The $50 Million Innovation Challenge: Supporting Growth at Johnson

Dean's vision for Johnson as a leader in business education for the connected world

The $50 Million Innovation Challenge: Supporting Growth at Johnsoninline-block

Dean Soumitra Dutta has outlined a bold vision for growth and innovation for the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University with an emphasis on launching a new MBA and physical campus at Cornell NYC Tech, enhancing the excellence of Ithaca-based programs, and expanding the school’s reach in key global regions. 

Energized by the dean’s vision for Johnson as a leader in business education for the connected world, five alumni committed $27 million to support Johnson programs, faculty, research, and scholarships. These generous alumni have invited the Johnson community to participate in an Innovation Challenge and raise an additional $23 million, with the goal of reaching $50 million by June 30, 2015. The five alumni who have pledged substantial gifts include Dyan and John Smith, MBA ’74 ($10 million); Jeff Parker ’65, MEng ’66, MBA ’70 ($10 million); Robert R. Dyson, MBA ’74, and the Dyson Foundation ($5 million); David J. Breazzano, MBA ’80 ($1 million); and Peter Wright ’75, MBA ’76 ($1 million).

Jeff Parker ’65, MEng ’66, MBA ’70In announcing the challenge at the Johnson Alumni Awards and Recognition Dinner in New York City on January 30, 2014, Parker, co-chair of the Johnson NYC Steering Committee, enthusiastically invited alumni to be part of this exciting new era at Johnson. “This is a game changer for Johnson and Cornell,” said Parker. “This is a serious opportunity to make a big difference in the world of business education.”

At the event, Dutta addressed the opportunities for growth and innovation at Johnson in the years ahead. Johnson’s MBA in New York City will be unique, because it is integrated with a leading technology program. Graduates of the MBA program at Cornell NYC Tech will meet the needs of businesses that are driving disruptive change through the smart leverage of technology, he said. The cadre of accepted students bring an entrepreneurial spirit and analytical approach to their work, and will graduate with an unsurpassed understanding of how technology and business intersect in the digital economy. 

At the same time, innovation is continuing in Ithaca, where the school has completed a major review of the MBA curriculum. These changes, driven by a comprehensive review and informed by extensive industry input, include specialized instruction in critical thinking, a targeted, customized leadership program, and an enriched and expanded focus on data analysis and modeling. Special partnerships are also being developed with sister Cornell schools to bring the richness of Cornell’s intellectual strengths to the Johnson experience.

On the global front, Johnson’s Emerging Markets Institute is leading research and teaching in selected emerging markets. Johnson has partnerships with several global universities and has signed an agreement with a leading Chinese university to launch a pioneering dual-degree MBA program in Beijing. In addition, the Cornell-Queen’s Executive MBA program is growing its global reach, extending its unique boardroom MBA format to new locations in Latin America and Mexico.

A new era is at hand for Johnson. Innovative advances require commitment on the part of the school and its graduates, and increased financial support from alumni is critical to launching Johnson as a leader in graduate business education on the global stage. “I am deeply grateful for the long-term support of the Johnson community and I encourage all of us to come together and contribute to make the challenge successful,” said Dutta.

To learn more about the Innovation Challenge or make a donation, please follow this link Innovation Challenge. All gifts to Johnson support the Innovation Challenge.
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