Donor Archive

Our past is rooted in collaboration. Now, our future depends on it.

Each member of our community plays a critical role in transforming Kellogg. These alumni and friends, who have generously given $1 million and more to Kellogg, are leading the way.

To these donors, we extend our deepest thanks. You make us proud. You make us Kellogg.



The courage to change
Doug Conant ’76

It sounds almost too simple.

But Doug Conant, the former CEO and president of Campbell Soup Company, insists that “helping people” is behind his success as a corporate leader and turnaround expert.

When Conant took the helm at Campbell, he inherited a whole host of problems — low sales, dwindling share prices, unmotivated employees and a toxic company culture. The Nabisco and General Mills veteran developed initiatives to improve morale, creating a place where people wanted to work. As part of the same turnaround strategy, he implemented social responsibility programs.

“The more we helped, the better we did,” says Conant, whose efforts led to sales growth for Campbell for eight consecutive years. The company also earned national recognition for its sustainability efforts and accolades for its workplace culture.

Today, as founder and CEO of ConantLeadership, chairman of Avon Products and newly minted chairman of the Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute, Conant is focused on training the leaders of tomorrow. Insisting that “leaders aren’t born; they’re made,” Conant encourages executives to continually work on their leadership development, engage in self-reflection and determine a mission for their life’s work.

For Conant, that mission is clear: “I delight in building high-performance teams that rise to challenges, thrive in the face of adversity and defy the critics,” he says. “It’s about having the courage of one’s convictions.”

Find additional information about Doug Conant at or follow him on Twitter @DougConant.

Course Correction
Jeff Ubben '87

For many, change means buying a new tie or eating more greens. For Jeff Ubben '87, change usually starts with a seat at the table.

As CEO and founder of ValueAct, a San Francisco-based activist hedge fund, Ubben invests heavily in public companies to gain seats on their board. From there, he and his partners can affect major changes.

Sure, this kind of work can be risky. Case in point: ValueAct recently announced it had invested $1.6 billion in Microsoft, a company still reeling from a decade of disappointing sales. But Ubben says ValueAct's style of investing, which favors longer-term engagement, gives him more time to help the company get back on its feet. "We try to make good companies better," Ubben says. "At Microsoft, we think they've been overinvesting in some of these device businesses."

Ubben longed for this kind of board work as a portfolio manager at Fidelity Management. Tired of leaving the decision making to others, Ubben moved out west and worked as a managing partner at Blum Capital Partners, a private equity firm. In 2000, he founded ValueAct.

Now managing more than $12 billion in assets, Ubben has grown the company by making "a few good decision each year." But some of his best work comes from working with charities like the New York-based Posse Foundation, which provides scholarships to gifted high school seniors overlooked by top-ranked colleges. "I feel like they really, truly need me," he says.


"“Kellogg fosters a strong sense of community and responsibility. It deserves to and needs to remain among the best business schools in the world. A new building on the waterfront is part of keeping the school in its rightful place.” Jeff Ubben '87

Paying It Forward
Jim Russell '35

There were three things you could count on when it came to Jim Russell: He would be in the stands whenever the Wildcats took on the Illini; family vacations meant either the woods of Door County or a beach in Florida; and if you ever needed anything, you could just ask.

“He thought about others,” his daughter, Dr. Jean Russell, said. “You wouldn’t know it unless you knew him because he wasn’t a braggadocious, boastful person.”

Maybe that big heart grew out of a humble childhood spent on a farm near Milan, Ill., or came from the relief of landing a full scholarship to Northwestern’s School of Commerce, Kellogg’s precursor.

Maybe it came from the joy of marrying his college sweetheart, Helen, or raised up like his 40-year career at Illinois Tool Works, where he would retire in 1979 as the firm’s chief financial officer.

Whatever the reason, that spirit never left, not even after he passed away in 2011. Russell bequeathed a gift in both his and his wife’s names, a gift that not only would fund a space inside Kellogg’s new global hub, but also fund a new program at Kellogg, the Master of Science in Managerial Studies.

The students are known as Russell Fellows. Jean Russell thinks her dad would approve.


“He really valued education. Coming out of the Depression, he was very thankful for the education that he got at Northwestern." Dr. Jean E. Russell, daughter of James R. and Helen D. Russell