As he spoke recently in a room full of students about the challenges associated with balancing one's professional and personal commitments, Ken Freeman '72 didn't use spreadsheets and charts to convey his message. Instead, the Bucknell alumnus with a degree in business administration relied on what might have been an unexpected source for most CEO-turned-business-school-deans — poetry. W.B. Yeats' "The Choice," to be specific.
This moment exemplifies the distinctive nature of management education at Bucknell, built on the foundation of the liberal arts. It's an educational experience that will grow significantly stronger thanks to the generosity of Ken and his wife, Janice. The University announced today that the couple has made a historic gift in support of the College of Management.
"I was a first-generation college student with broad interests, and Bucknell provided me with an excellent education and a solid foundation for pursuing a rewarding career and personal life with a focus on making a difference," Freeman said. "Management education at Bucknell is at an exciting inflection point. By giving in support of the recently established College of Management, we believe we can help accelerate progress and hope to make a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of students for generations to come."
Bucknell established the College of Management last July after many years of study and preparation. In anticipation of that moment, the couple provided funding to establish the Kenneth W. Freeman Professorship and Dean of Management position, which is held by Raquel Alexander. Their additional gift will support the hiring of new senior management faculty and the expansion of interdisciplinary educational opportunities. In recognition of their commitment of more than $25 million in support, the college will be named the Kenneth W. Freeman College of Management, the first named college in the University's history.
"We are beyond grateful for this exceptional gift, not only for the many ways it will enhance what we do for our students, but also because it forever links management education at Bucknell with this extraordinary family," Alexander said.
Freeman, who concludes his third and final term as chair of Bucknell's Board of Trustees in June, began his career at Corning. He served in a number of financial positions and then led numerous organizations, including the medical testing business which was spun off by Corning in 1996 as Quest Diagnostics where he served as chairman, president and CEO. Under his leadership, Quest Diagnostics was transformed from a deeply troubled business into the leader in diagnostic testing services. In recognition of his leadership he was named a top 100 performing CEO by Harvard Business Review in 2010 and 2013. Freeman joined the private equity firm KKR in 2005 where he served as a managing director and partner and in 2010 turned to higher education, accepting the opportunity to become dean of Boston University's School of Management, now the Questrom School of Business.
"This historic gift will have a tremendous impact, and it deserves our deepest gratitude," said Bucknell President John Bravman. "Ken and Janice's vision and leadership will greatly strengthen our ability to recruit the best faculty and students and deliver an unparalleled undergraduate management education at the Freeman College of Management."
"We have been very fortunate in life," Freeman added. "Janice and I believe strongly that giving back is a responsibility and a privilege, and what better cause than investing in the education of future leaders."
The Freemans' gift adds momentum to the University's goal of raising $100 million for management education within the next 10 years. The support will enable the college to expand its academic programs, both for majors and non-majors alike; add additional faculty to support those programs; and build a new facility to house the college, with spaces conducive to innovation and collaboration.