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Raj and Kamla Gupta Governance Institute

April 16, 2018


Serving on a corporate or nonprofit board has become an important and complicated job, and that’s where Drexel’s Gupta Governance Institute can help, according to Drexel President John Fry.

Over the past 10 years, the Center for Corporate Governance at Drexel University has become a leader in developing and advocating meaningful, substantive positions for corporate governance to help guide directors as they lead and advise corporate boards and discharge their fiduciary obligations.

At one time, serving on a corporate or nonprofit board was viewed perhaps as a nice, genteel perk. But it has become an important and complicated job with serious risks and responsibilities. One only needs to scan the business pages for stories about companies and nonprofits that have run into financial and legal trouble to understand the importance of good governance.

As Warren Buffett famously said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation … and five minutes to ruin it.”  Our Center is focused on helping companies stay at the forefront of best practices … while avoiding the five minutes of infamy. The Center is fortunate to be guided by two strong leaders in Patti Connolly and Ralph Walking.

The Center is also backed by a high-quality advisory board, co-chaired by Tony Conti and Nance Dicciani. The advisory board includes an all-star cast of corporate giants who bring a wealth of experience leading and serving on the boards of many Fortune 500 companies. The Center has especially benefitted from the support of two of the most admired and respected giants on Wall Street in Jack Brennan and Bill McNabb, two leaders who made Vanguard the gold standard for good corporate governance.

This dynamic team of business leaders has helped to distinguish Drexel and the Bennett S. LeBow College of Business as a leader in governance research and education. And the Center would not exist without a generous gift from Drexel alumnus Christ Stratakis to establish the Stratakis Chair in Corporate Governance.

Thanks to a generous multimillion dollar gift from Raj and Kamla Gupta’s foundation, Ujala, and David and Janet Haas and the Haas family foundations, I am humbled and honored to announce that the Center will become the Raj & Kamla Gupta Governance Institute. This support has taken the new Institute much of the way to our $10 million fundraising goal.

We plan to leverage this momentum to attract more investments to ensure the Institute has the means to grow and play an even greater role as a national leader in governance.

This investment is a game-changer in many ways. It will allow the Institute to expand its focus from mainly for-profit public companies to non-profit and private companies. This is an underserved area that has also become increasingly complex and important as nonprofits take on bigger roles and increased accountability.

The investment will allow the Institute to develop leading research that shapes and influence dialogues among nonprofit boards and leadership on the benefits of improved governance practices.

Having the proper support and guidance to implement best practices and metrics is crucial.

The investment will allow the Institute to bring together academics and practitioners to foster high-impact collaborations and candid discussions, which over time, will lead to improved governance and better outcomes for all stakeholders.

In short, the support from the Gupta and Haas families will position the Institute at the forefront of governance issues for public, private and nonprofit industries.