the lobby. The classes were very much different. It was just nice to see the progress they had made.
As a business owner himself, this donor understood that successes like these don’t happen without strong leadership. On his several campus visits, he was able to meet the dean and learn about his vision for the future of the college. He then became so confident in that vision that he decided to fund a chair—not for faculty, but for the dean specifically, so that he would be able to accomplish some of his own initiatives.
Leadership and ethics are two things that I’ve tried to use throughout my business career. I believe very strongly in them. I was very pleased to see that the things the dean was doing were along those lines. And I thought, well, maybe I can help further that along a little bit.
Because the future of the College of Business is important to this donor, he became deeply involved in the process of negotiating his family’s philanthropic contribution. He exchanged proposals with the team from the college and together they agreed on a contract. His business acumen helped him ensure that the chair would be used the way he had envisioned.
It gives you satisfaction if you can see the money being used for a worthwhile process and that it’s not just going an overhead where the 20 cents out of every dollar ultimately gets there and 80 cents goes to overhead. That’s not what I want to invest in. I want to see the money get used properly.
This donor felt confident that his alma mater was indeed using the contribution in the way he intended. In fact, he arranged to receive annual business reports on the chair he endowed so that he can see everything that his contribution has accomplished. He and his wife felt that they were investing in opportunity, and the outcomes they have observed caused them to feel proud of and pleased with their investment.
And it’s good to be able to see your money used nicely. And it’s rewarding to see a smile on someone’s face. To see that you’ve helped a person graduate—that’s nice. We may have helped some young student graduate who goes on to be the president of a company, and he or she wouldn’t have had that opportunity to graduate if we hadn’t provided that money for that opportunity.
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