Environmental and Business Innovation Go Hand In Hand

Gene Sykes, MBA ’84, Bill Patterson, MBA ’89, and Joe Gleberman, MBA ’82, pooled their resources to establish a seed fund for the school’s various environmental activities.

April 15, 2008

According to the prestigious Aspen Institute survey, Stanford GSB is the top business school for students interested in sustainability. With courses such as Environmental Science for Managers and Policy Makers, real-world projects such as greening the school’s cafeteria, and service learning trips to countries such as Guatemala, where students studied sustainable agriculture, Stanford GSB is fostering a strong environmental conscience in future business leaders. Alumni are committed to ensuring that Stanford GSB continues to be a leader in this field, and a group of alumni has established the Environmental Innovation Fund.

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Emma Wendt, MBA ’08, MS ’09

The Environmental Innovation Fund supports joint degree students like Emma Wendt, MBA ’08, MS ’09.

Gene Sykes, MBA ’84; Bill Patterson, MBA ’89; and Joe Gleberman, MBA ’82; pooled their resources to establish a seed fund for the school’s various environmental activities that contribute to the university’s broader initiative on the environment and sustainability.

“We are impressed by many of the environmental initiatives that are already underway at Stanford GSB, but recognize that by committing capital to support these activities and encourage their expansion, Stanford GSB can play a more important role in Stanford’s environmental strategy,” says Sykes.

The fund broadly supports faculty teaching and research in environmental areas as they relate to course and case development, executive education programs such as Business Strategies for Environmental Sustainability, student programs and clubs, and multidisciplinary or collaborative initiatives involving other university schools and programs. The fund also provides an opportunity for Stanford GSB alumni and friends who share a passion for the environment to focus their giving on related efforts at the school.

One of the newest programs to benefit from the fund is the new joint MBA/MS degree offered by Stanford GSB and the Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources that educates students in environmental problem solving. Developed through the tireless efforts of Stanford GSB professor Erica Plambeck and others at both the schools of business and earth sciences, the new degree program enhances opportunities for students who want to combine professional business training with the knowledge and perspective needed to address global environmental challenges.

The fund also enables the school to concentrate financial resources on the breadth of environment-related activities currently being pursued by students and faculty. The generosity of the three alumni helps the school respond to this rapidly growing interest in Stanford GSB community. It also shows that establishing a fund in an area of personal passion can be an ultimate win-win situation, benefiting all concerned — donors, the school, students, and the planet.

“The world’s environmental challenges are complex and will require new ideas, enlightened management, and market-based solutions. Stanford GSB is ideally positioned to make a meaningful impact across all these dimensions,” says Patterson. “The Environmental Innovation Fund provides a compelling vehicle for our philanthropic capital to accelerate the pace of change.”

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