President Schuster Hosts Luncheon for KGI Founding Donors, Supporters
President Sheldon Schuster hosted a luncheon at his new home in Claremont last Friday to honor the founding trustees, donors and supporters of KGI. Among those in attendance were original donors such as Harlyne Norris, KGI trustee emeriti and trustee of The Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, and Wendy Garen, president and CEO of The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation. Allison Keller, executive director and chief financial officer, and Maria Pellegrini, PhD, executive director of programs, represented the W.M. Keck Foundation.
KGI was established in 1997 thanks to a $50 million founding grant from the Keck Foundation. In 2004, the foundation also awarded KGI a $20 million grant that challenged the institute to raise an additional $30 million in seven years to garner a total of $50 million in private support. KGI completed the challenge and raised the $30 million by 2010 - one year ahead of schedule - with the help of more than 600 sets of donors that included private companies, parents and alumni, as well as faculty and staff.
"From its beginning the W.M. Keck Foundation has put its money into high-risk, high-impact projects, and I can't think of a better example of this than the Keck Graduate Institute," said Allison Keller, the foundation's executive director and chief financial officer. "Who knew that you could pull it off and have a 22 percent year over year growth rate? It's about success, persistence and momentum, and we can't thank you enough for allowing us to share in this success with you."
KGI Board of Trustees Chair Robert E. Curry also spoke during the event, highlighting some of the accomplishments in the institute's 15-year history and praising the leadership and vision of founding president Henry "Hank" Riggs.
"We couldn't have achieved any of [these successes] without our initial supporters who saw all the reward behind the risk," Curry said. "We are extremely grateful for their foresight and their willingness to share in our vision. But, I have to say, as impressive as these past 15 years have been, I have no doubt that the next 15 are going to top it."
President Schuster then elaborated on his vision for KGI's future and spoke about the need to educate young people who have a broad understanding of many areas of business and the life sciences and are able to thrive in an environment of uncertainty.
"Whether it's working with Ian Phillips in the Center for Rare Disease Therapies, or learning about new models for public-private sector partnerships in global health with Steve Casper, or learning to become a leader in the field of bioprocessing at the Amgen Bioprocessing Center, KGI students are getting the type of education that allows them adapt to and excel in any number of environments and organizational structures," he said. "They are the kind of scientists, entrepreneurs, managers and professionals who will be prepared to handle the future of health care - national and globally — whatever it may be."
Tom Storey, MBS'03, a manager of business development at Amgen and a member of the KGI alumni board also spoke briefly about his career and the benefits of the education he received at KGI.