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$1 million gift will support design studios, scholarships at KU School of Engineering

January 23, 2014
Kent and Missy McCarthy have announced a commitment to give $1.25 million toward the new School of Business building at the University of Kansas.
Interior rendering

“This gift represents the latest in a series of significant contributions by a dedicated and distinguished alumnus of the school,” School of Business Dean Neeli Bendapudi said. “Kent and Missy McCarthy have shaped the learning experiences of many business Jayhawks. Kent helped create one of the most successful courses in our curriculum, brought luminaries to speak to our classes, has won a prestigious teaching award and has helped numerous finance students launch their careers.”

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little added that their support would help the university achieve its aspirations. “I’m delighted with the dedication Missy and Kent McCarthy have shown to our business school,” she said.

In 1988, Kent McCarthy started the Applied Portfolio Management (APM) class at KU, which gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with investment decisions. In 1993, he funded the APM course with more than $250,000. For 20 years, McCarthy matched (and in some years double- or triple-matched) the contributions made by the alumni students of APM. The McCarthys’ original 1993 letter of gift stated that annually, money was to be used to fund one KU basketball scholarship and one minority business school scholarship, with the corpus to be used to fund a new business school.

McCarthy and Catherine Shenoy, who co-taught APM, also co-authored a book in 2005 called “How the University of Kansas Students Generate Alpha to Beat the Street.” In 1996, McCarthy won the prestigious Henry Bubb Outstanding Teacher Award. McCarthy also taught a one-week version of the class for seven years in Asolo, Italy, as part of the KU CIMBA program. Over the years, the APM course has brought in CEOs and CFOs from around the world at no cost to KU (Beijing, London, Geneva, Shanghai, New York, Sydney and San Francisco). Notable speakers include Dave Cummings, owner and CEO of Tradebot Systems and Tradebot Ventures; John Dicus, chairman, president and CEO of Capitol Federal Savings Bank; Gene Diederich, CEO of Moneta Group; Dave Dillon, chairman of the Board of Directors of The Kroger Co.; Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Commerce; David Walthall, principal of Walthall Asset Management; James D. Wineland, retired portfolio manager for Waddell & Reed; and Bill Zollars, former chairman, president and CEO of YRC Worldwide Inc.

In addition to funding the APM course, McCarthy made a $500,000 pledge to match funds for the School of Business in 2001. In 2007, the McCarthys pledged $10 million on a matching basis to fund the school. The McCarthys donated approximately $2 million immediately to a KU-managed charitable foundation as a first installment toward the $10 million pledge. Unfortunately, with the great recession, KU was unable to raise the matching $10 million.

“For 17 years, Missy and I have been hoping for a new business school. Then along comes Neeli, and with the help of incredibly generous donors like the Dicus and Illig families and many others, the dream is now a reality,” McCarthy said. “Special thanks to the APM students, who despite being fresh out of school and often in debt, made contributions over the last 20 years.”

The campaign is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

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January 23, 2014
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Michelle Keller
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