$7.5 million landmark donation to The University of Auckland Business School

20 February 2005

The University of Auckland Business School’s drive to create a world-class business school in New Zealand has had a major boost through a large contribution from expatriate New Zealand entrepreneur, Owen G Glenn.

His $7.5 million gift to the Business School is believed to be the single largest donation given to a New Zealand educational institution and one of the largest donations in New Zealand’s philanthropic history.

Vice Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, expressed warm appreciation for Mr Glenn’s gift.

“This is a landmark in New Zealand. Many overseas institutions, particularly in the USA and Britain, work in a philanthropic environment where gifts and bequests to learning institutions are the norm. This contributes greatly to their success and international status. But donations on this scale are rare in New Zealand education and Mr Glenn’s gift sets a new benchmark for this country.”

Mr Glenn’s contribution, which will be spread over five years, takes the total amount raised so far to $58 million. The Business School’s extremely successful fundraising campaign raised $25m within two years, enabling it to receive a matching amount from the Government under its “Partnerships for Excellence” Programme in mid-2004.

The project’s ultimate fundraising target is $75 million, enabling the University to provide world-class programmes and facilities and draw top academic talent to New Zealand.

A centerpiece of the world-class business school project will be a new building, scheduled for completion in early 2008. Motivated by the generosity of Mr Glenn’s gift, the University has decided to name this “The Owen G Glenn Building”.

Construction of the distinctive six-storey, 27,000 square metre building at the corner of Grafton Rd and Wynyard St has begun. It will replace the School’s current facilities that are spread across eight sites on the University’s city campus and will greatly improve interaction among the School’s 200 plus staff and 7500 students.

The Dean of The Business School, Professor Barry Spicer, expressed his delight at Mr Glenn’s contribution.

“Owen is an inspiration to young entrepreneurs. He has built a global business from nothing through imagination, vision and hard work.

“He made his way in a complex, globally-connected world and has contributed significantly to the development of logistics internationally. His career is inspirational in that it shows what is possible with intelligence, imagination, innovation, perseverance and drive. It is fitting that the name of a New Zealander who has succeeded in business internationally should grace the new building.”

The Dean also acknowledged the generosity of the Business School’s other financial contributors, which include individuals, companies and trusts. “Thanks to their early support, we’ve been able to start delivering on our vision of having a world class business school in New Zealand.”

Mr Glenn, founder of one of the world’s biggest logistics organisations, NACA Logistics, says he is delighted to be able to contribute to the Business School.

“I’ve been successful in my business career. Now I want to put something back into New Zealand and specifically into business education.

“I firmly believe in what the Business School is doing. I believe its plans to develop a world-class facility and world-class research and teaching programmes are going to be of huge benefit to New Zealand business and society. And I hope that my own career might perhaps encourage the thousands of young people who will seed their business lives in this building in the years to come.”

Owen G Glenn, 65, left Auckland’s Mt Roskill Grammar with School Certificate before working his way to the top of the global shipping and logistics business. He spent much of the 1970s living in London and Sydney (where he now resides). He founded his first freight company, Direct Container Line, now part of NACA Logistics Group, initially to service the ocean transport needs of Australian importers buying goods from US manufacturers. Today NACA is a group of separately operating logistics companies, one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Mr Glenn is a graduate of Harvard University’s OPM (Owner/President Management Program), and is a major supporter of several charities and philanthropic organisations in New Zealand and overseas. In 2003 he donated $500,000 towards the establishment of a Chair in Marine Science at the Leigh Marine Laboratory at The University of Auckland.

The Business School embarked on its world-class project in 2002, aiming to transform itself from a leading Australasian institution into a truly world-class centre, excelling in the basic disciplines of business and economics, and providing leadership to meet the challenges of New Zealand’s enterprise creation and growth.

A major step in achieving this aim was the triple international accreditations the Business School has earned after thorough assessments by top peer panels. It is accredited by AACSB International, EQUIS, AMBA (Association of MBAs), - putting it in a prestige group of schools which collectively make up approximately 1 percent of the world’s business schools.

The University of Auckland Business School is the first business school in New Zealand to achieve all three of these accreditations which are referred to as the “triple crown.”