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$15 Million Gift from Patty and Jay H. Baker to Establish the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School

November 2, 2010, Volume 57, No. 10
Patty and Jay H. Baker

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce a $15 million gift from Patty and Jay H. Baker to permanently endow the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center. Jay Baker, W’56, is a member of the Wharton Board of Overseers and retired president and director of Kohl’s Corporation, the Milwaukee-based department store chain.

Building on the successful foundation of the School’s Baker Retailing Initiative, the expanded Center will offer innovative programs for graduate and undergraduate students; support and disseminate cutting-edge research with both academic and industry applications; enhance student activity support and curriculum development; and offer a broad array of outreach initiatives to focus attention on the retail sector.

“Jay and Patty Baker are treasured members of the Penn community,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Their generous commitment allows the Baker Center to continue to draw on expertise from across the University to generate leading-edge knowledge with important practical applications for retail, which is a dynamic and incredibly important sector of the economy, both in the United States and across the world.”

Wharton Dean Thomas S. Robertson said, “We are honored by Jay and Patty Baker’s gift. The Baker Center offers an increasingly important and popular career choice for both our MBAs and undergraduates. With this gift, the Center will continue to be the premier source of knowledge within the retailing industry. Our goal is to have an impact on the welfare of retail nationally and globally.”

Longtime supporters of Wharton and Penn, the Bakers have previously endowed the Patty and Jay H. Baker Professorship, the Patty and Jay H. Baker PhD Fellowship, the Jay H. Baker 50th Reunion Scholarship, and the Baker Leadership Endowed Scholarship, as well as the Patty and Jay H. Baker Forum in Jon M. Huntsman Hall.

Mr. Baker said, “Patty and I are happy and grateful to be able to fund in perpetuity the Baker Retailing Center at Wharton. The Center will continue work that began with the Baker Retailing Initiative and work closely with the industry, students, and faculty to help develop the leaders of retailing. A global Center that will create cutting-edge research, discovery and innovation, it will become the premier Retailing Center.” He continued, “It is wonderful to give while we’re living and actually see the benefits derived from our gift, and feel the immense joy from that.”

The Jay H. Baker Retailing Center, an interdisciplinary industry research center, was established in 2002 and expanded in 2010 through generous gifts by Mr. and Mrs. Baker.

Since retail is the largest industry in the US, it was fitting that the nation’s first business school would join with industry leaders to establish an unparalleled partnership for retail research, education, and practice. Working with faculty, students, alumni, and industry partners, the Baker Center is building the premier retailing center in the world, and has become the epicenter of retailing at the Wharton School and Penn.

Almanac - November 2, 2010, Volume 57, No. 10