January 20, 2014

Johnson School Receives $10 Million to Support Family-Owned Businesses

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After receiving a $10-million gift, the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management will establish an initiative to help promote family-owned businesses, the University announced Monday.

The donation, made by John Smith MBA ’74, will also establish two professorships that will help run the John and Dyan Smith Family Business Initiative within the Johnson’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, according to a University press release. In addition, the gift will support course offerings within the program, as well as marketing, programing and faculty recruitment.

Smith — who is chairman of the board of the family-owned transportation company CRST International — said it is within the best interests of the country for families to run businesses for “many generations.” He added that he was moved to make a donation to the University in pursuit of this ideal.

“With a focus on family businesses at Johnson, good research will be conducted, educational seminars will address the unique needs of family businesses and prospective students will be drawn to Johnson because of the family business expertise on campus,” Smith said in the press release.

Prof. Soumitra Dutta, dean of the Johnson School, said the gift will have a “profound and lasting impact” on both family businesses and the Johnson’s business programs.

“With the Smith’s generous gift, we can now put in place a systematic program to help prepare students for starting, scaling and managing a family business,” Dutta said in the press release.