Gifts spur faculty recruitment in Dyson

Dyson school signBy Amanda Garris Ph.D. '04

What started with a promise—and a challenge—recently delivered six new faculty positions for the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. The latest $6.5 million in gifts from three families has raised the total number of gift-funded faculty positions to 11 for the Dyson School.

“The surge in new positions, made possible by the generosity of these outstanding alumni and friends of the Dyson School, will help ensure that we continue to attract both emerging stars and distinguished senior faculty,” said Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

John Dyson ’65, chairman of Millbrook Capital Management, created the initial spark for the recent round of donations. In committing to a gift through the Cornell Faculty Renewal Sesquicentennial Challenge, a $100 million effort to recruit the next generation of Cornell faculty, Dyson included a caveat: His gift was contingent on a matching gift.

The first to answer the challenge was Donald Watros ’86, president of HBC International, one of North America’s most extensive retail networks, which includes Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. Watros and Dyson sealed the agreement with a handshake, but Dyson wasn’t done yet.

He would give a second gift, if a second match could be found. He even had someone in mind—his brother Rob Dyson, MBA ’74, who heads the Dyson Foundation. Rob not only pledged a faculty renewal fellowship, he also raised the stakes. He would fund a second faculty renewal if another matching gift was donated.

The match came from Peter Nolan ’80, MBA ’82, and Stephanie Nolan ’84. Peter is a senior adviser at Leonard Green & Partners, and the Nolans, who previously endowed the David J. Nolan Directorship of the Dyson School in honor of Peter’s father, funded an endowed professorship to recruit an established, prominent thinker.

These and other Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellowships are fueling steady momentum in faculty growth in the Dyson School. Margaret Bachelor Paul and Andy Paul ’78, the founder and chairman of the board of directors of Enhanced Capital and managing member of Sopris Capital, and Lynn Calpeter ’86, vice president and chief financial officer of GE Power & Water, provided gifts earmarked for two additional assistant professor positions. In addition, several other gift-funded positions have already been filled, including the Mueller Family Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow in Agribusiness and Farm Management, the Zaitz Family Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow in Agricultural Finance and Business, and the CoBank/Farm Credit East Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow in Production Economics and Sustainability.

“The Dyson School is an exceptional place, fortunate to have extraordinary students, staff, faculty and alumni,” said Chris Barrett, the David J. Nolan Director of the Dyson School. “We have been able to recruit extraordinary young faculty with these first several gifts and look forward to recruiting additional outstanding faculty who will strengthen our programs with new ideas, energy and course offerings for our students.”