Greetings from the Assistant Dean for Institutional Advancement

This is a special place. But for the thousands of Carlson School alumni and friends who are (hopefully!) reading this, you already knew that. My education came on my second day on the job, last November. I had the good fortune to sit in on a lunch with some of our most passionate and generous benefactors who were asked to share feedback on two rather simple questions: What makes the Carlson School so unique and why should these attributes inspire philanthropic support?

Prominent amongst the attendees was Marilyn Carlson Nelson, whose father Curt Carlson’s ground-breaking 1986 gift changed the course of this school forever. Rather than simply sing the Carlson School’s praises, Mrs. Nelson focused her remarks on her father’s deep and abiding belief that businesses go beyond profit/loss statements and have a prominent role in solving society’s greatest challenges. Mr. Carlson was a true champion of the Twin Cities business community for doing just that and, through his and the family’s generous philanthropy, helped the Carlson School of Management understand its role in preparing graduates for a life of servant leadership outside the boardroom. On that chilly November day, I realized I not only landed at a great business school, but one with a symbiotic connection to one of America’s great business communities where “giving back” is how you do business.

It is an honor to lead the advancement operations for the Carlson School of Management and I thank the many of you who have welcomed me so generously. Over the coming months and years, we will be working to broaden the culture of philanthropy Mr. Carlson helped start 30 years ago. Why? Because the Carlson School’s future excellence is dependent on attracting and retaining field-shaping faculty, the best and brightest students from all backgrounds and socioeconomic climates, and passionate, dedicated alumni and corporate partners committed to making sure the Carlson School is among the world’s best business schools.

Thank you for your past support and future considerations.

Travis Smith
Assistant Dean for Institutional Advancement


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