The Kabiller Science of Empathy Prize

Learn more about the The Kabiller Science of Empathy Prize which is intended to advance the understanding of human empathy.

The Kabiller Science of Empathy Prize celebrates Kellogg’s strength in and rigorous approach to empathy.

Awarded biennially, the prize is intended to advance the understanding of empathy and its consequences. The prize will be awarded to a Kellogg faculty member who has conducted novel research that advances analytical and rigorous critical thinking about human empathy, understanding and trust. In addition, the prize will also recognize a Kellogg alumnus/a who leads with exceptional empathy or is a thought leader in the broader field of empathy.

We would like to congratulate the inaugural prize recipients:

Faculty Recipient

Nicole Stephens

Nicole Stephens, Jeanne Brett Chair, Professor of Management & Organizations, Kellogg; Professor of Psychology, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences (Courtesy). Nicole was selected for her research on how observed differences in educational achievement and work opportunities across various social groups arise and persist, leading to systematic inequalities across those groups. Her overarching hypothesis is that a first-order reason for such persistent differences is the lack of understanding of the respective “cultural divides” characteristic of the salient social groups.

About the donor

David G. Kabiller ’85, ’87 MBA is the co-founder and the head of business development at AQR Capital Management and a member of Northwestern University’s Board of Trustees. His previous philanthropic support of Northwestern has included the Kabiller Prize in Nanoscience and Nanomedicine and the Kabiller Young Investigator Award in Nanoscience and Nanomedicine, among other investments.

Of his gift, David Kabiller said, “Empathy is critical in the business world today, from client relationships to nurturing talent at every level of your organization. Kellogg has always been the leading school that has embraced empathy as core to its culture and curriculum. I hope this award, the research and the conference, will further our collective understanding of the role empathy has in sustaining an innovative capitalistic society with a heart.”

Alumni Recipient

Michael George

Michael George ’83, ’85 MBA, President & CEO, Qurate Retail, Inc. Mike embodies our Kellogg culture of empathic, values-based leadership. Over the past 16 years, Mike has used a low-ego, high-impact leadership style to transform QVC into Qurate Retail, a Fortune 500 video commerce leader with seven brands. Along the way, Mike guided the company through a rigorous reflection on its shared mission and values, creating Qurate Retail’s Purpose and Principles (which include “Act With Empathy”). He also championed the expansion of Qurate Retail’s corporate responsibility program, with specific goals for protecting the environment, championing empowerment and belonging, and curating products responsibly. Mike’s career reflects his deep commitment to acting with integrity, inspiring his team, and striving to create positive change for the communities his business touches. To learn more about Mike, watch Kellogg’s interview with him about these values and how Qurate Retail navigated the pandemic.

How were the winners selected?

For the alumni winner, Kellogg collected nominations from the alumni community. A small committee from the school then selected a recipient.

The faculty winner was selected by a committee of faculty members.

How will the prize winners be recognized?

The alumni and faculty prize winners will be honored at a dinner with the dean and donor of the prize. Additionally, prize winners will be recognized in a range of Kellogg communications.

The faculty recipient will also receive a grant to support research on empathy and have the opportunity to help shape a biennial conference in the science of empathy, attracting world-class academics from other top universities.

The alumni prize is non-monetary.

Why was this prize created?

Empathy is an emerging buzzword in business and academia, but Kellogg has practiced it for decades. We develop leaders with empathy, and we produce a significant amount of related social science research, not only in more natural areas like management, organizational behavior and marketing, but also in less obvious areas like accounting, game theory, economics and finance. This pervasiveness of researchers focused on topics directly or indirectly related to empathy shows how much this is part of Kellogg culture.

Kellogg’s focus on empathy is based on science and rigorous and critical thinking. We focus on empathy as a way to understand the intangible elements that make a process, an institution or an equilibrium more effective.

The goal of the Kabiller Science of Empathy Prize is to celebrate Kellogg’s strengths in and rigorous approach to empathy, while stimulating new research. The prize has been made possible by the generosity of David G. Kabiller ’85, ’87 MBA.

What research on empathy has been produced by the Kellogg faculty to date?

In recent years, Kellogg faculty members have conducted extensive research on empathy. Just a few examples of related Kellogg Insight articles include:



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