Robert B. Goergen, chairman of the University of Rochester's Board of Trustees, and his wife, Pamela, have made a $10.5 million gift to the University of Rochester.
$10 million of the gift will establish an endowment to support undergraduate programs at the University. An additional donation of $100,000 a year for the next five years will be used to fund awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching.
"As I look back, I see that my undergraduate experience at the University of Rochester played a critical role in preparing me to address later challenges in my life and business career," said Goergen, who earned a bachelor's degree in physics from the University in 1960, graduating with honors. He is now a successful entrepreneur and chairman of the University's Board of Trustees. "This is the reason I have committed the time it takes to lead the Board, and have emphasized the vital role that undergraduate education must play in the University's future. I am deeply grateful that my wife, Pamela, shares this view and joins me in this commitment."
Goergen has served on the University's Board of Trustees since 1982 and became chair in 1991. He chaired the Trustee Search Committee which selected Thomas Jackson as ninth president of the University.
He began his career at Procter & Gamble, moving on to McCann-Erickson, where he became a senior account executive within a few years. Next, he joined consultants McKinsey & Co., Inc., working on sales, pricing, marketing strategy, mergers, and acquisition of consumer goods operations. He was made a principal partner in less than four years. Goergen's next stop was as managing general partner of the venture capital group at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc.
He is now chairman of Blyth Industries of Greenwich, Conn., a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange [NYSE] with annual sales of $300 million. Blyth manufactures and distributes candles, accessories, and home fragrance products. The company, with offices in Chicago, Des Plaines, Batavia, and Carol Stream, Ill., ranked 30th among America's 200 best small companies in the November 6, 1995 issue of Forbes magazine. He is also the founder and chairman of Ropart Partners, a private-equity investment firm based in Greenwich, and chairman of Xtra Corp. of Boston, listed on the NYSE, and one of the largest trailer leasing companies in the U.S. In addition, he serves on the boards of five other corporations, including Chicago-based Bank of America, Illinois. As an investor and operating executive, Goergen has been responsible for the "turnarounds" of several firms.
Born in Buffalo, NY, Goergen is a graduate of Kenmore High School. After earning a bachelor's degree at the University of Rochester, Goergen earned an MBA in finance from the Wharton Graduate School at the University of Pennsylvania.
"I am thrilled with this vote of confidence in the University and its future from a man whom I respect enormously for his insight into the role that higher education -- in particular, undergraduate education -- plays in this country's economic well being," said President Thomas Jackson.
"I came to know Bob Goergen well during the presidential search, when I was chairing the faculty search committee," said Provost Charles Phelps. "I was immensely impressed with his intellect, his ability to focus on what would be important to the future of the institution, and his driving, entrepreneurial spirit. We are truly fortunate in having his direction and we thank him and Pamela Goergen for this marvelously generous gift."
"Attracting financial support for undergraduate programs is a real challenge for every college and university," said Richard Aslin, vice provost and dean of The College. "This commitment from the Goergens sends a clear signal to our faculty of confidence in their ability to move forward at a pivotal moment and create a better future for the institution."
President Thomas Jackson, Provost Charles Phelps, and Vice Provost and Dean of the College Richard Aslin will determine later the specifics on how endowment and award funds will be used.