Adelphi University has announced receipt of a generous gift of $9.5 million from Adelphi Board of Trustees Chairman Robert B. Willumstad ’05 (Hon.), co-founder and senior advisor of the private equity firm Brysam Global Partners. In recognition of this transformational gift, the Adelphi University School of Business, established in 1964, and one of a small percentage of programs worldwide to be accredited by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, will become the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business.
A philanthropic leader, Mr. Willumstad’s multimillion dollar commitment, is his second seven-figure gift to the University. In 2006, Adelphi received $1 million from Mr. Willumstad in support of the University’s first-ever comprehensive campaign.
Mr. Willumstad, who grew up in Nassau County, said he invested in the University because “Adelphi is part of the central fabric of Long Island. The University plays a critical and vital role as an essential resource for the region. I believe in the transformative power of higher education and the talent of the students we educate. I made this investment in their future.”
The Willumstad gift will ensure that the University has the resources it needs to expand its investments in preparing students for a changing global marketplace; attract distinguished business faculty; establish scholarships benefitting business students; continue its tradition of academic innovation; develop experiential learning opportunities; respond to technology needs; and enhance the Hagedorn Hall of Enterprise (the building that houses the School of Business).
In announcing the gift, Adelphi President Robert A. Scott said, “Bob Willumstad’s vision and generosity is a wonderful endorsement of Adelphi University’s commitment to creating business leaders who have the knowledge, integrity, and skills to thrive in fields as diverse as finance, accounting, nonprofit, government, technology, and healthcare, to name a few. This gift will help propel the University and the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business to even greater success for decades to come.”
Bob Willumstad has had a longstanding relationship with the University since he attended in the mid-1970s, part-time. In 2005, Adelphi awarded an honorary degree to him at its 109th Commencement for his corporate leadership and dedication to improving the community. He was elected to the Adelphi Board of Trustees in September 2005, and has served on the Board’s Finance and Advancement committees. In August 2011, he was elected board chairman.
“The School of Business encourages students to be critical thinkers, innovators, and entrepreneurs of their own lives—skills that I believe are essential to being competitive in a global economy,” said Robert B. Willumstad. “Given the contribution that the University has made to not only its students but others in the business community over a long history, it feels gratifying to be able to give back and support increasingly talented students and renowned faculty.”
Widely profiled and lauded for his success, Mr. Willumstad, who has spent more than 35 years in the banking and financial industry, is a former non-executive chairman and CEO of American International Group (AIG), and helped shape some of the nation’s leading financial services companies, including Travelers Group and its successor, Citigroup.
In 1987, he joined Commercial Credit, a Baltimore-based consumer finance company and predecessor to what we now know as the CitiFinancial business within Citigroup. Over the next 11 years, Mr. Willumstad helped build what became the Travelers Group into one of the nation’s leading financial services companies. In October 1998, Mr. Willumstad played a crucial role in creating Citigroup, a history-making combination of the former Travelers Group and Citicorp. The merger joined for the first time corporate, investment, and retail banking with insurance in one global company.
From 2000 to 2003, Mr. Willumstad was the chairman and CEO of Citigroup’s Global Consumer Group, and under his leadership, revenue increased from $28 billion to $41 billion, while net income grew 23 percent per annum.
Named president of Citigroup, Inc., in 2002, then the world’s largest financial services company, Mr. Willumstad became chief operating officer a year later. He also served as CEO and president of Citibank North America. He held these multiple titles until 2005, when he chose to retire from the firm. Prior to this, he spent 20 years with Chemical Bank in various positions, including president of Chemical Technologies Corporation. In addition, he served in the Marine Corps Reserve for five years.
Respected for his business successes as well as for his public service efforts, Mr. Willumstad is the recipient of the 2002 Frederick Douglass Award by the New York City Urban League for his pioneering work in advocating corporate diversity programs. His championing of volunteerism led Citigroup to offer its employees an annual Volunteer Day during which they can volunteer with the nonprofit or civic organization of their choice. He was also previously on the board for Habitat for Humanity International. Mr. Willumstad was born in Brooklyn, grew up on Long Island, attended Adelphi University, and now resides in New York City.
The Campaign for Adelphi University, Adelphi’s precedent-setting comprehensive campaign, offers numerous opportunities for all who care about the University to participate in creating a lasting legacy for its students, faculty, and alumni. The campaign priorities—improved and new buildings, endowed scholarships, and funds for faculty development—are essential steps to keep Adelphi at the forefront of higher education with nationally recognized programs. Since the launch in 2007, 16,000-plus donors have provided nearly $58 million, and the impact of such collective generosity is already evident across campus. To date, Adelphi has received 13 additional gifts of a million dollars or more from 13 exceptionally generous benefactors. And, highlights of named schools and facilities also include the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education and Motamed Field.
“Robert Willumstad’s gift acknowledges nearly 50 years of the School of Business’ landmark accomplishments and the quality of our alumni, faculty, and students,” said Rakesh Gupta, dean of the Willumstad School of Business. “Looking to the future, the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business is where students will continue to learn relevant skills to make informed, innovative, and ethical decisions in a competitive, global business environment.”
For more information about the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business, visit adelphi.edu/business.
Today, nearly 580 undergraduates and 410 graduate students are enrolled in the Willumstad School of Business. Small classes, a richly diverse student body, and hands-on experience enable students to excel. Adelphi offers undergraduate programs in accounting, economics, finance, management and marketing as well as part-time and accelerated M.B.A. graduate programs. Faculty members are first-rate scholars as well as experienced entrepreneurs and executives with a passion for teaching. Over the last five years, business faculty made more than 500 intellectual contributions to their fields. Innovators and top researchers, they are highly regarded for their expertise in key business disciplines.
Students gain exposure to business practice through internships and events with distinguished executives, government leaders, and scholars. Adelphi’s James Riley, Jr. Trading Room (named after a retired Goldman Sachs partner), outfitted with seven Bloomberg terminals and additional units across the campus, gives students a practical and in-depth understanding of the forces that shape the world of finance, and has been featured in The New York Times, Newsday, and Bloomberg publications. The School’s notable distinctions also include forging partnerships and developing innovative programs, such as the M.B.A. program offered to physicians affiliated with Catholic Health Services of Long Island. The goal of the program is for doctors to be well trained not only to take an active role in the future of the healthcare industry but also to acquire effective business management skills. The School boasts 17,000-plus alumni who hold senior-level positions in corporations, nonprofit organizations, government, and technology firms, among other sectors. The School is one of a small percentage of programs worldwide to be accredited by AACSB International.
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