By 4:50 yesterday afternoon, the Rothman Winter Garden teemed with chattering MBA students, invited only a few hours earlier to hear a special 5 p.m. announcement from GSB Dean Ted Snyder, AM’78, PhD’84.
The elbow-to-elbow crowd—faculty, staff, former deans, GSB Council members, University administrators and trustees, and alumni added to the mix—waited patiently, jockeying politely for a better view of the dais where photographers and videographers jostled for their own sight lines.
“Good afternoon.” Dean Snyder had the crowd at hello. When the applause died down, he introduced three people sitting front-and-center: Chandler Booth, a fifth-grader from Austin, Texas, who likes basketball and China; Erin Booth, an art-history major at Georgetown University; and Suzanne Deal Booth, an art conservator who directs Friends of Heritage Preservation. “Now, let me tell you about David Booth.”
Beginning with the first, “life-changing” course that Booth, MBA’71, took from finance professor Eugene Fama, MBA’63, PhD’64, Snyder traced the success of Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA), which Booth founded in 1981 with Rex Sinquefield, MBA’72, and which based many of its investment strategies on ideas flowing from Fama and others at the GSB. Booth, a GSB Council member and University trustee, has long credited DFA’s success to a way of thinking he learned at Chicago. And now, said Snyder, the Booth family was demonstrating that gratitude—and confidence in the school—in a very tangible way.
One by one, Snyder revealed the details of the gift—which had been, until this moment, a phenomenally well-kept secret: “The largest ever to our school” brought whistles and applause. “The largest to any business school” increased the volume. “The largest to the University” turned it up a notch. And then: “300 million!” Could the sound-o-meter go higher?
In recognition of the gift, Snyder announced, the University’s trustees had voted that afternoon to rename the business school. With that, a new banner was unfurled above the dais. The noise soared. Chicago GSB was now “CHICAGO BOOTH: The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.”
Calling his gift “a partnership distribution,” Booth told the students, “Clearly we have the best business school, and it will continue to support all of us.” Fama described his student’s intellect and humility, and University President Robert Zimmer praised Booth as an exemplar of Chicago ideas and ideals in action.
And because a new name demands new gear, boxes of long-sleeved tops emblazoned with CHICAGO BOOTH suddenly opened around the room—just in time for a mass photo op.
A Thursday afternoon reception (top) fills the Rothman Winter Garden at the Harper Center; finance professor Eugene Fama, MBA'63, PhD'64 (left) and University President Zimmer applaud the GSB's new namesake, David Booth, MBA'71; and MBA students show their Booth colors in new Chicago Booth gear.
Photos by Matthew Gilson
November 7, 2008