HBS Dean Takes Ice Bucket Challenge

Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria stood in front of the iconic Baker Library the other day and did what would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. He tossed a bucket of ice water over his head. Nohria joined the growing numbers of people, from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to Apple’s Tim Cook, to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Ever since golfer Greg Norman challenged NBC’s “TODAY” host Matt Lauer to toss an ice bucket over his head in mid-July to raise money for the Hospice of Palm Beach County in Florida, the challenge has become a social media sensation. Before the end of the month, 29-year-old Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball star who’s been living with ALS for two years, threw down the gauntlet and nominated himself‬. The challenge became a viral event.

The campaign has raised awareness and millions of dollars for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more popularly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, over the past month. The idea: Dump a bucket of chilly water and ice over your head and challenge three others to do the same or donate $100 to ALS. Many who take the challenge give money to ALS even when they endure that cold stream of ice and water. The ALS Association said yesterday (Aug. 19) that it has received $22.9 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 19). These donations have come from existing donors and 453,210 new donors to The Association.

Nohria took it in honor of a former student Avi Kremer and others in the Harvard community who had become afflicted with the disease which typically results in death within two to five years. A former captain in the Israeli Defense Forces, Kremer was admitted to HBS in the Class of 2007.

In 2004, Avi Kremer was on top of the world. His resume detailed the trajectory of a rising star: captain in the Israeli Defense Forces; graduate of Technion—the Israeli Institute of Technology; project manager at Elbit Systems, the largest private defense company in Israel; and a newly admitted member of the Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2007. In his first semester at the school, he was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. When Kremer asked his doctor what he could do, the doctor replied simply, “Prepare a will.”

Nohria then challenged Harvard University President Drew Faust, Harvard College Dean Rakesh Kurana, and leadership professor Bill George.

The HBS Dean isn’t the only person in the business school world to take the challenge. Tiff Macklem, who just started his deanship at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management last month, also got into the act (see below).

Some MBA students also picked up ice buckets, including those at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business who have issued a challenge to MBAs at Wharton, Darden and UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School (below).

And Wharton’s response?

But UNC’s Kenan-Flager MBA students really did it up:

Columbia Business School is accepting the nomination from The Wharton School with up to 500 new, first-year students set to participate in the ice dump scheduled for Aug. 21. Columbia students will be nominating Harvard Business School, Stanford Business School, and Kellogg School of Management. These business schools will have one week to join the wave and help raise awareness for ALS! In addition to participating in the challenge, Columbia will also be making a donation to help fight ALS.

And several well-known professors also are taking the challenge, including Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business Paul Argenti, who challenged Poets&Quants Editor John A. Byrne to dump a bucket on himself (see below).

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