Paul Raether’s father, Arnold Raether, was a big booster of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. In particular, he was a great friend to its students, often paying their tuition on an informal basis. As Paul later said, “He was old-school. He just had Tuck send him the tuition bill and he paid it.”
Arnold Raether died in 1987, but his legacy of giving to Tuck students lives on. On Thursday (February 1) that legacy was emblazoned permanently on the school when Dartmouth announced that Paul Raether and his family had donated $15 million in support of scholarship funding — matching the record for the largest gift ever given to Dartmouth Tuck. The Raethers officially made the gift in December, the biggest chunk of what Tuck officials now call “a banner year” for fundraising.
“We have been explicitly socializing the idea of fundraising and donations directly for scholarships,” says Luke Anthony Peña, Dartmouth Tuck executive director of admissions and financial aid. “We recognize that the competition for students is increasingly fierce among the great business schools, and we also acknowledge that unfortunately many of our strongest applicants are encountering financial barriers to enrolling. And we don’t want anybody to face a barrier to having a great education at the Tuck School. So we are striving to grow our pool of resources to eliminate those barriers.”
PROMOTING A MISSION OF ‘WISE LEADERSHIP’
The Raethers’ gift may be Dartmouth Tuck’s biggest but it is not the only contribution Paul, his wife Wendy, and other members of the family have given. Paul and his mother endowed a scholarship in Arnold’s name after his death; since then, Paul and Wendy Raether have funded other scholarships, faculty endowments, facilities, and the Next Step: Transition to Business program, among other initiatives. Paul Raether also serves on Tuck’s Board of Overseers, which gives Dean Matthew Slaughter and other school officials advice on the strategy and operations of the school.
In giving money to Tuck, the Raethers are not alone, a fact proven repeatedly in 2017. At the end of the fiscal year last June, the market value of Tuck’s scholarship endowment was $87.6 million; by the close of December, thanks mostly to the $15 million from the Raethers, an additional $20 million had been raised for scholarships. Among the other big gifts: In April, Overseers chair Christopher Williams (Class of ’84) pledged $500,000 for the Janice S. and Christopher J. Williams Scholarship, and in May, David Grain ’89), announced at the Overseers meeting that he was giving $500,000 to endow the David J. Grain T’89 Family Scholarship.
The Raethers decided to focus on scholarship funding because of its importance to Tuck’s strategic priorities, Peña tells Poets&Quants — and because they feel increased scholarships will give Tuck the edge among talented students who have options to go elsewhere. The $15 million gift, he adds, will go toward “enrolling incoming students who aspire to wise leadership, and who will contribute to and thrive in Tuck’s distinctly immersive learning community.”
‘IF YOU WANT THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST …’
The strong fundraising year Dartmouth Tuck had in 2017 didn’t co out of the blue. “We at Tuck have been talking with our senior alumni a lot about how we can promote our mission of wise leadership,” Peña says. “And as we have been engaging our senior alumni, there has been great enthusiasm for thinking about how we can attract more great students who align with this mission. Many of our alumni board members have expressed extreme enthusiasm for helping make sure that we are attracting, recruiting, selecting, and enrolling the candidates who are aligned with this sense of mission. And one of the areas that we saw and the alumni saw as a great opportunity is to supplement the awards that we get for scholarships.
“As we were making the case to our alumni for helping augment and supplement the scholarships, Paul stepped forward as one of the most enthusiastic. It’s been a multi-year conversation about some wonderfully generous gifts and Paul has been at the forefront of that.”
Added Raether, in a news release from the school: “If you want the best and the brightest, and we certainly do, you’ve got to be competitive. Over the last 30 years, education has been the biggest emphasis of charitable giving by my wife and me, and that really came from both of our parents. Tuck has been a wonderful institution for us and for my daughter and son-in-law, so we are motivated to actively support it. We want Tuck to attract the best and the brightest students, and hopefully this gift will help.”