Ex-CEO Gives $20 Million To Ross School

Scott Derue, director of the Ross Leadership Initiative

Scott DeRue, director of the Ross Leadership Initiative

RLI’s experiential programming is linked to the leadership elements of the Ross curriculum. “It’s this continuous learning-based cycle that’s the core of this action-based learning that we have at Ross,” DeRue says. “We ensure that the nature of those experiences is aligned with what they’re learning in class.”

The RLI has a social-impact bent, with its other flagship offering called the “Impact Challenge,” a year-long project to create a profitable venture with a social mission, in Detroit. The RLI’s “Michigan Model of Leadership” holds as core purposes “making a positive difference in the world” and “leaving people, organizations, and society better off.”


Indeed, an article DeRue and three Michigan colleagues wrote for the European Business Review in 2013 on the Michigan Model of Leadership opens with a call to arms for industry to respond aggressively to the perilously interlinked global economy, overpopulation, pollution, desertification, underemployment, epidemics, and famine.

“Two billion people lack access to clean water, 80% of people live on $10 or less a day, only 53% of students in U.S. cities graduate high school, and climate change threatens to alter our way of life,” DeRue and his colleagues wrote. “These challenges will define the future of business and society, and how business and society respond to these challenges will define our generation’s legacy.”

Ross is not disclosing the schedule of payments from the Sangers’ $20 million gift, but the funding “will be done in a way that enables the growth of the Center in a sustainable way . . . aligned with our growth strategy,” DeRue says.


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