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Kapnick family honors father with $5 million gift to Weinberg College

Commitment to create Harvey Kapnick Center for Business Institutions, endowed professorship

Mary and Harvey Kapnick
Mary and Harvey Kapnick

EVANSTON - To the family of late Chicago businessman Harvey Kapnick, business is more than a singular career path. Business and its institutions are a central and dynamic part of our world, inextricably linked to culture, politics, philosophies, literature and society.

A new $5 million commitment from the Kapnick Foundation to Northwestern University’s Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences will extend this vision to the academic arena, providing generations of students with a robust, multidisciplinary foundation in business education.

The gift will create the Harvey Kapnick Center for Business Institutions, expanding the Harvey Kapnick Business Institutions Program, home of Northwestern’s most popular minor. William Rogerson, the current Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor, will continue to serve as director of the center.

The gift will also create an endowed professorship, the Harvey Kapnick Professor of Business Institutions, which will be held by the director of the center. The professorship is supported in part by alumni Patrick G. Ryan and Shirley W. Ryan through the Ryan Family Chair Challenge, which matches gifts made by other Northwestern supporters to establish new endowed professorships, or chairs, across a wide range of disciplines.

The professorship will be the second endowed chair established by the Kapnick family. The first chair, also named the Harvey Kapnick Professor of Business Institutions, was established in 1988 and is now held by Ronald R. Braeutigam, associate provost for undergraduate education and faculty member in the department of economics.

This most recent gift from the Kapnick Foundation counts toward We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern. Weinberg College has raised more than $250 million in support so far throughout the Campaign, advancing interdisciplinary thinking across the humanities, sciences and social sciences.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing the Kapnick family for many years,” Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro said. “It is absolutely thrilling to see the Kapnick Foundation build on Harvey Kapnick’s wonderful legacy as an insightful and highly ethical business leader  and to know that our students will go on to lead their professions guided by the same values.”

The Kapnick Center for Business Institutions will build upon Weinberg’s minor in business institutions, open to all Northwestern undergraduates. The minor encourages students to connect their study of business to broader areas of academic inquiry while providing a strong foundation in accounting, marketing management, organizational leadership, corporate finance and other areas.

Prerequisites for the minor include courses in macroeconomics, calculus and statistics. Core courses also include business tools courses, offered in partnership with the Kellogg School of Management; “Writing and Speaking in Business,” offered in partnership with the Bobbie and Stanton Cook Family Writing Program; and several offerings in the social sciences and humanities.

“We believe in a truly interdisciplinary arts and sciences education, which allows undergraduate students to develop broad horizons,” said Adrian Randolph, dean of Weinberg College. “Thanks to the Kapnick family’s vision and generosity, all Northwestern undergraduates will have the opportunity to study the history and processes of business in the context of their interdisciplinary studies.”

Specifically, the gift will provide support for:

  • Curriculum development, with an increased focus on data analytics
  • Undergraduate summer internships and research
  • Faculty research
  • Visiting executives in residence, lecture series and alumni networking events
  • Advising and career support

“Our family has known Morty Schapiro for years, and we are delighted to continue our long-standing tradition of supporting Northwestern University,” Scott Kapnick said. “Our hope is that this gift will allow more students to benefit from the broad interdisciplinary perspective that will prepare them as visionary leaders in their careers.”  

Harvey Kapnick, who passed away in 2002, was a life trustee and loyal supporter of Northwestern who, for years, never missed a home football game. A former chairman and chief executive of Arthur Andersen, Kapnick left the firm in 1979 because of concerns over potential conflicts of interest related to the accounting and consulting arms of the firm being engaged in business with the same clients. The same issues that Kapnick raised were investigated by the federal government during its prosecution of Arthur Andersen for its role in the collapse of Enron, according to Kapnick’s obituary.

Two of Kapnick’s grandchildren — Carolyn Hunter ’05 and John Kapnick ’10 — graduated from Northwestern. Kapnick had three sons — David, Brad and Scott Kapnick — all of whom have pursued careers related to finance.

The funds raised through the “We Will” Campaign are helping realize the transformational vision set forth in Northwestern’s strategic plan and solidify the University’s position among the world’s leading research universities. More information on We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern is available at wewill.northwestern.edu.

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