The Georgia Institute of Technology has announced a transformational gift from an alumnus that has resulted in the renaming of the Institute’s former College of Management.
Ernest “Ernie” Scheller Jr., a 1952 Industrial Management graduate of Georgia Tech, has made a commitment totaling $50 million, a majority of which has been fulfilled. The gift has already begun to dramatically strengthen the College’s faculty, student body, and academic programs. When completed in 2013, it will amount to the single largest cash gift in Institute history.
In all, Scheller’s gift—along with others inspired to participate in a corresponding dollar-for-dollar challenge—will more than double the College’s endowment.
In recognition of and appreciation for the dramatic impact that Scheller’s generosity and leadership have had and will continue to have for many years to come, the College of Management has been renamed the Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business.
“Ernie Scheller’s generosity has not only had an immediate impact on the College via the dollar-for-dollar challenge, but that impact will also continue far into the future,” said College of Business Dean Steve Salbu. “We’ve used this gift to bring our PhD program up to a truly global standard, and to grow the size and quality of our faculty during a time when our budgets were cut and our competition was retrenching. Adding nine endowed faculty chairs and professorships, 37 undergraduate scholarships and six graduate fellowships is transformational in and of itself as it dramatically enhances the College’s ability to attract top talent.”
An additional component of Scheller’s commitment is a dean’s discretionary endowment, which Salbu says “will give us a real boost when it comes to taking advantage of opportunities as they arise. This endowment will be available for me and for every dean who follows me in perpetuity. This is a transformational gift that will allow the College—which has gone from being a very strong regional player to being a competitor within the big leagues of business schools—to take and firmly keep our place in that competitive arena.”
In addition to supporting facilities and endowment, Scheller’s previous gifts to the College of Business have established a scholarship and a faculty chair focused on innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization.
Scheller is chairman emeritus of Pennsylvania-based Silberline Manufacturing Inc., a company his father founded in the 1940s that is today a key global supplier of high-quality pigments—primarily to the automobile industry—that tremendously enhance the visual appeal of coatings, paints, inks, plastics, and textiles.
“Ernie Scheller has a distinguished track record of success in leading and growing one of the top family-owned businesses in the country,” said Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson. “Ernie rightfully takes great pride in building upon his father’s legacy and passing on the fruits of his labors to succeeding generations. While his generosity has had an unprecedented impact on our College of Business, I believe that impact will ultimately inspire the larger Georgia Tech community to continue boldly envisioning a future of globally renowned excellence and quality.”
“Georgia Tech taught me the importance of perseverance and persistence,” said Scheller. “Over the years, I’ve applied those same principles to my support of Georgia Tech and its College of Business. In order to build a College that will rank among the world’s best business programs, you’ve got to have great leadership, a broad-based vision, and a lot of determination. The College has been fortunate these past six years to enjoy such leadership under Dean Steve Salbu. By any barometer you could choose, the College has improved dramatically during Steve’s tenure. I have never been more optimistic about the future of Georgia Tech and its College of Business, and I am eager to see the great things that will happen there in the coming years.”