Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Anne T. and Robert M. Bass to Give Stanford Graduate School of Business $30 Million

STANFORD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS—Philanthropists Anne T. and Robert M. Bass will give $30 million to the Stanford Graduate School of Business, one of the largest gifts in the School's 80-year history. Bass, president of the Fort Worth, Texas, investment firm Keystone Inc., earned his MBA from the Business School in 1974.

This gift will be used to expand a new class of seminars, to be known as Bass Seminars. The gift also will create matching funds to enlarge the School's faculty endowment as well as create a challenge fund for the Business School Fund, which supports annual operations. "This very generous and strategic gift not only provides us with direct funds but encourages other alumni to leverage their donation and make a larger gift to the School than might otherwise have been possible," said Robert L. Joss, the Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. "In addition, funding for Bass Seminars allows us to offer a third level of learning beyond core courses and traditional electives."

The Basses' gift includes $15 million earmarked for the Business School's faculty endowment, which supports new faculty positions, case writing, teaching, and research. The funds will be used to encourage greater giving through donor-named recognition opportunities and a matching program for gifts of $500,000 or more.

Five million dollars will be used to create another matching program for alumni who increase by 50 percent their annual gift to the Business School Fund, compared to what they gave previously. "Our hope is to encourage and create greater giving and support by offering recognition and matching opportunities to our fellow alumni and donors," said Robert Bass, who, with his wife, supports a number of educational institutions and a wide number of programs at Stanford University. "These funds will enable the Stanford Graduate School of Business to deepen and expand its high-quality teaching programs and resources across the board."

Another $10 million of the gift will fund the newly named Bass Seminars. "Stanford Business School is better positioned than any of its peers to offer this type of course because the seminars leverage both the intimate nature of the Stanford MBA Program and the tremendous resources provided by Stanford University," said Joss. "They fit well the culture of cross-school interaction being fostered by University President John Hennessy."

The School plans to expand the number of Bass Seminars so that in the future all 375 students in an MBA class have the opportunity to take one during their two years at Stanford. Courses of such small size and individualized curriculum require a tremendous investment. To ensure that each student is able to take at least one Bass Seminar, the School will need the equivalent of at least eight more faculty members. "Fortunately, our vision is shared by the Basses," said Joss.

The defining characteristic of Bass Seminars is that students take on much more of the responsibility for developing the course. The seminars provide a truly hands-on learning experience while the instructors set the agenda. For example, Robert Burgelman, the Edmund W. Littlefield Professor of Management, and lecturer Andy Grove, formerly CEO and chairman of Intel, offer a Bass Seminar titled "Strategy Making in the Information Technology Industry." One team might study developments in China; another might look at how information technology influences the music industry. The instructors provide lectures early on, but the heart of the course involves the teams reporting back what they have learned and concluded, followed by discussion. Many electives employ team-based research projects, but Bass Seminars shift the emphasis: The students' work product is the muscle and flesh, placed on the skeletal framework established by the instructors.

A handful of courses already meet the criteria for being a Bass Seminar. Subjects include macroeconomic analysis, projects in international development, entrepreneurial design for extreme affordability, and the human resource management of "talent." The enrollments in these seminars are capped at 20 or 30, instead of the usual 60 to 72 for electives. Many are multidisciplinary. A seminar on biodesign innovation mixes MBA students with students from the schools of engineering and medicine.

Mr. Bass is president of the Fort Worth investment firm Keystone Inc., a holding company through which he coordinates his investments in securities, financial services, manufacturing, information services, real estate, oil, and gas. He is also a founding partner of the Oak Hill family of investment funds.

The Basses are active in a range of philanthropic areas, including education, health care, environmental issues, historical preservation, and fine arts.

Mr. Bass, a 1971 graduate of Yale University, is a member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council. He is also a member and past chair of the board of trustees of Stanford University, and a director and former chairman of Stanford Management Company. Mr. and Mrs. Bass co-chair the Stanford Campaign for Undergraduate Education, which has successfully raised $1 billion. He is a trustee of Rockefeller University and chairman emeritus of the National Trust for Historical Preservation. Mrs. Bass is a director of the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health; she co-chaired the successful $500 million hospital campaign. She is a trustee of Duke University and a former trustee of Smith College, and also serves with Mr. Bass on the board of trustees of Middlesex School.