Wurtzels donates  million to Oberlin business program – The Oberlin Review

Wurtzels donates $5 million to Oberlin business program – The Oberlin Review

Alan Wurtzel, OC ’55, and his wife, Irene Wurtzel, recently gave $5 million to boost Oberlin College’s business program. The program currently includes an Integrative Business Concentration, which was launched three years ago, but neither major nor minor. The donation is contingent on the College raising an additional $5 million to match their contribution. The Alan L. ’55 and Irene R. Wurtzel Endowed Fund for Business Education would bring $10 million to the Oberlin business program, expanding the program’s capacity to offer classes and experiential opportunities.
Associate Professor of Business and Co-Chair of the Integrative Business Concentration Eric Lin is confident that the additional $5 million needed to match the original donation will be raised.
“There are a lot of students who I think have found themselves going into a business-related field,” Lin said. “But [it] it wasn’t clear that’s where they’d end up when they were here at Oberlin. And now that they’ve developed a life in business, there’s no natural place to connect with the College.”
Lin believes this fund will give them that opportunity. He also believes that the substantial fund can lead to the creation of a great business, or at least a stronger and stronger business program.
“This kind of funding should be accompanied by significant growth,” Lin said. “And if it’s going to be for business, it’s hard for me to imagine that we’re going to use $10 million for something that remains really small.”
This isn’t the first time the Wurtzels have given money to Oberlin. The Irene and Alan Wurtzel Theater, made possible by their donations, opened in 2018. The theater, dedicated to Oberlin’s performing arts programs, seats up to 300 and has provided a space for programs and performances of dance, theater and vocal studies.
Current Oberlin students interested in business can take courses in Accounting, Economics, Management, and Ethics. Students also have the opportunity to complete an Integrative Business Concentration, or participate in specific business programs, such as the Ashby Business Scholars program, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2023. This experiential program gives students the opportunity to learn key skills of business, apply them in the real world during visits to locations including Cleveland, New York and Boston, and network with successful alumni and other business leaders.
“I’ve never been frustrated about not having a business degree,” said College sophomore Shawn Lisann, an Ashby Scholar and Economics and Mathematics major who intends to complete the Integrative Business Concentration. “I still don’t think there should be a big business, but I do think there should be more opportunities to explore business in Oberlin, which I’m very excited about.”
Lisann cited Oberlin College’s character as an institution based on liberal arts education as a reason for his hesitancy about starting a large business. College sophomore Aahil Singh, an Ashby Scholar and economics major, expressed similar mixed feelings.
“I think Oberlin has a kind of liberal, anti-capitalist mindset that a lot of students carry with them,” Singh said. “The idea of ​​big business might seem to contradict all of this.”
But Singh was also enthusiastic about the benefits of an expanded business program and believes more opportunities could be beneficial for students.
“If it was presented as a major, or even as a few courses, that you could do to build some practical skills that you could learn from business, like negotiation, marketing or problem solving,” Singh said. “I think these are very valuable skills that almost everyone should have.”
Oberlin College will establish a committee to raise money for the endowed Alan L. ’55 and Irene R. Wurtzel Fund for Business Education to match the $5 million. The committee will also serve to provide guidance for the development of the business program.
The program is likely to expand business courses and faculty, as well as opportunities for experience. Lin emphasized that building a strong connection between the classroom and the real world is an integral part of a business program.
“When we think about this program, it’s not just about attracting and accepting students who are interested in this and graduating,” Lin said. “We have to think about where they will be placed, what kind of impact they will have and what their career will be like. … What we’re looking for is for them to have great careers, [and that] they have an impact on the world.”
Lisann expressed his gratitude to the Wurtzels for the gift.
“Business in general in Oberlin has always been good, so this will probably help it come to fruition. [with] more opportunities available to students,” Lisann said. “I am very grateful to them.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *