GSB alumnus makes $15 million challengeNew York investment banker Eric Gleacher has made a $15 million challenge grant to the University's Graduate School of Business, naming the downtown center the Gleacher Center. The gift serves as an unprecedented challenge to alumni of the business school, from which Gleacher received his M.B.A.
The gift is the largest in the history of the GSB and has pushed the University's Campaign for the Next Century to nearly $615 million of its $650 million goal, the most ever raised by a Chicago-area institution.
"Eric Gleacher is a remarkable individual who has made an extraordinary commitment to education at our university," said President Sonnenschein. "We will work hard to meet the challenge he has set for alumni of our Graduate School of Business."
Gleacher's gift challenges alumni and friends of the GSB to increase their financial support for the school over the next five years. Special incentives of the gift are designed to encourage younger alumni in particular to make annual contributions to the school.
"My family and I feel privileged to be able to give something substantial back to the school that provided me with the fundamentals to build my career," Gleacher said.
The GSB is considered among the leading business schools in the world, according to surveys of business leaders and students and alumni of business schools worldwide. Four members of its faculty have received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, and the school has originated several of the most basic ideas guiding corporate finance over the last 30 years.
"This gift is a milestone in the life of our school," said Robert Hamada, the Edward Eagle Brown Distinguished Service Professor and Dean of the GSB. "Even more gratifying is that the gift comes from an alumnus who has used his Chicago training to make an important mark in the world of finance."
The Gleacher Center houses classes for evening, weekend and executive M.B.A. programs of the GSB and classes for the Center for Continuing Studies. Completed in 1994 at a cost of $44 million, the Gleacher Center also is used as a conference and training facility for companies.
Located on Chicago's Gold Coast, just east of Michigan Avenue, the Gleacher Center contains 30 classrooms and amphitheater-style lecture halls, 12 group-study rooms, a film-screening room and a well-stocked bookstore, open to the public, that offers both academic and general-interest material. A glass-walled penthouse floor features sweeping views of Chicago, offering dining and meeting facilities.
Gleacher received his A.B. degree from Northwestern in 1962, and after service as a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, he received his M.B.A. from Chicago in 1967.
Gleacher then joined the investment banking firm of Lehman Brothers, becoming a partner in 1973 and founding the mergers and acquisitions department in 1978. In 1983, he became a partner of Morgan Stanley, and in 1984 he was named worldwide head of mergers and acquisitions. In 1990, Gleacher formed his own investment banking firm, Gleacher & Co., which was acquired in 1995 by National Westminster Bank, one of the largest global banking organizations. Gleacher is currently chairman of NatWest's commercial and investment banking operations in North America.
During his career, Gleacher has served as financial adviser in many large corporate mergers, including the $10 billion acquisition of American Cyanamid by American Home Products in 1994. Other active clients include British Airways, ConAgra, Dial, May Department Stores, RJR Nabisco and Texaco.
Gleacher has been a generous supporter of the University's Graduate School of Business. He is currently co-chairman of the GSB's centennial campaign committee, and he served as vice chairman of the New York committee during the school's capital campaign from 1983 to 1986. He was a member of the Council on the Graduate School of Business from 1982 to 1988 and a director of the school's alumni association from 1982 to 1984. In 1990, Gleacher endowed a professorship in finance at the school.
An avid golfer, Gleacher is currently a member of the U.S. Golf Association's Executive Committee.