$25 Million Gift from Barbara and Gerson Bakar to Add Five New Faculty Members to Haas School of Business
The Haas School of Business will create at least five new faculty positions thanks to a $25 million gift from alumnus Gerson Bakar, a prominent San Francisco real estate developer, and his wife, Barbara Bass Bakar. The gift is the largest individual donation in the Haas School's history.
The gift will enable the school to increase within a few years its full-time, permanent faculty roster to 86 members – adding five positions to bring those ranks to an all-time high. The search for the new faculty members, who will be drawn from areas such as accounting, public policy, economics, finance, marketing, operations and information technology, organizational behavior, and real estate, will begin this fall.
To honor the Bakars, the Haas School named its faculty wing the Barbara and Gerson Bakar Faculty Building at a dedication ceremony on October 29, at which the new building signage and plaque were revealed.
"The Bakars' extraordinary generosity will permit the school to hire the most talented scholars and teachers in the world," said Tom Campbell, Bank of America Dean of the Haas School. "With these additional faculty members, the school can improve its ratio of faculty to students – a major goal of the school – and offer more and a wider variety of courses to our students."
"This is an extremely powerful boost for the Haas School to remain among the very best business schools in the world," he added.
Campbell also noted that the gift will bring the Haas School closer to its goal of financial self-sufficiency by turning the funds into an endowment that will pay for the new faculty salaries in perpetuity. With state funds supplying less than 25 percent of the school's budget this year, the school must rely on private donations and student fees to pay the salaries of many of its faculty and staff, and to provide essential academic and other student services.
When asked why they made this gift, Gerson Bakar said, "Just as I was helped by past benefactors to the university, I am pleased that Barbara and I are able to help the students who will be the future leaders of our society."
The gift was originally announced as an anonymous gift in August 2005. At the time, it was planned for the construction of a new building. In 2007, school officials, with the Bakars' support, redirected their gift to faculty development.
Gerson Bakar received a Bachelor of Science degree from UC Berkeley's business school in 1948. He began his career in real estate right after graduating. The development that catapulted him into the national spotlight was Woodlake, a 1,000-unit, multi-family housing complex in San Mateo completed in 1965. Since this was the first garden apartment community built with extensive recreational facilities, it was considered a breakthrough in American housing and has been copied many times.
Bakar subsequently developed a new facility for Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco that has been called "a gift to the city." Other landmarks Bakar developed include San Francisco's Northpoint Apartments and Mall, Stanford's Oak Creek Apartments, Carmel Plaza in Carmel, and Park Newport in Newport Beach.
Bakar has been an advisor and consultant to the Haas School for more than 20 years and has served several terms on the Haas School's advisory board. He also was a founding member and continues to serve on the advisory board of the Haas School's Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics. In 2007, friends and colleagues of Bakar established the Gerson Bakar-Fisher Center Policy Advisory Board Real Estate Scholarship in his honor. Each year, the fund provides a $10,000 merit scholarship to a Berkeley MBA student with entrepreneurial drive and a passion for real estate.
In 1978, Bakar was the keynote speaker at the Haas School graduation. He was honored as the Haas School's Alumnus of the Year in 1991.
"Our real estate program would not be the same without Gerson's trusted advice and ongoing support; he has been a true friend," said Kenneth Rosen, who has served as chair of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics since1979. "He continues to help us find the support and backing in the industry -- both for faculty and student activities -- that have turned our center into one of the top real estate programs in the nation."
Gerson and Barbara Bakar were actively involved in UC Berkeley's Keeping the Promise Campaign (1985-1990) and the Campaign for the New Century (1993-2000). Gerson Bakar is a lifetime member of the California Alumni Association and a supporter of UC Berkeley's athletics program and library.
Barbara Bakar is the former president and CEO of Emporium/Weinstock's and the former chair and CEO of I. Magnin. A corporate director of DFS Group Ltd., Starbucks, and bebe stores, she also serves as a member and the former chair of the UCSF Foundation and on the board of the American Conservatory Theater.
She is the chair, president, and CEO of the Gerson Bakar Foundation, which is devoted primarily to giving to the arts, museums, health organizations, federated giving programs such as United Way, and higher education. For the past eleven years she has devoted a substantial amount of her time to the ACHIEVE Program, a high school scholarship and enrichment program that she created and oversees.