The Koch Center for Family Business has officially changed its name to the Koch Center for Family Enterprise.
In 2019, The Koch Family—Paul A. (BSBA ’61, JD ’64, MBA ’68) and his wife, Elke; Roger L. (BSBA ’64, MBA ’66) and his wife, Fran —provided gifts and commitments of more than $9 million to create the center and its associated directorship and professor of practice.
They made the investment to create a center dedicated to studying the distinctive features of family-owned businesses and serving the family business community with programs and insights for improving business practice.
The family also wanted to raise awareness about the complexities and opportunities in family business, and to engage students in understanding the rich career potential within the family business ecosystem.
In 2021, Peter Boumgarden was appointed as the center’s director and the Koch Family Professor of Practice. At that time, he refreshed the strategic plan and vision for the center. He widened its scope to include not only family business research and practice, but also family philanthropy and investment activities. The center’s new name intends to reflect the new direction and broader impact of the Koch Center.
Boumgarden said that to understand the “purpose and performance” of family enterprise, one must look at ownership from multiple angles.
“This means paying attention to family owners looking to continue their legacy to the next generation,” he said. “But it also means exploring family offices and their direct investment portfolios, family philanthropists seeking to impact the world through their acquired wealth, and even students and alumni looking to pursue business building, acquisition and ownership.”
The challenges of strategic ownership are widespread and complex, and the Koch Center for Family Enterprise is well-positioned to explore and disseminate insights with a foundation in academic research and strong links to the family business community.
Variety of programs
The Koch Center for Family Enterprise oversees a variety of programs for both students and the St. Louis business community and is an important part of Olin. Among the programs it oversees are an annual symposium, a student club, a case study-driven course featuring family business practitioners as lecturers, and student practicum projects with owners of family businesses.
The Koch Center also manages an executive education workshop for owners, student-led academic work across a variety of enterprises and a new program called Philanthropy Forward. Philanthropy Forward works with strategic philanthropists to define and refine their theory of impact and change.
“The Koch family’s vision for a center focused on such a vital segment of our economy, paired with Professor Boumgarden’s strategic commitment to guiding its direction, is emblematic of what drew me to WashU Olin,” said Mike Mazzeo, dean of the school.
“I’m delighted to see that vision and collaboration reflected in the work to accurately express the Koch Center’s mission and scope with this new name.”
Top photo: The Kochs attend the Family Business Symposium in 2018.