HANOVER — An alum of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business is behind the largest donation in the graduate program’s history, giving $25 million to support Tuck’s global education program.
“Tuck provided me with tremendous opportunities throughout my life and career,” said Zdenek Bakala, a member of both Tuck’s Board of Advisers and European Council.
The Bakala Foundation, the family foundation operated by Bakala and his wife, Michaela Bakala, is giving the $25 million donation to TuckGO, the school’s global learning program.
The funding will create the Bakala Global Suite, the future home to the TuckGO offices and a hub for student, faculty and staff collaboration, according to an announcement made this week.
“As future classes of Tuck students pursue global careers of their own, this program will be essential to their preparation, giving them tangible skills and a better understanding of the world and of themselves,” Bakala said. “We are thrilled to support such meaningful experiences at a school that has meant so much to me.”
TuckGO was established in 2015. To satisfy the global learning requirement, students must take one of three immersive experiential courses in a country that is new to them.
“This is an incredible moment for Tuck and for the generations of students who will benefit from the Bakalas’ extraordinary generosity,” said Matthew Slaughter, Tuck’s dean. “Their gift ensures that TuckGO, already a vibrant and innovative part of learning at Tuck, will connect students even more to the world’s diversity, dynamism and innovation.”
The gift is coming in as part of The Tuck Difference campaign, which is targeting a $250 million investment in support of Tuck’s people, programs and places, and is part of Dartmouth College’s $3 billion comprehensive campaign, The Call to Lead.
The Bakala generosity is not new for the college. In 2009, the couple endowed the Bakala Professor of Strategy; the incumbent is Richard D’Aveni. The Bakalas have contributed to Tuck’s global offerings in the past, and have also provided support for the Tuck Executive Education programs and the campus master plan guiding the transformation of Dartmouth’s West End.
According to the college, Bakala graduated from Tuck in 1989 and began his career in investment banking in New York at Drexel Burnham Lambert and Bank of America, later joining Credit Suisse First Boston in London. In 1994 he founded Patria Finance, a private investment banking group in the Czech Republic. In 2004 Bakala was one of several founders of BXR Group, an international private investment group with a global portfolio of assets.
As a philanthropist, he and Michaela Bakala founded in 2007 the Bakala Foundation, which awards scholarships for talented Czech Republic students to study abroad at leading institutions. Along with many other organizations and causes, Bakala is a benefactor of the Vaclav Havel Library, which serves as a center for the documentation and research of modern Czech history; Aspen Institute Central Europe; and the Design Museum in London.