SU'S FIRST MCGOWAN SCHOLARS FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPSOF A GIANT
When a savvy but relatively obscure entrepreneur named William McGowan challenged AT&T’s telephone monopoly in the 1960s, few observers gave him a ghost of a chance. Yet, by 1972, when the dust had cleared from the legal and regulatory battles he waged and won, McGowan and his company, MCI, emerged to spearhead a revolution in telecommunications.
McGowan’s legacy resonates to this day in telecommunications, the global economy, and the lives of the individuals and institutions that benefit from his philanthropy. This year, for the first time, the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund awarded Syracuse University a grant to establish two M.B.A. scholarships. Two second-year students—Oliver Jones and Philip Wilson—won the competition to become SU’s first McGowan Scholars. “McGowan’s great contribution to society is immeasurable and will continue to have an infinite effect,” Jones says.
In announcing the award, Professor Peter Koveos, associate dean for master’s programs in the School of Management, remarked: “William McGowan was able to complete Harvard’s M.B.A. Program thanks to a scholarship created to support outstanding students inĽtheir final year of studies. It was his hope that the McGowan Scholarships would serve a similar function for students in other business schools, rewarding both promise and achievement.”
Born in Jamaica, West Indies, Jones received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Prairie View A&M University (Texas A&M University System) in 1998. Wilson, an Indiana native, received a B.S. degree from Indiana University in 1994, with a dual major in business and international studies. As a first-year M.B.A. student, he was a member of the team that placed second in the SU Entrepreneurial Competition, winning $40,000 for a business plan for a venture to be called Gadget.com.
Jones and Wilson meet the high academic requirements of the McGowan Fund and its rigorous standards of community service. Jones has held leadership positions in major academic honor societies and professional organizations, including the presidency of the National Association of Black Accountants. He is committed to nurturing inner-city youth, developing their skills in math and science, and encouraging their interest in business careers. As a grass-roots activist, he has energized civic and church-sponsored outreach programs in Ithaca and Syracuse.
Wilson also has been committed to community causes since his undergraduate days. Through SU’s Hendricks Chapel, he has played a role in projects ranging from cleaning up city parks to participating in a blanket drive. He serves as head resident advisor for Booth Hall, and is a volunteer mediator for campus and community conflicts.
Wilson and Jones both see parallels between McGowan’s career and their own. “I am inspired by the story of the scholarship that enabled McGowan to complete his second year at Harvard,” Jones says. “I see myself in a similar role and vow to continue this great tradition.” Says Wilson: “William McGowan’s example and success provide an ideal role model and an inspiration for future business leaders.”
CONFERENCE PAVES WAY FOR STRONG RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MAXWELL AND PERU
The Maxwell School hosted an international conference last spring that focused on what might seem to be an obscure issue: how autonomous agencies might aid countries striving to become more democratic, as seen in Peru’s experiences using such agencies. But by the time the conference ended, it had cemented Maxwell’s relations with Peruvian and World Bank officials, demonstrated the capabilities of the high-tech Global Collaboratory in Eggers Hall for a worldwide audience, and paved the way for the school to become North America’s hub for Peruvian studies.
“The issue is important, and it was exciting to hear people from the World Bank and Peru, as well as academics from as far away as the London School of Economics, giving their best thoughts about how these agencies might work,” says conference organizer Stuart Thorson, former director of the Global Affairs Institute and now director of information technology at Maxwell. “It was interesting to listen to the Peruvians who are really working with these agencies.”
In its struggle to reach its full potential as a democracy, Peru has created autonomous agencies—owned by neither the state nor the private sector—charged with performing functions traditionally carried out by the government. Thorson, who believes developing public trust is key to achieving a democracy, notes two such agencies have been particularly successful: PromPeru, which promotes the country to a global audience and was one of the conference’s co-sponsors; and INDECOPI, which deals with such issues as consumer protection, patent and trademark registration, and regulation and enforcement of intellectual property.
Maxwell’s relationship with Peruvian officials grew from an endowment by the late Joan de Sardon-Glass ’46 that each year brings approximately eight graduate students from Peru to study at Maxwell. The conference demonstrated how deeply personal the connections had become, Thorson says. “There were almost tears in people’s eyes at the end, because this South American country and this city in the northern United States had developed the kind of relationship where the country’s future leaders work in the Maxwell School, and these high-level government officials walk through the school as friends. It’s a donor’s wish come true.”
The conference also showcased Maxwell’s technological leadership. Maxwell Dean John Palmer signed an agreement with the Peruvian government that makes the school a virtual hub for Peruvian studies, using SU’s Internet connections to make information about the country more easily available. Maxwell and PromPeru will jointly develop a web site to be maintained by Peruvian students at Maxwell.
Using the Global Collaboratory, organizers maintained a full-time simultaneous video link to Lima, Peru’s capital. “This conference took place primarily in Syracuse, but there were participants from Lima,” Thorson says. “We also had the conference live on the Internet, so we had colleagues around the world watching while it was happening. The conference was the realization of a dream of using the technology to bring the world into Maxwell while pushing Maxwell out into the world.”