Professorship Reflects Lifelong Stanford Ties

The Thrive Foundation for Youth Professorship endowed chair was added to Stanford GSB, thanks to the generosity of Robert Eliot King, MBA ’60, and Dorothy J. King.

April 15, 2009

With the generosity of Robert Eliot King, MBA ’60, and Dorothy J. King, Stanford GSB has added the Thrive Foundation for Youth Professorship to its roster of endowed chairs. As an investment in the intellectual vitality of the school, their gift is essential in continuing to attract, retain, and develop superior faculty members at Stanford GSB whose path-breaking ideas shape the way we understand management in an increasingly complex world.

Robert Eliot King, MBA ’60, and Dorothy J. King

Robert Eliot King, MBA ’60, and Dorothy J. King

Given the lifelong impact that their close association with Stanford has had on their professional and philanthropic passions, the Kings decided to invest in faculty as a critical priority for the school. As the inaugural chairholder, Professor Chip Heath exemplifies the excellence in research and teaching that is at the heart of the school’s mission.

A psychologist and expert in organizational behavior, Heath examines why certain ideas— ranging from urban legends to folk medical cures, from Chicken Soup for the Soul stories to business strategy myths —survive and prosper in the social marketplace of ideas. A popular elective course that he developed explores how the principles of naturally sticky ideas can inform the design of effective messages. The material from that course has been taught to hundreds of students including managers, teachers, nonprofit leaders, doctors, journalists, venture capitalists, product designers, and film producers, and served as the basis for the recently published book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. Heath also teaches courses in organizational behavior, negotiation, strategy, and social entrepreneurship.

Along with other family members, the Kings created the Thrive Foundation for Youth based on a philosophy that was inspired by their participation in the High Impact Philanthropy executive education course offered by the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford GSB, and after having a moving conversation with the legendary John Gardner, who taught at the business school and university for many years.

“It is truly a privilege to be able to give back to the school in this way. Excellence in teaching and research truly distinguishes Stanford GSB. Faculty ideas drive both scholarly and curricular innovations that benefit us all,” notes King.

King served on the Business School Trust from 1975 to 1986 and as a reunion volunteer and board member of the Alumni Consulting Team. He is the founder and former president of R. Eliot King & Associates, Inc., an investment management company, and is an active venture investor through his firm Peninsula Capital. While raising their three children and partnering with her husband to launch the company, Dorothy also pursued community service opportunities that reflect her varied interests, including their church. Some of their other philanthropic interests at Stanford have included student fellowships at Stanford GSB, athletic scholarships, and faculty support in the School of Education. In addition, for more than 45 years, they have hosted international students studying at Stanford University.

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