July 30, 2009
The Graduate School of Business Rothman Winter Garden looked more swank lounge than study and social area the first Friday in May. Bright red and orange tables, bar stools, curved sofas, and ottoman seats decorated the six-story glass atrium during an afternoon reception at the fifth annual Chicago Convenes, a day to thank University friends and supporters who had contributed to Chicago’s $2 billion capital campaign.
At the reception President Robert J. Zimmer and GSB Dean Ted Snyder, AM’78, PhD’84, made a landmark announcement: Charles M. Harper, MBA’50, former head of ConAgra Foods and RJR Nabisco, had made one of the largest cash donations in the GSB’s history. The school’s Hyde Park building, built in 2004 and designed by Rafael Viñoly, now would be known as the Charles M. Harper Center.
Taking the podium, Harper said that as a Chicago student he “learned about the power of markets, the power of people, and the difference between responsibility and accountability.” He thanked Zimmer,Snyder, and GSB staff members he’d met for helping to make the naming gift happen—a gift whose amount Harper preferred not to disclose. Revealing the figure, Harper told the Chicago Tribune, would be “an invitation for other people” to ask for money. Previous large gifts to the GSB include $25 million from University Trustee Dennis Keller, chair of DeVry, Inc., and $20 million from Robert Rothman, chair and chief executive of Florida Bank Group and chair of Black Diamond Group.
Earlier in the day, Zimmer had reported other big news. At the Chicago Convenes opening ceremony in Max Palevsky Cinema he greeted guests by announcing that a new campus arts center had also received a naming gift. Art supporters and philanthropists David, AB’39, JD’41, and Reva, X’43, Logan and their sons and grandchildren had given $35 million for the Reva and David Logan Center for Performing Arts, expected to open in 2011. The gift, Zimmer said, conveyed the Logans’ “commitment not only to the arts, not only to the University, but more personally to acting as a family and doing wonderful things as a family.” With the Logan and Harper donations, noted Chicago Initiative chair Andrew Alper, AB’80, MBA’81, the campaign had reached $1.84 billion, close to its goal.
By June 1 the University had chosen an architect to design the Logan Arts Center. Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, the New York–based husband-and-wife team behind the American Folk Art Museum, won a design competition among five of the world’s leading firms. Their building will stand at 60th Street and Ingleside Avenue along the Midway Plaisance.
Harper turns to high-five campaign chair Andrew Alper as Snyder and Zimmer Applaud.
$100 million odyssey begins
On May 30 the University announced its largest gift ever, $100 million, from an anonymous College alumnus. In its Sept–Oct/07 issue, theMagazine will explore how the gift—which launches a $400 million fund-raising initiative to provide new undergraduate Odyssey Scholarships—fits into higher education’s financial-aid landscape.