Over the weekend, Cornell University‘s recently formed College of Business announced it has received a gift of $150 million from alumnus Fisk Johnson and SC Johnson—the largest single gift to Cornell’s Ithaca campus and the second largest gift to name a U.S. business school.
The College of Business comprises the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, the School of Hotel Administration, and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.
In recognition of this historic gift and the Johnson family’s extraordinary, multi-generational legacy of leadership and philanthropy to Cornell, the Cornell University Board of Trustees has approved renaming the college the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.
“Cornell University has been a part of my family for more than 120 years,” said Fisk Johnson, SC Johnson chairman and CEO, and a Cornell trustee emeritus. “I hope this gift will serve as a significant catalyst to help grow the reach and impact of Cornell’s College of Business. The goal is to strengthen the College of Business overall, while enhancing its three individual schools and the qualities that make each exceptional.”
Two-thirds of the gift, $100 million, will be used to create a permanent endowment to support the college’s highest ambitions. In the near term, the endowment will provide flexibility for faculty recruitment and retention in Ithaca and New York City; increase the college’s competitiveness for top students through expanded scholarship resources; and develop and expand programs in and outside of Ithaca.
These funds will enable new interdisciplinary research initiatives in areas that leverage and enhance the college’s and Cornell’s research strengths – particularly in the areas of sustainability and technology.
The remaining $50 million of the gift will be used as a current-use challenge grant to leverage philanthropic support from others on a 1:3 basis, allowing the college to raise an additional $150 million in endowment and bring the total potential impact of the gift to $300 million. The challenge will have a special focus on faculty and student support, while also promoting innovative programs. Endowment gifts for the college’s three schools or the college broadly will be eligible for the challenge.
“This extraordinary gift will further that goal by creating more diverse and rigorous learning and research opportunities for both faculty and students across the college’s three accredited business programs,” said Soumitra Dutta, dean of the college. “It also will help enhance the unique characteristics and strengths of each and support our mission to realize the full potential of Cornell’s business programs.”
Each of the three schools maintains its distinct identity and mission, Dutta said, while collectively benefiting from these substantial new resources. Already, the college’s combined faculty from the three partner schools gives it the third-largest business faculty in the country.