$5 million gift to fund new George and Carol Bauer Leadership Center at Olin Business School

Olin Business School announced the formation of the new George and Carol Bauer Leadership Center May 10. Celebrating the announcement were (from left): Kurt Dirks, senior associate dean of programs and the Bank of America Professor of Managerial Leadership; George and Carol Bauer; and Stuart Bunderson, associate dean and director of executive programs and the George and Carol Bauer Professor of Organizational Ethics and Governance. (Photo: Jerry Naunheim Jr./Washington University)

With a $5 million commitment from George and Carol Bauer, Washington University in St. Louis has announced it will establish the George and Carol Bauer Leadership Center at the Olin Business School.

The announcement came May 10, as George Bauer, an emeritus trustee and alumnus of the university, and his wife, Carol, delivered a keynote address about values-based leadership in Knight Hall on the Danforth Campus.

In their remarks, the couple shared their thoughts about leadership and their vision for the center. “We’ve both been fortunate over the years to be in leadership positions,” Carol Bauer said, “and we have spent some time reflecting on our hopes for this values-based leadership center.”

Said George Bauer: “With this new center, we would like to find ways for young potential leaders to cultivate their own value systems and hopefully embrace them as they make decisions for their institutions as well as in their personal lives.”

The George and Carol Bauer Leadership Center will help accelerate the university’s efforts to develop exceptional leaders.  A defining characteristic of the new center will be its emphasis on cultivating leaders who measure success both in what they achieve for their organizations and how they impact their communities and society through the values that they demonstrate.

“I am deeply grateful to George and Carol Bauer for their farsighted support and for their ongoing dedication to Washington University,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “Throughout their lives, the Bauers have exemplified what it means to lead with character and conviction. Their commitment to education, ethical business and community leadership is inspirational, and I am honored that the leadership center will bear their names.”

A number of activities and courses will be supported by the center, including leadership courses, as well as executive education and lifelong learning programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. The center will also host leadership best-practices forums for academics, executives and students, plus provide seed-funding for research and case work related to business leadership.

Also included in the gift: the establishment of the George and Carol Bauer Leadership Fellows Program. This new program will engage participants in both the science and application of leadership. Students chosen for the Fellows Program will complete leadership coursework, take part in leadership activities and community impact projects. They will also be mentored by George and Carol Bauer Executive Leadership Fellows, business leaders who will serve as informal leadership coaches for those involved in center activities and projects.

Mahendra R. Gupta, dean and the Geraldine J. and Robert L. Virgil Professor of Accounting and Management at Olin Business School, added his appreciation for the Bauers’ support and the impact it will have at the school. “I am both delighted and humbled by George and Carol’s generous commitment,” Gupta said.

“Leadership is a core value at Olin and is woven into all of our academic programs. The George and Carol Bauer Leadership Center will enhance these efforts and is a most fitting way for Olin to begin its next century of creating knowledge, inspiring tomorrow’s leaders, and transforming the way that businesses practice leadership,” Gupta said.

The center will be guided by two members of the Olin faculty who will serve as co-directors:  Stuart Bunderson, associate dean and director of executive programs and the George & Carol Bauer Professor of Organizational Ethics and Governance; and Kurt Dirks, senior associate dean of programs and the Bank of America Professor of Managerial Leadership. Activities at the center will begin in fall 2016.

About George and Carol Bauer

The Bauers have a long history as dedicated benefactors of Washington University. They have provided substantial scholarships and, in 2004, established an endowment that provides emergency financial aid to students who experience unforeseen financial problems.

In 2007, they established the George and Carol Bauer Professorship in Organizational Ethics and Governance. In 2011, the Bauer Foundation stepped forward with a gift of $10 million to provide capital support for Olin’s $90 million building project, Knight-Bauer Halls, which added 177,000 square feet to the school’s campus footprint. The state of the art buildings opened in spring 2014.

The Bauers’ longstanding relationship with Washington University began when George, originally from DeSoto, Mo., enrolled in the School of Engineering & Applied Science. After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1953 and 1959, respectively, he embarked on a 31-year career with IBM, where he served in a variety of executive positions in marketing, finance and business systems. Upon retiring in 1987, he founded an investment banking firm, the GPB Group Ltd.

The couple now resides in Wilton, Conn., where they are active in many philanthropic activities, including ensuring quality medical services for their community. Carol Bauer has served extensively at the Norwalk Hospital, where she is a former chairperson of the board of trustees, the founder and leader of the hospital’s ER Reception Volunteers, and a chaplain. Her community leadership has been recognized by the Rotary Foundation as well as the state of Connecticut, which bestowed upon her its Philanthropist of the Year Award.

An active alumnus of Washington University, George Bauer serves on the New York Regional Cabinet, the Board of Trustees and Olin’s National Council. In 2009, the School of Engineering & Applied Science honored him with a Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award. George and Carol Bauer together received the Robert S. Brookings Award in 2011 in recognition of their extraordinary generosity and commitment to the university, and in 2012, they were awarded the Olin Dean’s Medal.

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