A Force for Leadership
Businesses across every industry and sector, in Minnesota and around the world, are demanding innovative, adaptable, globally minded workers—the kinds of budding professionals who study at the Carlson School.
To find the types of leaders in the making who will shape the business landscape in the decades to come, the Carlson School must attract and nurture high-performing and high-potential students, regardless of their financial means. Our student body should also reflect the world in which our graduates will work and live after earning their degrees.
New funding for scholarships and fellowships will strengthen the Carlson School’s place as a force for leadership, helping us recruit in-demand students who will create ideas and solutions to benefit their organizations and communities.
ECMC Group, a Minneapolis-based non-profit with a mission to help students recognize and realize their potential by investing in, creating and providing innovative education solutions, has partnered with the Carlson School of Management and the University of Minnesota to launch a fellowship program supporting graduate students pursuing social entrepreneurship projects in post-secondary education. The first fellows were named in February 2020.
"As an organization focused on driving innovation in postsecondary education, we are excited to develop the next generation of leaders while supporting their advancements to the space for years to come," said Jeremy Wheaton, president and CEO of ECMC Group.
The John DePodesta Leadership Fellowship Program is designed for graduate students in business, public policy, sociology or education, who will have the ability to test or develop plans to launch a new venture or co-design new programs in partnership with existing educational organizations that seek to improve the quality of postsecondary education. Initial feasibility grants are awarded to up to four students annually, with the potential of subsequent launch grants for projects which prove to be particularly promising.
The fellowship program established by ECMC Group honors John DePodesta, who spent 25 years working to help students succeed as a founding member of their board and past Chair of ECMC Group.
"Education is a transformative tool that can generate positive change while significantly impacting the lives of future generations," said DePodesta. "I am honored by this Fellowship and look forward to being inspired by the solutions it uncovers."Education is a transformative tool that can generate positive change while significantly impacting the lives of future generations.
Shailendra Palvia MBA ’77, PhD ’86 has spent his entire career - from the time he was a graduate student at the University of Minnesota’s business school to the present – in the field of Management Information Systems. He has been a faculty member at Kent State University, Babson College in Massachusetts, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and now Long Island University, where he has been a tenured professor for more than twenty years.
Notwithstanding his long and productive academic career, it was a challenging road for Palvia on the way toward completing the requirements of the PhD program. He credits Norm Chervany, now Carlson Professor of Information and Decision Sciences - Emeritus in the Carlson School of Management, with helping him to achieve his goal, and ultimately his long career in the field.
Says Palvia, “I went through a few challenges during my PhD studies at the University. Professor Chervany has been all along a top notch mentor and adviser.”
Rajkumari MS ’81, Shailendra’s wife, also completed graduate level work in Statistics at the U, and herself enjoyed a distinguished career as an actuary. She retired in 2015 as Director of the Actuarial Division for Prudential.
It was around that time that the couple decided it was time to give back to the University that helped to shape their careers. The Palvias have funded a term scholarship for upper division MIS students at the Carlson School. The Carlson School’s MIS program has consistently been ranked a leader in the field since the founding of the department in 1968. This funding allows the school to continue to train promising MIS students, who will in turn become leaders in the field, just as Shailendra Palvia has.
Most fittingly, the Palvias have made the gift in honor of Professor Chervany, who has been affiliated with the Carlson School for more than 50 years, starting at the U one year before the MIS program officially came into being.
Learn more about Carlson’s Management Information Systems program here.
When Amy Richard, a Carlson School junior majoring in accounting, was trying to decide where she would spend the next four years of her life, she was torn between two schools.
But after visiting the University of Minnesota’s campus, seeing the business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi up close, and most importantly, being awarded an Alpha Kappa Psi Scholarship, the choice became easy for Richard.
"The AKPsi Scholarship Fund helped me make my decision to come to the Carlson School of Management,” Richard says. “I've always wanted to come to Carlson, but was worried about the financial burden that comes with a top business school. With this scholarship, I was able to come to my dream school and lessen the financial obligation that came along with it."
Now in its 30th year, the Alpha Kappa Psi Scholarship Fund has helped more than 275 Carlson School students pay for their education. Originally founded by a gift from Dick Perrine, ’76 BSB, the scholarship funds tuition for high-caliber Carlson School undergraduate and graduate students, as well as paid housing for select upperclassmen.
In those three decades of service, the fund has awarded nearly $2 million in scholarship money. For this academic year, the group awarded $155,000 to eight incoming freshman and 30 upperclassmen.
“We think that smart, involved students with good ethics are really going to drive everything the Carlson School stands for,” says Executive Director Laura Murphy.
The scholarship fund is unique to the Twin Cities chapter. The group does robust fundraising throughout the year, with most of the money coming from alumni of the co-ed business fraternity. In three decades of work, more than 400 people have donated to the cause, and have helped grow the scholarship fund's endowment to $2 million.
“I’m so incredibly proud of what our alumni have been able to do,” Murphy says. “This is life-changing money for students, and we hear often how these scholarships help students choose to come to the Carlson School. With a strong endowment, I expect we will continue to give scholarships for another 30 years and beyond.”
The work is near and dear to Murphy’s heart. She was a scholarship recipient herself, and says her time in the fraternity helped mold her into the leader she is today.
“The scholarship really helped pay for school and helped me make friends that I’m still close with today,” she says. “It was formative in terms of getting me connected and helping me find my place on campus.”
The Alpha Kappa Psi scholarships include several named awards for prominent donors who have left a lasting impact on the fund, including Tom Burnett, Jr., '86 BSB, an Alpha Kappa Psi alum who died on September 11, 2001, when United Flight 93 crashed into the ground in Pennsylvania. Burnett and three other passengers are credited with helping take down the plane so it avoided its intended target. A golf tournament is held each year in Tom’s name and has raised over $30,000 toward Alpha Kappa Psi scholarships.
Students who receive these scholarships do not have to become a member of Alpha Kappa Psi’s student chapter to qualify for the awards.I've always wanted to come to Carlson, but was worried about the financial burden that comes with a top business school. With this scholarship, I was able to come to my dream school and lessen the financial obligation that came along with it.
When Amanda Freeberg Donovan met the students she supported, she was overjoyed.
In memory of her late grandfather, Freeberg Donovan gifted fellowship dollars to support both undergraduate students and military veteran MBA students.
It was during last fall’s visit to the Carlson School during the Veterans Day gala when she was able to meet the service members her gift had supported. To her, seeing all the students she and her foundation had helped made a lasting impact.
“It was really impressive to hear their stories and hear about their accomplishments,” she says. “To be there and be able to meet them in person and have them say ‘thank you’ was really rewarding. You can see, just from some of the students we talked to, that we were able to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of their families.”
Freeberg Donovan is the executive director of the Don and Lorraine Freeberg Foundation. The foundation, which was founded by her grandparents in 1990, supports organizations focusing on education, healthcare, children, and veterans. The foundation takes the namesake of Freeberg Donovan’s grandparents, Don and Lorraine.
Both Don and Lorraine Freeberg were graduates of the University, with Don Freeberg graduating with degrees in both business administration and electrical engineering. After a short time at IBM, Don Freeberg develop his own real estate development company, crediting much of his success to his education at the Carlson School.
“All the things he learned while he was there and the experiences he had helped shape his future successes as a businessman,” Freeberg Donovan said.
Before coming to the Carlson School, Don Freeberg served as an aviation cadet in the Navy.
When Freeberg Donovan heard about the Carlson School’s commitment to getting more military veterans into the MBA program, she thought it was a natural fit, and donated fellowships to support those students.
“The Veterans MBA program at the Carlson School is fantastic with the different opportunities the veterans get for getting a great education and all the companies in the Minneapolis area that work with them,” Freeberg Donovan says.
Freeberg Donovan says she one thing her grandfather felt passionately about was supporting military veterans when they returned from service. His feelings were that service members had the skills that could translate to the business world and their future career bath, but they needed some help getting started with a degree, such as an MBA.
“My grandfather always felt it was very important to give back to the service members who had made sacrifices to help protect the country,” she says. “He said there were a lot of skills they learned during their time they were serving in the armed forces that could really benefit businesses.”My grandfather always felt it was very important to give back to the service members who had made sacrifices to help protect the country. He said there were a lot of skills they learned during their time they were serving in the armed forces that could really benefit businesses.