April 25, 2007

TCU Announces Multi-Million Dollar Gift from BNSF for University Programs

TCU this week announced that the university has received the single largest gift from a corporation in TCU's history. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (BNSF) has pledged a multi-million dollar gift to benefit two programs, the BNSF Next Generation Leadership Program in the Neeley School of Business, and the University Career Services Center.

"This very generous gift will help TCU more effectively fulfill its mission of educating ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community," said Chancellor Victor Boschini.  "We are honored that our business leadership and career services programs both will bear the BNSF name."

"We want to partner with TCU to help develop and invest in leadership programs that apply both to BNSF Railway and to other businesses and organizations within the region," said Matthew K. Rose, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation.

The BNSF Next Generation Leadership Program, conceived by a faculty team led by Dr. Christine Riordan at the Neeley School of Business, emphasizes the development of exceptional business students into tomorrow's leaders. Chosen by application, business undergraduates participate in a comprehensive two-year leadership development experience that includes innovative academic curriculum, as well as speakers series, team training, forums and workshops about the skills and practices of leaders.

Students from the program also meet executives in area companies to experience leadership first-hand in a business world context. In April, the inaugural class of BNSF Next Generation Leadership students visited the BNSF facilities for their first corporate site visit. Seven senior executives discussed BNSF's strategic business model and leadership philosophy, as well as provided advice on early career challenges and transitions. Thirty students have completed the first year of the program.  A second group of 30 students was selected this spring.

"Traditionally, leadership in business schools has been taught in a single course," noted Dr. Riordan. "The problem with this approach is that teaching leadership requires more than a course. Becoming an effective leader does not occur in a day, a week, a month or a year. It is a lifelong pursuit. However, the journey of becoming a leader can and should begin in the university setting."

For TCU business students, the BNSF Next Generation Leadership program enriches that journey. "This innovative leadership development program uses an integrated classroom curriculum along with co-curricular activities to provide students with the opportunity to learn about and practice their leadership competencies," said Dr. Riordan. 

The BNSF gift will also support University Career Services, which will be named the BNSF Career Services Center in honor of their support and commitment to TCU. The new BNSF Career Services Center will be located in the newest academic building which is part of the Campus Commons and is currently under construction. The Campus Commons, at the center of campus, is designed to reinforce the residential nature and pedestrian intent of the campus. The location of the BNSF Career Services Center here will provide students easy access to career resources and will be highly visible for all who visit the campus. 

Career Services is an integral part of the TCU educational process by assisting students and alumni in assessing their career possibilities, setting their personal goals and achieving their objectives toward becoming productive citizens in the global community. While assisting its clients in identifying professional employment opportunities, Career Services also provides the university community with insights into the ever-changing world of work to help develop realistic ways to better educate tomorrow's leaders.