A better understanding of the core drivers that help great leaders innovate — and avoid failure — is key to advancing global enterprise. The Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder is now better equipped to advance this understanding, thanks to a new $2.25 million gift from the Thomas Stix Guggenheim family to establish an endowed faculty chair aimed at educating new generations of entrepreneurs on the core drivers of successful business design and innovation.
This prestigious faculty post was made possible by Thomas Stix Guggenheim and his wife, Pedie, of Cincinnati and Snowmass Village, Colo., and his four children, each of whom also attended CU-Boulder.
The new chair will enhance business education at the Leeds School by offering a broader exploration of the factors that allow some firms to succeed and others to fail.
The chair also advances key Leeds priorities, as it will help aspiring innovators develop the critical thinking skills that result in creative solutions to diverse and complex challenges.
“Our business experience has demonstrated there is as much, if not more, to learn from business failures as from successes,” Guggenheim said. “One main aspect of our endowed chair is to case-study this belief.”
David Ikenberry, dean of the Leeds School, said the creation of the Thomas Stix Guggenheim Family Endowed Chair in Business Design and Innovation is emblematic of the school’s mission.
“We have embarked on an innovation agenda that will enable graduates to evolve in a rapidly changing business climate and ensure their ability to drive value,” he said. “We are fortunate and grateful for the family’s generous support as we pursue this great challenge.”
The concept of business design is an emerging area of business education — exploring the interaction of factors such as strategy, product or service design, and entrepreneurial leadership to solve complex problems and drive economic innovation and successful business creation.
With Leeds and CU’s long-standing reputation for entrepreneurship education along with Boulder’s identity as one of the nation’s most entrepreneurial and creative cities, this new chair is a logical fit for Colorado and its economy.
The Thomas Stix Guggenheim Family Endowed Chair in Business Design and Innovation is a tribute to the successful career and outstanding leadership of the chair’s namesake. After graduating from CU-Boulder in 1950 with a degree in marketing, Guggenheim went on to lead two successful hosiery (sock) businesses.
“It’s exciting to see CU-Boulder graduates giving back to the university in such an important way so future generations of students can succeed in their entrepreneurial endeavors,” said Chancellor Philip DiStefano.
A longtime donor to CU-Boulder, Guggenheim has supported the Center for Education on Social Responsibility, which integrates ethics education across the Leeds School curriculum to develop values-driven leaders, and a popular freshman-level course titled “Profiles in American Enterprise,” which invited top executives to discuss relevant business issues.
An endowed chair gift provides a reliable and perpetual stream of funding for a senior faculty position. It is a public indicator of a program’s prestige and it helps universities recruit and retain top talent.
A global search will launch immediately to identify a candidate to serve as the first Guggenheim Family Endowed Chair. The goal is to fill the tenured post, to be housed within the school’s Division of Management, for the start of the fall semester in 2014.
The gift is one of more than 275,000 gifts made to date during Creating Futures, a $1.5 billion fundraising campaign to enhance CU education, research, outreach and health programs benefiting citizens throughout Colorado and beyond. Visit http://www.cufund.org for more information.