March 13, 2014

Johnson launches $50M Innovation Challenge

Jeff Parker
Shelley Kusnetz
Jeff Parker announces Johnson's Innovation Challenge in New York City.

Five alumni have committed $27 million to support programs, faculty, research and scholarships at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, and the school has launched an Innovation Challenge to raise an additional $23 million, with the goal of reaching $50 million by June 30, 2015.

 Alumni who have pledged substantial gifts include Dyan and John Smith, MBA ’74; Jeff Parker ’65, M.Eng. ’66, MBA ’70; Robert R. Dyson, MBA ’74, and the Dyson Foundation; David J. Breazzano, MBA ’80; and Peter Wright ’75, MBA ’76.

Announcing the challenge at the Johnson Alumni Awards and Recognition Dinner in New York City Jan. 30, Parker, co-chair of the Johnson NYC Steering Committee, said: “This is a game changer for Johnson and Cornell. This is a serious opportunity to make a big difference in the world of business education.”

At the event, Dean Soumitra Dutta said Johnson’s MBA in New York City will be unique because it is integrated with a leading technology program. Graduates of the MBA program at Cornell Tech will meet the needs of businesses that drive change through the smart leverage of technology, Dutta said. He noted that accepted students bring an entrepreneurial spirit and analytical approach to their work and will graduate with an unsurpassed understanding of how technology and business intersect in the digital economy.

In Ithaca, the school has completed a major review of its MBA curriculum. Changes driven by the review and informed by extensive industry input include specialized instruction in critical thinking; a targeted, customized leadership program; and an expanded focus on data analysis and modeling. Special partnerships are also being developed with other Cornell schools and colleges to bring the richness of Cornell’s intellectual strengths to the Johnson experience.

On the global front, Johnson’s Emerging Markets Institute is leading research and teaching in selected emerging markets, Dutta said. Johnson partners with several universities and has signed an agreement with a leading Chinese university to launch a dual-degree MBA program in Beijing. And the Cornell-Queen’s Executive MBA program is growing its global reach, extending its boardroom MBA format to new locations in Latin America and Mexico.

Innovative advances require commitment by the school and its graduates, Dutta said, and increased financial support from alumni is critical to launching Johnson as a global leader in graduate business education. “I am deeply grateful for the long-term support of the Johnson community, and I encourage all of us to come together and contribute to make the challenge successful,” he said.

To learn more about the Innovation Challenge or make a donation, visit the Innovation Challenge site. All gifts to Johnson support the Innovation Challenge.