When Faculty and Philanthropy Intersect, Exciting Results Can Happen

Len Jessup

Dear Members of the CGU Community:

Early in my career, I developed an appreciation for philanthropy that I’d never expected to have as a junior faculty member.

I was passionate about the projects I was working on in the field of Information Systems—especially a really terrific decision-making lab and some automated classrooms that I was asked to help design and build—and I wanted to share what I was doing with anyone who would listen and might be able to help us. I wanted to see if they wanted to partner with us in this exciting work and, possibly, invest in what we were doing.

I was fortunate to raise a good deal of funding for these and other projects and programs. It was an eye-opening experience for sure, as people were clearly excited about what we were doing and wanted to help and invest. At that early point in my career, decades ago, it was less common for professors to be involved so directly with the fundraising aspects of their colleges and universities.

Now, fast forward to today… and, as The Chronicle of Philanthropy and other higher education publications have noted, that’s been changing. More professors are getting involved externally and working more directly with donors often for a very simple reason: Not only do faculty want to inspire and engage external partners in their work, but the donors also want to meet the people directly involved with the projects, programs, centers, and schools they are supporting.

That’s especially true at CGU.

An incredible philanthropic renaissance is taking place at CGU right now.”

This fall, the university is receiving an influx of large gifts that includes several that wouldn’t have been possible without the vision and stewardship of our faculty.

In particular, these include a $1 million gift to the Drucker School’s Global Family Business Institute from alumnus and former Drucker School faculty member Peter S. Sealey and his wife, Elizabeth. Their contribution was made possible by the great work and friendship of Drucker faculty member Vijay Sathe.

I’m also so proud and happy and inspired by the example of Allon Percus, a professor in our Institute of Mathematical Sciences, who decided to direct $2 million from his late mother Ora’s estate to establish the Engelberg Fellowships in Mathematical Sciences at CGU in her memory. In addition, Allon is providing one of the lead gifts to create an endowment to honor his late former colleague, Ellis Cumberbatch.

We have several more faculty-connected gifts in the pipeline, and I look forward to announcing them soon.

All of this is a sign of the incredible philanthropic renaissance taking place at CGU. Some of these exciting developments are highlighted in this season’s offering of the Flame. As a community, we are working together to strengthen our university’s standing as we look ahead to 2025, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of our founding.

We have much to be thankful for at CGU, and it starts with our community, which is one of the most talented, caring, and supportive in the world of higher education.

Keep carrying the flame forward,

Len Jessup Signature

Len Jessup
Claremont Graduate University