School News

Mark Eppli, director of WSB’s James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, looks on as former president George W. Bush speaks to an audience

WSB’s Mark Eppli Joins President George W. Bush at Event

Mark Eppli, director of WSB’s James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, had a lofty task at a recent leadership conference: facilitating a discussion with a former U.S. president.

Eppli interviewed George W. Bush, 43rd president of the United States and founder of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, at the 2019 Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago (FHLBank Chicago) Annual Management Conference in August.

Eppli’s conversation with President Bush took place before an audience of approximately 500 industry professionals and discussed themes of making decisions in the face of uncertainty, a focus that aligned with the former president’s recent book, Decision Points.

“It was truly a special opportunity to personally interview President George W. Bush,” says Eppli, who has been an independent FHLBank Chicago board member for seven years and serves on the organization’s Risk and Affordable Housing Program Committees.

“One of the many aspects of his talk that was particularly insightful for the audience was how, as president, he often had to make decisions quickly, under extreme pressure, and with the best information available at the time. Business leaders similarly are required to make organizational decisions with incomplete information and in the midst of uncertainty.”

WSB’s Eckhardt Named Discovery Fellow at WID

Jon Eckhardt, associate professor of management and human resources and the Robert Pricer Chair in Enterprise Development, was named a Discovery Fellow at UW–Madison’s Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID).

The Discovery Fellows program establishes research collaborations with faculty of exceptional ability in order to expand the scope of research and promote WID’s interdisciplinary mission. Discovery Fellows are nominated and selected from across campus for five-year appointments.

Eckhardt’s research includes the use of information in entrepreneurship, firm formation, venture finance, and initial public offerings. His most recent project is a multiyear study of student entrepreneurship and university entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Bucky Badgers grabs the spotlight at the WSB homecoming bash

Bucky in the House

WSB’s annual Homecoming Bash in October at Grainger Hall had a special—and popular—guest, Bucky Badger. The celebration also had 440 alumni, friends, and family who enjoyed food, music, networking, and a Badger football victory over Michigan State.

New Initiative Connects Business With Humanities

A new WSB seminar for first-year students seeks to find common ground in two areas that are often taught in isolation from each other—business and humanities.

The initiative was made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that created a partnership between WSB and the College of Letters and Science. It’s part of a wider campus initiative: First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs). FIG seminars help incoming undergraduate students transition into the university’s academic environment by learning together in a small cohort that takes three courses around a specific topic.

The new business-led FIG course, “The Sociology and History of American Marketing and Consumer Society,” is taught by Thomas O’Guinn, professor and chair of WSB’s Department of Marketing and the Irwin Maier Distinguished Chair in Business.

“Marketing, and the consumer culture it helped produce, isn’t just about some bag of commercial techniques,” O’Guinn says. “Marketing was made by, and in turn made, the character of contemporary society. You can’t adequately teach our history without some deeper recognition and history of marketing.”

The FIG course is created specifically for direct-admit business students—those who received admission to WSB directly out of high school.

The NEH grant also funds a partnership between WSB and UW–Madison’s Center for the Humanities that brings high-profile speakers to campus in a series titled “Foreseeing the Future.”

Bloomberg Businessweek Touts Alumni Network

WSB has always known it holds a special bond with its alumni, and now the rest of the world knows it too. The School ranked #19 worldwide—and fifth among public universities—in a Bloomberg Businessweek survey that rated the power of business schools’ alumni networks.

The publication surveyed more than 15,000 full-time MBA alumni from 126 schools for its annual rankings. WSB ranked highly for the statement, “My school’s alumni network has helped me build my career.”

The WSB alumni network—which is more than 40,000 strong and growing each year—is known for its active involvement in recruitment, mentorship, and career guidance. New students regularly mention WSB’s alumni as a key factor in their school decision.


among public universities for power of business schools’ alumni networks

Business Casual

Newsletter Will Keep Alumni Up to Date About WSB

This fall, WSB launched a newsletter for alumni and friends to help keep the Business Badger connection strong, right from your inbox.

Business Casual is an informal and informative digest of news and features, delivered every other month.

WSB’s alumni relations team created Business Casual based on alumni feedback that expressed a desire to stay up to date about the School while continuing to learn from it, too.

If you haven’t received Business Casual or want to share it with friends, you can sign up at

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Rollie Heath (BBA ’59)

and his wife, Josie, were honored on October 9 by Great Education Colorado for their impact on the community. The breadth of their contributions can be seen in the organizations they have founded and supported, including the Community Foundation of Boulder County, the Public Education Business Coalition, the Women’s Foundation, the Colorado Community College System, and the World Trade Center. Formerly, Heath was a member of the Wisconsin School of Business' Dean’s Advisory Board and served as a Colorado state senator from 2015-2017. More Class Notes »

Nick Millot (BBA ’12)

was named one of Chicago Crain’s "20 in Their 20s." Now vice president of development at Related Midwest, Millot oversees some of the biggest projects in Chicago real estate, including One Bennett Park, a new 70-story luxury residential tower in Streeterville, and 400 Lake Shore Drive, a $1 billion mixed-use proposal that features residential units, the expansion of the Chicago Riverwalk, and the development of a public park. Prior to joining Related Midwest in 2013, Millot worked in the Real Estate Banking Group for Wells Fargo.More Class Notes »

Pamela Hart (BBA ’90, JD ’02)

became executive director of the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School in June 2019. She was the first person to develop and teach an animal law course at the University of Chicago Law School, as well as at UW–Madison. She is also a co-founder of Sheltering Animals of Abuse Victims, a Dane County nonprofit dedicated to recognizing the role of animals in family violence. Hart lives in Middleton, Wisconsin. More Class Notes »