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Harry M. Kraemer Jr. '79 (center) was named the 2008 Lavengood Professor of the Year during the annual Faculty TG.

Harry Kraemer named 2008 Lavengood Professor of the Year

Faculty Fair TG also includes Class Gift presentation; student effort results in $1 million total

By Adrienne Murrill

6/9/2008 - On the last day of class for the 2007-2008 academic year, the Carole and Joseph Levy Atrium was filled with excitement.

Students, faculty, staff and their families gathered June 6 for the final TG to celebrate their many accomplishments. Attendees streamed through the halls of the Donald P. Jacobs Center, enjoying food and snacks, and then packed the Atrium for the festivity’s two big announcements: the recipient of the L.G. Lavengood Outstanding Professor of the Year Award and the 2008 Class Gift.

This year, students honored Harry M. Kraemer Jr. ’79, clinical professor of management and strategy and an advocate of team-oriented “servant leadership.” Graduating members of the Full- and Part-Time MBA Programs determined the winner of the award, which has been a Kellogg tradition since 1975. The award was renamed in honor of Professor Lawrence G. Lavengood, a business history and ethics expert and member of the faculty for more than 40 years, upon his retirement in 1994. (Lavengood himself received the award in 1976.) Chris Petersen ’09, vice president of academics for the Kellogg Student Association, presented this year’s contestants via a short video skit before he announced Kraemer was the winner.

More than 61 faculty members were nominated for the award, noted Sunil Chopra, senior associate dean for curriculum and teaching, a fact that indicated the great depth and breadth of teaching excellence at the school, he said. Finalists included Daniel Diermeier, the IBM Professor of Regulation and Competitive Practice; Benjamin Jones, associate professor of management and strategy; Derek Rucker, assistant professor of marketing; and Mohanbir Sawhney, the McCormick Tribune Professor of Technology.

Kraemer, former chairman and CEO of Baxter and now a partner with private equity firm Madison Dearborn, said he was “amazed and humbled” by the announcement, particularly given the caliber of professors at Kellogg.

“When I heard my name called, I was actually stunned,” he admitted. “It was a little surreal.”

A Kellogg graduate who majored in finance and accounting, Kraemer said he always has been grateful to the school for the professional opportunities it afforded him. When about three years ago he had the chance to join the Kellogg faculty, he saw it was a “small way to give back to an institution that is incredibly important to me.”

But he also saw the classroom as a forum to meld his exceptional analytical abilities with other knowledge gleaned from decades of business experience, particularly the leadership insights he used to run a large global corporation in Baxter. While Kraemer recognizes that analytical skills are required to excel in business, over the years he said he has gained a deeper appreciation for the “less quantitative” skills too. “Leading by values and by the example you set is key,” he said. “That’s how you set the direction, motivate others, execute and really make a difference.”

Among the lessons Kraemer said he shares with his students is the importance of self-reflection: “You’ve got to ask your yourself the really tough questions. What are your values and sense of ‘true North’? Are you going to define what success is for you, or will you let others define it? Are you really taking the time to figure out what’s important to you and why? Are your actions consistent with your values?

“If you’re not self-reflective, do you really know yourself?” he added. “If not, then can you lead yourself? And if you can’t lead yourself, then how can you lead other people?”

Kraemer said he tries to get his students thinking about these and related questions as a way of encouraging self-awareness and the humility and perspective that will allow them to play leadership roles among teams of talented people. “As a finance guy, I used to think things were black and white, like the numbers,” Kraemer recalled. “Now I see that there may be three or four sides to an issue.” It’s part of the leader’s job to understand that holistic reality and keep its elements in balance.

Prior to the Professor of the Year announcement, Class Gift co-chairs Craig Koester and Ashish Vora (both ’08) offered Dean Dipak C. Jain and Senior Associate Dean David Besanko ’82 the annual donation from the full-time graduating class. The student body raised $845,755 in pledges, boasting a 95-percent participation rate.

This year’s campaign was “Give a gift, give a legacy,” which Besanko described as inspirational. Kellogg will use the money to build an Instructional Frontiers classroom, one outfitted with the latest in pedagogical technology. The room will comprise about 1,350 square feet and seat 50 students to facilitate enhanced classroom interactions.

More than 60 percent of the class of 2008 chose this option for their donation. The MMM students and Roadrunners (1Y class section) achieved 100 percent participation, and the Bucketheads (Section 65) collected the highest total amount in pledges. During the fair, it was announced that Dean Jain and the Kellogg School supplemented the 2008 Class Gift with nearly $155,000, rounding the total up to $1 million.

Following the announcements, students showcased their musical talents with performances by the Kelloggarhythms, the all-female a cappella group, and rock bands Dean Jain’s Addiction and the Rocket Pockets.

— Additional reporting by Matt Golosinski