Bauers of Wilton give $5 million to alma mater

With a $5-million commitment from George and Carol Bauer of Wilton, Washington University in St. Louis announced it will establish the George and Carol Bauer Leadership Center at the Olin Business School.
The announcement came May 10, as George Bauer, an emeritus trustee and alumnus of the university, and his wife, Carol, delivered a keynote address about values-based leadership. In their remarks, the couple shared their thoughts about leadership and their vision for the center.

“We’ve both been fortunate over the years to be in leadership positions,” Carol Bauer said, “and we have spent some time reflecting on our hopes for this values-based leadership center.”

George added, “With this new center, we would like to find ways for young potential leaders to cultivate their own value systems and hopefully embrace them as they make decisions for their institutions as well as in their personal lives.”

A defining characteristic of the new center will be its emphasis on cultivating leaders who measure success both in what they achieve for their organizations and how they impact their communities and society through the values that they demonstrate, a press release from the university said.

“Throughout their lives, the Bauers have exemplified what it means to lead with character and conviction,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said in thanking the couple for their gift. “Their commitment to education, ethical business and community leadership is inspirational, and I am honored that the leadership center will bear their names.”

In addition to activities and courses, the center will host leadership best practices forums for academics, executives and students, plus provide seed funding for research and case work related to business leadership. Activities at the center will begin this fall.

Also included in the gift is the establishment of the George and Carol Bauer Leadership Fellows Program where students will complete leadership coursework, take part in leadership activities and community impact projects.

The Bauers’ longstanding relationship with Washington University began when George, originally from DeSoto, Mo., enrolled in the School of Engineering & Applied Science. After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1953 and 1959, respectively, he embarked on a 31-year career with IBM where he served in a variety of executive positions in marketing, finance and business systems. Upon retiring in 1987, he founded an investment banking firm, the GPB Group Ltd.

The Bauers are dedicated benefactors of Washington University, having provided substantial scholarships. In 2011, the Bauer Foundation gave $10 million in capital support for a $90-million building project.

Closer to home, the Bauers have generously supported many local organizations and institutions including Norwalk Hospital where the Bauer Emergency Care Center is named for them.