The convictions and gifts of these thoughtful leaders and philanthropists provide the underpinnings for the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Their dedication of funding, time, and expertise has helped the Business School to become an important contributor to the type of entrepreneurial talent and education, necessary to sustain a competitive advantage in today's global economy shaped largely by innovation.
Samuel Zell and Robert H. Lurie
The Institute's namesakes, whose entrepreneurial ascent began as University of Michigan students in the early 1960's, are icons of American business success. While studying at Michigan, Sam Zell and Robert Lurie established a realty management service and began buying apartment buildings in Southeastern Michigan. Their entrepreneurial endeavors over the years grew into a successful business empire in oil, gas, insurance, and the nation's largest apartment and office property real estate investment trusts - Equity Residential Properties Trust and Equity Office Properties Trust. Today, Sam Zell serves as chairman of the board of both companies, which are headquartered in Chicago. Robert Lurie died in 1990 at the age of 48. His wife, Ann, is an active investor and philanthropist who together with Sam Zell, jointly committed a $10 million gift to establish the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Business School in 1999.
Michigan counts Ann Lurie as one of its most generous benefactors. In 1993, a $12 million commitment led to the construction of the Robert H. Lurie Engineering Center and the landmark Ann and Robert H. Lurie Tower, a carillon located on North Campus. Additionally, Ann has recently pledged $25 million to support focused efforts in biomedical engineering and integrated microsystems, bolstering interdisciplinary programs that offer tremendous opportunities to improve the quality of everyday life. Her gifts to the School of Social Work grew out of Ann's sensitivity to the needs of children and families. The Marion Elizabeth Blue Professorship, dedicated to the memory of her mother, gave Social Work its first endowed chair.
Ann Lurie's philanthropic reach extends well beyond the University of Michigan. She has devoted considerable resources to cancer prevention and treatment research at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University, endowed by endowed by Mrs. Lurie in 1990. In 2001, she committed the lead funding for the 12-story Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center on the Northwestern University Medical School Campus, completed in 2004. Numerous Chicago-based entities have also benefited from Ann's generosity. Internationally active as well, Ann has personally founded and funded a preschool for Maasai children in a remote area of southeastern Kenya, along with a fully staffed mobile clinic that provides medical care for approximately 12,000 Maasai who reside in the area. She has constructed 20 schools in Ethiopia in cooperation with Save the Children and supports both an archaeological excavation on the Giza plateau and the Trust for Africa Rock Art.