Family of Curt Carlson gives

Kane Loukas
Staff Reporter

The University now has another 10 million reminders of why its business school carries the name of Curt Carlson.
The Carlson School of Management announced Friday morning that it received a $10 million gift from the late Curtis Carlson and the Carlson Family Foundation, bringing the total gifts from the Carlsons to $46.5 million.
Before his death earlier this year at the age of 83, Carlson was founder and joint-CEO of Carlson Companies, a Minnetonka-based travel and hostpitality company. Carlson graduated from the University in 1937 with an economics degree and later went on to be his alma mater’s greatest benefactor and an instrumental player in the establishment of the Carlson school.
This latest donation will be broken into two parts. A $2 million portion will go toward supporting the new University Gateway Alumni and Visitor Center located in Stadium Village.
Carlson intended the remaining $8 million to bump the business school higher into the ranks of elite business schools.
“Curt wanted another gift to go toward pushing the school over the top and get more programs into the top 20,” said David Kidwell, Dean of the Carlson School and close friend of the Carlson family.
Kidwell, who will directly oversee the $8 million endowment, plans to initially concentrate the resources on scholarships for MBA students and faculty recruiting. The endowment will be used as Carlson’s previous gifts have been used: to bolster the business school by way of recruiting the best students, faculty and building top-notch facilities.
Kidwell also plans to break from business as usual by putting a portion of the endowment into publicizing and marketing the school.
“One of the things that we feel has hurt us historically is that we haven’t done a good job marketing,” Kidwell said. But with the Carlson school graduate program ranked higher than ever at 26th and the Carlson school’s respectability growing in leaps and bounds, Kidwell decided that “now we’re going to start singing our praises.”
This latest gift follows on the heels of several major gifts from the Carlson family, most of which were centered on the business school that was named for Carlson in 1986 following an $18 million donation.
Carlson had agreed to make this latest $10 million donation late last year, but an announcement was held off on account of Carlson’s failing health and his eventual death this February. Friday was chosen for the announcement because it follows the 61st anniversary of the Carlson Company’s founding on June 8, 1938.
In addition to the gift, more than $71,000 in memorial gifts have been made by Carlson’s friends and relatives to the school. The University will honor the contributions in a celebration on Sept. 27.