The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business has received a $5 million commitment from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation to rename the Center for Business Strategies for Sustainability. To honor this commitment and Ray Anderson’s legacy, the Center will now be known as the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business.
A 1956 Industrial Engineering graduate of Georgia Tech, Anderson was a loyal and devoted supporter of his alma mater for more than five decades. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Institute in 2011.
The Foundation has committed to distributing $5 million in expendable funding over the next decade, providing a term-of-year naming for the Center. In early 2013, the Foundation committed the initial three-year, $750,000 seed funding that established the Center for Business Strategies for Sustainability.
“Ray Anderson championed the business case for sustainability. His life’s work to pioneer sustainability in global manufacturing is an inspiration for generations to come,” said Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. “Georgia Tech shares his commitment to sustainability, and we are honored to continue his legacy through this Center that bears his name.”
“Ray’s name on the Center for Sustainable Business represents not just a memory of a man, but institutionalizes his lifelong passion for all things Georgia Tech, most especially the notion that from this day forward, sustainability education and business education will be forever entwined,” said John A. Lanier, executive director of the Foundation. “Ray stood for the principle that businesses must learn to live in harmony with society and the environment. For this dream to happen, the business leaders of tomorrow need to learn about this principle today.”
Since its founding two years ago, the Georgia Tech Center has been active in catalyzing new research and developing coursework in business sustainability for students at all levels — undergraduates, MBAs, doctoral students, and executives. To support its mission to use the power of business, technology, and innovation to create a sustainable future, it continues to grow relationships with an extensive network of businesses, other academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, industry groups, and sustainability experts.
Under the leadership of Scheller College of Business Dean Maryam Alavi, and of Beril Toktay, Center faculty director, and Howard Connell, Center managing director, the new commitment will ensure and expand the Center’s ability to serve as a catalyst and connector, bringing together students, research faculty, entrepreneurs and executives to create an environment where business-driven solutions to sustainability challenges can take shape and thrive.
The Center’s progress to date has also been supported by a three-year, $300,000 commitment from the Kendeda Fund received in 2013.The Ray C. Anderson Foundation was created in honor of the late Ray C. Anderson (1934-2011), an honors graduate of Georgia Tech and the founder of Interface, the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet, marketed as Interface and FLOR. In 1994, Anderson created a sea change within Interface and throughout the industry when he became a champion for the notion of businesses “doing well by doing good,” including environmental stewardship and sustainability. The Foundation seeks to promote a sustainable society by supporting and pioneering initiatives that harmonize society, business, and the environment for the present generation and tomorrow’s children. The Foundation achieves this mission through inspiring and funding innovative, educational, and project-based initiatives.