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Updated 6:30 PM June 5, 2007
 

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  The Michigan Difference Campaign
New Jet Blue CEO gives $4.5 million to Organizational Studies

The new CEO of JetBlue Airways, David Barger, knows a thing or two about management and leadership.

"There is a big difference between management—the ability to get something done—and leadership—the vision for how something should be done," Barger says. "Leadership is front-line connectivity. It's about being plugged in to the customer, the culture, the government, and being visionary."

Barger's recent gift of $4.5 million to endow the Barger Leadership Institute in the Organizational Studies Program in LSA showcases his commitment to visionary leadership. His gift will fund leadership-learning experiences for undergraduates through international fellowships, internships in organizations that have a global reach, and research that examines organizations and leadership worldwide.

A portion of the gift, $1.5 million, will be matched with an additional $500,000 from the President's Donor Challenge to endow a professorship in Organizational Studies. Remaining funds will establish a Visiting Leader Program to bring newsworthy leaders from business, government and philanthropy to campus to engage undergraduates in active leadership experiences through collaborations to address real-world organizational challenges.

"What's exciting to me about this program," Barger says, "is that it is directed at undergraduates. Leadership usually is wrapped into a program well down the career path in graduate school. The institute will give undergraduates the ability to grab onto leadership concepts early. They will have experience painting the picture."

"We are tremendously grateful for this transformational $4.5 million gift to Organizational Studies," says LSA Dean Terrence McDonald. "The Barger Leadership Institute will prepare undergraduates early in their academic experience to become the strategic leaders of tomorrow in an increasingly global, technologically driven and innovation hungry society."

Barger is a dedicated supporter of the Organizational Studies Program, providing a $2 million gift in 2005 to establish the Barger Family Professorship and $75,000 to create the JetBlue Airways London School of Economics Summer Program.

LSA has raised more than $270 million to date from alumni and friends for scholarship aid and faculty and program support to provide broad educational access and continue the outstanding teaching and research that makes a powerful and positive difference in the world. The Barger gift moves LSA nearer to its fundraising goal of raising $300 million during the University-wide $2.5 billion The Michigan Difference campaign.

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