Chicago GSB Announces Distinguished Fellowship Program

The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business today unveiled its new Distinguished Fellows Program, which combines the school's most generous scholarship support with a practicum focused on leaders in and outside of business.

The Chicago GSB Distinguished Fellows Program will help attract five top MBA students each year, the school said. Selected based on their potential to make a positive difference throughout their careers, the first group of Distinguished Fellows will begin their studies in September 2002 at the historic Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago.

The program names each Fellow in honor of either a Nobel Prize winner at the GSB or a former GSB dean, and provides in excess of $100,000 of support over the person's two years of MBA education. In addition, Harry Davis, the Roger L. and Rachel M. Goetz Distinguished Service Professor of Creative Management, will serve as mentor to the group and lead an exploration with the Fellows of the question of how leaders in various setting make an enduring and positive impact on their organizations and society.

"More than defining a new level of financial support for these exceptional students, the programmatic content will provide the Distinguished Fellows with a deeper understanding of leadership," said Edward A. Snyder, dean of the Graduate School of Business.

The Distinguished Fellows Program was established through two major gifts. Philip J. Purcell and his wife Anne have committed $4.25 million, $3.75 million of which is in the form of a challenge grant. Purcell is chairman and chief executive of Morgan Stanley and a 1967 graduate of the school. J. William Uhrig and his wife Anastasia Vournas have committed $1 million to the program. Uhrig is managing director of Three Cities Research, a private equity firm in New York. He received his MBA from the University of Chicago in 1984.

The impetus for the Distinguished Fellows Program came from former Dean John Jeuck "as a legacy of his unremitting commitment to Chicago MBA students," Snyder said, noting that Jeuck served as a mentor to Purcell and Uhrig when they were students in his business policy class at the school.

"I am most grateful for the generous support of those who are making the Distinguished Fellows Program possible, and I am confident that the GSB students who are its beneficiaries will meet our expectations," Jeuck said.

The two lead donors to the program said they are delighted to give something back to the Graduate School of Business.

"I owe a great deal to the University of Chicago and Professor Jeuck in particular," Uhrig said. "My wife Anastasia Vournas and I are delighted to participate in the creation of the Distinguished Fellows Program which, it should be said, was John Jeuck's idea."

Purcell said, "When I was at the Graduate School of Business, Anne and I already had the first of our kids, and little money. If it had not been for a generous scholarship, I would not have been able to complete my studies with some great professors. My family would like to make sure others have the same opportunity. Our hope is that the Distinguished Fellows Program will help attract outstanding future business leaders."

A committee of staff and faculty, with input from the lead donors, will select each Distinguished Fellow with the goal of identifying and attracting people who will make a difference in business. Harry Davis described the two-year practicum he has designed for the Distinguished Fellows as follows: "The practicum will provide students with one-on-one conversations with individuals and organizations who have made a significant difference through their leadership and creativity." Students will also have an opportunity to reflect on these field interviews and use the information to help in their careers and professional development.

"The academic component of the MBA program at the University of Chicago is unparalleled by any other school," said Matt Niksch, who was selected as the school's first John Jeuck Distinguished Fellow. "The flexibility of the curriculum will allow me to explore several different areas of business during my studies," he said.

"The fact that the Distinguished Fellows Program combines generous financial support with programmatic elements makes it unique among the top business schools," Niksch said.

Rebecca DuBowy, M.D., the first George J. Stigler Distinguished Fellow, said she looks forward to taking elective classes in health policy at the University of Chicago's Harris Graduate School of Pubic Policy Studies. "I am also excited to attend the leadership practicum with Professor Davis and meet with business leaders," DuBowy said.

When the program is fully funded it will represent the largest single endowment within the Graduate School of Business for the support of MBA students, the school said.

Purcell and Uhrig are two of the many successful graduates of the Graduate School of Business. Other alumni include James Kilts, chairman and chief executive of Gillette; Karen Katen, president of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals; Joseph Neubauer, chairman and chief executive of ARAMARK Corp.; and Peter G. Peterson, chairman of The Blackstone Group.

The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business is one of the oldest and largest business schools in the world. It offers full-time and part-time MBA programs, a PhD program, and open enrollment executive education.