The University Record, October 16, 2000

Business School, SNRE receive $2.5 million from Dow Foundation

By Barbara Weber
Office of the Vice President for Development

With new business strategies and savvy needed in the emerging “green world,” the School of Business Administration and School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) are working together to foster ecologically sustainable commerce. Scientists and scholars have received a boost with a major gift by the Dow Chemical Company Foundation. The $2.5 million gift will help secure the University’s global leadership position in the teaching and research of ecological management.

This gift further exemplifies the strong partnership the University and Dow Chemical have enjoyed over the years, not only in financial support but also in research initiatives. Strong ties between Michigan and Dow also are evident through the continuous recruitment of graduates, with approximately 600 alumni employed by the company today.

At a recent luncheon, the University recognized the company and the Foundation for exceptional support and partnership over the years that have resulted in more than $10 million in total gifts. Only 25 other major donors have achieved the Marion L. Burton level of cumulative giving, the highest level of recognition at the University. Dow Chemical Company Business President Bob Wood, a U-M alumnus and former football player, accepted the honor.

“Dow is proud to be associated in this very tangible way with one of the nation’s premier universities,” Wood said. “Our long history of developing mutually beneficial collaborations has resulted in tremendous value creation for the University, Dow and the public. This gift allows us to continue building on that solid foundation. Sustainability of our resources for future generations will continue to be an area of emphasis for our businesses, and this gift is just another example of that commitment.”

Of the $2.5 million, $2 million will fund a joint professorship that benefits collaborative programs administered by the Business School and SNRE. The Dow Chemical Company Professor of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce will be a member of the Business School’s Department of Corporate Strategy and International Business. The individual also will be a faculty member of the SNRE’s Sustainable Systems Resource Management Concentration currently under development. This position also includes a research appointment in the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Environmental Management Institute, with teaching responsibilities in the Institute’s core degree-granting program, the Corporate Environmental Management Program (CEMP).

The Erb Institute, jointly administered by the Business School and SNRE, focuses on training executives in the private, governmental and non-profit sectors to develop skills necessary to create sustainable organizations. CEMP is a three-year joint degree program for business and natural resources students who want to become informed about the interaction of environmental issues with the business world. Students complete the program with two distinct degrees—an M.B.A. and a master of science in natural resources. Tom Gladwin, director of the Erb Institute and the Corporate Environmental Management Program, emphasizes that the need is great for new business leadership in all sectors. “Through Dow’s support of programs like CEMP, they have shown the way in advancing a new environmental approach to the education of the future leaders of industry,” he said.

The additional $500,000 will support the creation of the Dow Chemical Company Sustainable Research Facility in the Samuel Trask Dana Building on the Ann Arbor campus. The Dana Building is undergoing a major expansion and renovation that will transform it into a “green” building when finished—one that showcases sustainable design and reduces energy use and health risks. It will serve as a laboratory and educational center for ecological themes.

“The clarion call for sustainable human development is the number one megatrend reshaping business, and thus management education in the 21st century,” said Business School Dean B. Joseph White. “The Dow Chemical Company has been one of our most committed corporate partners, especially in the efforts that resulted in our Corporate Environmental Management Program.” He noted that the establishment of the Dow Chemical Company Professorship of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce is a strong vote of confidence. “We are grateful to Dow—for their generosity, for their support and for their trust in us to be a global leader in sustainable enterprise thought and practice.”

As the company’s philanthropic arm, the Dow Chemical Company Foundation contributes more than $18 million annually to charitable and educational institutions in Dow communities on behalf of Dow and its 39,000 employees around the world. The company’s philosophy of charitable giving can be traced back more than 100 years, when helping others was an important value of the company’s founder, Herbert Henry Dow. He regularly made personal contributions to people in need, often anonymously. Over time, he made sure his company shared its success. H.H. Dow’s descendants and his company have continued this generosity throughout the decades.