The Campaign for the Carlson School of Management
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Driven News

Updates on the Campaign

In the fall of 2017, the Carlson School launched Driven. The Campaign for the Carlson School of ManagementThrough the $150 million Driven campaign, the Carlson School sets a bold vision to surpass all standards of excellence for the betterment of Minnesota, the nation, and the world. We strive to provide supporters of the Driven campaign, like you, on the latest Campaign news.

CARLSON SCHOOL GIFTS TOTAL $38 MILLION, SETTING NEW RECORD

Lawrence Murphy, ’19 MBA, and his wife had a child right before he started the MBA program.

With the price of an education and his growing family weighing on his mind, he wondered how he could make it all work out financially.

That all changed around Christmas, however, when he got a call saying he was awarded a fellowship to the Carlson School of Management.

“I remember that call very distinctly because I forwarded it to my wife,” Murphy recalls. “She said she cried when she heard the voicemail because of all the opportunities that it afforded us. Because of the fellowship, we didn’t have to move, we could stay here in the Twin Cities, and the debt burden would be so much lower. Now, I don’t have to think about different career paths. I can go after the thing that I want to go after.”

Murphy, and many students like him, rely on generous donors to make their education opportunities happen.

This past fiscal year, Carlson School donors came together to raise a record-breaking $38 million to support student financial aid, transformational experiential-learning, faculty funding, and research initiatives.

“It is amazing to see our alumni and friends come together and support the Carlson School in this record-breaking year,” Carlson School Dean Sri Zaheer says. “We are competing against the best business schools in the world for faculty talent and top students. This campaign is designed to ensure that we not only compete, but win these battles.”

The Carlson School is in the midst of its $150 million Driven campaign, which kicked off its public phase on October 28, 2017and runs through June 30, 2021. The school already has raised $120 million—about 79 percent of the goal—as of June 30.

Highlights from the record-breaking 2017-18 include:

  • A $9.6 million anonymous corporate gift to support student scholarships and the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship. The gift represents the largest corporate gift ever to the Carlson School.
  • A $6 million gift from Brian Gerhardson, ’86 BSB, to support scholarships and students who identify with LGBTQ+ causes.
  • Nine women gave more than $800,000 to help establish WE*, a new initiative from the Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship to support women entrepreneurs.
  • 115 new members joined the Investor’s Circle, the Carlson School’s annual giving society for donors of $2,500 or more annual.
  • On Give to the Max Day, an annual event that raises money for Minnesota organizations, 227 donors helped raise more than $186,000.

The majority of the year’s gifts supported students and the transformative experiences that enrich their time at the University. Donors gave more than $7.2 million to support undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, bringing the school to 348 scholarship funds, 264 of which are endowed. These gifts enable the school to attract high-performing and high-potential students, regardless of financial means, including students such as Murphy.

Once at the school, investments into the Carlson School’s experiential-learning programs challenge students to think critically while developing a global mindset and entrepreneurial spirit desired by today’s top companies.

The school’s record fundraising year came from 2,305 total donors, including 483 people who had never given to the school before. Within that, 37 percent of donors gave less than $100.

“This goes to show that every gift—no matter how big or small—when added together, helps make a major impact on our students, faculty, and staff,” says Travis Smith, assistant dean for Carlson School Institutional Advancement. “Every one of our alumni and friends can make a difference and help make the Carlson School one of the best business schools in the world."

We are competing against the best business schools in the world for faculty talent and top students. This campaign is designed to ensure that we not only compete, but win these battles.

Dean Sri Zaheer

CARLSON SCHOOL RECEIVES $10 MILLION FROM CARLSON FAMILY FOUNDATION

Renewing its commitment to excellence in global business leadership, the Carlson Family Foundation has made a transformational investment of $10 million to the Carlson School of Management.

The gift, along with others the Carlson family has made since 2012, brings their total giving to the school to more than $15 million and makes the Carlson Family the biggest donors to date to the Carlson School's Driven campaign.

This new investment will help the school expand and enhance the work it does through the Carlson Global Institute, and support its efforts to bring the world to Minnesota and Minnesota to the world. In recognition of the family’s ongoing generosity and in reflection of the school’s commitment to produce global leaders, the institute will be renamed the Carlson Global Leadership Institute.

The institute includes a profile in 34 countries through student exchanges, faculty-led programs, internships, Global Executive MBA, partnerships, and more.

“The Carlson family’s commitment to the University began in 1932, the year my grandfather, Curt Carlson, enrolled as a freshman,” says Wendy Nelson, board chair of the Carlson Family Foundation and a co-chair of the Driven campaign, as well as a member of the Carlson School Board of Overseers. “Over the years and into our fourth generation, our commitment and our belief that the success of the University and Minnesotans are directly linked, has only gained strength. With this gift, three successive generations stand with Minnesota, the University, and the Carlson School in partnership to cement the school’s position as a leading business school with a global reach and a powerful purpose—Business as a Force for Good.”

This recent gift is among the largest gifts to the Carlson School since Curt Carlson made his commitment of $25 million to the University in 1986. Carlson family philanthropy now stands at more than $68 million in gifts to the University, ranking the family as its largest individual contributor.

“The foundation laid by Curt Carlson over 30 years ago propelled the Carlson School to the global stage,” University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler says. “This gift will advance the Carlson School’s capacity for global leadership and have far-reaching benefits for students, faculty, our vibrant business community, and our partners around the world.”

Curt Carlson's groundbreaking 1986 gift ushered in a new era of philanthropic support for the school. Donors since have helped construct two new facilities, establish more than 200 new endowed scholarship funds, and created 42 endowed faculty positions. As a result, the Carlson's School's enrollment has nearly tripled, and its faculty are ranked among the best in the world.

“For over 60 years, the Carlson family has been our partner, allowing us to achieve greater capacity to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving and growing global marketplace,” Carlson School Dean Sri Zaheer says. “Today’s Carlson School graduates have each had an international experience as part of their academic requirements and are well positioned to look ahead and shape the future.”

With this gift, three successive generations stand with Minnesota, the University, and the Carlson School in partnership to cement the school’s position as a leading business school with a global reach and a powerful purpose—Business as a Force for Good.

Wendy Nelson

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