Michigan State University has announced a $4.5 million gift to the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Eli Broad College of Business from alumnus Robert “Bob” K. Burgess, an accomplished business leader and longtime university adviser.
Burgess made a $2 million gift to the institute in 2005 which, in honor of his gift and service, will be renamed Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
The institute advances research on entrepreneurship, venture capital and private equity; builds knowledge-sharing networks with business stakeholders across the world; stimulates economic development in Michigan; supports the commercialization of intellectual property developed within MSU; and promotes student business innovation.
“I feel very passionate about equipping MSU students with the best practical skills and tools to prepare them for entrepreneurial and creative problem solving opportunities when they graduate. The endowment is geared to expanding initiatives that enable students to experience issues relevant in today’s dynamic and ever-changing business and social environment,” Burgess said.
Burgess’ recent gift, a combination of $3 million in cash and a $1.5 million estate gift, will be allocated equally across three main areas: to helping students compete in national and international business contests; to recruiting and retaining talented instructors with significant business experience; and to general activities and initiatives of the institute.
“Over the years, Bob’s unmatched commitment to advancing the institute has gotten us to where we are today. Without him, we wouldn’t be able to offer our students the experiences we do today, and our next chapter will further elevate our current programs while allowing us to provide more innovative curriculum and training opportunities,” said Ken Szymusiak, managing director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
Burgess has served as former chairperson of the Broad College Campaign Advisory Board and past president of the Broad College of Business Alumni board, past chairperson and director of the MSU Foundation, and past member of the President’s Campaign Cabinet.
“The entrepreneurial mindset and capacity to innovate are becoming essential qualities for career success, and MSU is working hard to instill them across all of our colleges,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said. “We are grateful to Bob Burgess for his generosity and his leadership in helping us offer students new opportunities for exceptional experiences.”
Burgess earned a bachelor of science in packaging from MSU in 1966. Currently he is managing partner with Glengarry Partners and serves on multiple boards of directors including private equity firms. He is the past president and chief executive officer of Pulte Corp., a $7 billion residential housing and homeowner services corporation headquartered in Atlanta. His career began with General Electric Co. and has since included manager and leadership roles with the likes of Touche Ross & Co. and Plante Moran.
“Bob’s unwavering commitment to the university has demonstrated the spirit of what it means to be a lifelong Spartan,” said Sanjay Gupta, Eli and Edythe L. Broad dean of the business college. “We have thousands of students and faculty whose innovative ideas and creativity will flourish because of the advancements we will make thanks to his generous investment in the institute. We are so grateful to have Bob in the college’s family and look forward to the next chapter of Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.”
MSU is seeking private support to provide extraordinary learning opportunities to students through the Empower Extraordinary campaign, a $1.5 billion capital campaign publicly launched in fall 2014. To date, the Eli Broad College of Business has raised more than $107 million in the campaign, with more than $30 million in gifts for student support.
Billboard photo courtesy Alan Pinon.