$2.5 million from Dow Chemical Company Foundation funds “cutting edge” sustainability education

September 19, 2000
  • umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—With new business strategies and savvy needed in the emerging “green world,” the University of Michigan’s nationally top-ranked Business School and School of Natural Resources and Environment are working together towards fostering ecologically sustainable commerce. Scientists and scholars will now receive a boost with a major gift by the Dow Chemical Company Foundation. The $2.5 million gift will help to secure Michigan’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 are also evident through the continuous recruitment of graduates with approximately 600 alumni employed by the company today.

At a recent luncheon in Ann Arbor honoring Dow Chemical, the University recognized the company and its Foundation for exceptional support and partnership over the years resulting in more than $10 million in total gifts. Besides Dow, 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,” said Wood. “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.”

Two million dollars of the new $2.5 million gift will fund a joint-professorship that benefits collaborative programs administered by the U-M’s Business School and School of Natural Resources and Environment. 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 professor will also be a faculty member of the School of Natural Resources and Environment’s Sustainable Systems Resource Management Concentration currently being developed. 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 U-M’s Business School and School of Natural Resources and Environment, 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 stated.

An additional $500,000 component of the Dow gift will support the creation of the Dow Chemical Company Sustainable Research Facility in the Samuel Trask Dana Building on the Ann Arbor campus, home to the University’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. Presently, the Dana Building is undergoing a major expansion and renovation, which will make it a completely “green” building when finished, one that showcases sustainable design, reduces energy use and health risks, and 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 Dean B. Joseph White of the Business School. “The Dow Chemical Company has been one of our most committed corporate partners, especially in the efforts which resulted in our Corporate Environmental Management Program.” He cites 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 Dow Chemical 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.

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EDITORS: For further information, contact Jerry Ring, Dow Chemical Company Foundation, at (517) 636-6891, or Prof. Tom Gladwin, at U-M, at (734) 647-9709.

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Business SchoolBob WoodCorporate Strategy and International BusinessTom Gladwin“green” buildingB. Joseph WhiteNews and Information Services