Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Thank You to a Great Philanthropist After Whom Our Isenberg School of Management is Named

Now is the time of the year when many are solicited to give what they can to various good causes. I am sure that you have your favorite organizations that you regularly donate to and truly believe in. It may be charity organizations, your alma mater, the place where you work, among others.

This post is to thank one of our greatest benefactors and by "our" I mean the Isenberg School of Management and the benefactor -- Mr. Eugene "Gene" Isenberg, after whom our business school is named.

Gene Isenberg is a great philanthropist and I especially enjoyed the definition of philanthropy in Wikipedia: Philanthropy etymologically means "love of humanity" in the sense of caring for, nourishing, developing, and enhancing "what it is to be human" on both the benefactors' (by identifying and exercising their values in giving and volunteering) and beneficiaries' (by benefiting) parts.  As for the more modern or conventional definition:  philanthrophy is private initiatives, for public good, focusing on quality of life. 

Mr. Gene Isenberg was recognized as a philanthropist, with many other household name executives, back in 1998 in The New York Times in a feature Business Day article, which noted that:  Mr. Isenberg's prime cause is education, and the major beneficiary has been his alma mater, the University of Massachusetts. Last year, he pledged $6 million over five years, giving $2 million of that sum in 1997. Separately, he gives $90,000 annually for scholarships at the university in mathematics, engineering, computer science and business.

''It was time to give something back to education,'' Mr. Isenberg said. ''I could afford to do it, and I did it.''

And because of Mr. Isenberg, we have our beautiful atrium, high technology classrooms, and much, much  more. 

Today, we received more good news because of the benevolence of Mr. Isenberg.

One of my PhD students, Sara Saberi, who is also a Doctoral Student Center Associate at the Virtual Center of Supernetworks that I founded in 2001,  was selected to be an Isenberg Scholar Award recipient for 2014 which comes with a wonderful stipend. Sara's PhD concentration is in Management Science. She is also working with me and several collaborators on our NSF project: Network Innovation Through Choice.

In the letter to Sara from the Director of the Isenberg Program for the Integration of Management, Engineering and Science,  it was stated that: This prestigious award is a tremendous honor and its recipients reflect the highest academic standards of the university. As you may recall, this fund was created in 1994 by Mr. and Mrs. Eugene M. Isenberg to encourage students whose study and plans demonstrate a commitment to the integration of science and/or engineering with management.

I have met the Isenbergs on many occasions and we thank them for their support of education of our students! This is philanthropy at its best.