KU School of Business adds new specialized professorship with $1 million gift from California couple

The University of Kansas’ business school has added a specialized professorship in analytics and related fields, thanks to a $1 million gift from a California couple.

Roger and Julie Davis recently gave $1 million to establish a new professorship in Analytics, Information and Operations Management within KU’s School of Business. KU recently hired Debabrata “Deb” Dey, formerly a University of Washington professor, to fill the new position.

The field is an emerging one in business study, focusing on how to use digital information to create more operating efficiencies in a business. The $1 million gift also comes with a commitment from the Davises to give additional annual gifts to ensure that the endowment always has at least $100,000 per year to support the new position.

Roger Davis, of Montecito, California, received degrees in accounting and business administration from KU in 1972, and has been an active member of the business school’s advisory board for years.

The couple asked that the new professorship be established in honor of Tom Sarowski, who served as dean of the KU business school from 1995 to 2000. Davis worked closely with Sarowski during his tenure as a member of the dean’s advisory board.

Davis, who previously had a career as an owner and CEO of a private education company in Chicago, said he and Julie decided to make the gift after hearing a KU business school plan designed to attract and support high-quality faculty chairs.

“This gift advances the school’s efforts to recruit top-tier faculty, such as Professor Dey, which also helps elevate our academic reputation,” KU School of Business Dean Paige Fields said in a release. “Bolstering an academic area director position in this forward-focused way ensures the retention of strong faculty leadership within the school.”


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