The University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business today (June 10) announced that university trustee Thomas J. Barrack, Jr. has committed $15 million to the school’s global business initiatives.
The funds will be used to transform Marshall’s first building, Barrack Hall, into a state-of-the-art home for the B-school’s 15 international undergraduate and graduate business programs.
The renovations will include new digital technology to support distance learning as well as redesigned offices, classrooms, research centers, and gathering areas.
“I am thrilled to be part of this exciting venture at Marshall and hope that the resources provided by the enhanced facility will help nurture the next generations of international business leaders,” said Barrack, who received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from USC in 1968. He also attended the university’s Gould School of Law before earning his J.D. from the University of San Diego in 1972. One of his sons will enter USC Marshall in the fall.
The real estate investor founded private equity firm Colony Capital in 1990. Previously, he served as deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior during the Reagan administration. He also sits on the boards of French multinational retailer Carrefour S.A. and First Republic Bank and is chairman of entertainment company Miramax.
At Marshall, Barrack is a member of the Board of Leaders and has delivered the commencement address at the B-school’s undergraduate and graduate ceremonies. In 2005, the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies presented him with the Entrepreneur of the Year award. He was elected to the USC Board of Trustees in 2012.
Barrack was exposed to business and cross-culturalism at an early age. As the son of Lebanese immigrants, he grew up working in his parents’ grocery store. Later, as a lawyer in Saudi Arabia, he learned Arabic and served as an adviser to Saudi princes. “Education and the development of a cultural sixth sense are the keys to commerce, and commerce is the key to tolerance and understanding. As an alumnus, I feel privileged to supply stewardship for the bricks, while Marshall, its dean, administration, and faculty supply the intellectual mortar,” Barrack said.
In May of 2013, Marshall kicked off a $400 million fundraising initiative for student scholarships, academic programming, faculty research and teaching, and capital projects. So far, the school has raised $200 million. The campaign is part of a larger university-wide push to raise at least $6 billion in private philanthropy. Earlier this year, Marshall alum Michael R. B. Uytengsu gave $4 million to the school to create an endowed scholarship fund.