UMass’ Isenberg school nets $20M gift, largest in business school’s history

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 03-16-2023 3:11 PM

AMHERST — A $20 million donation that is the largest cash gift in the history of the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts will go toward attracting and retaining top-tier faculty, supporting research and enhancing entrepreneurship at the business school undergraduate program.

The university announced Thursday receiving the gift from Douglas and Diana Berthiaume of Andover, the most generous cash donors in the history of the flagship campus. The Berthiaumes have already given more than $16 million to the university, including a $10 million gift in 2014 that established the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, and eight years earlier made a $5 million donation to management programs.

Douglas Berthiaume, a 1971 graduate, said in a statement that the university provided him a remarkable education that led to a successful professional life, serving as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Waters Corporation in Milford, a pharmaceutical and biotechnology company.

“It’s my hope that my family’s donation will accelerate faculty excellence and help Isenberg achieve recognition as a world-class business school,” Berthiaume said.

UMass announced that the latest donation will go toward three primary areas to support faculty, groundbreaking research and innovative spaces, with $7 million for creation of endowed faculty positions and chancellor professorships to attract and retain top talent, $11.5 million for endowed support for doctoral fellowships and a new behavioral research lab, and $1.5 million for expanded faculty research at the Berthiaume Center.

UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said the Berthiaumes have been instrumental in establishing UMass as a hub for entrepreneurial thinking and innovation.

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“Their support has been essential in Isenberg’s success over the past decade and we are deeply grateful for this new support, which will have an extraordinary impact on our students’ success,” Subbaswamy said.

The Business Innovation Hub at the Isenberg School will be named in honor of the Berthiaumes, pending approval that is expected by the UMass board of trustees. Isenberg, founded in 1947, currently has more than 4,000 undergraduates majoring in seven business disciplines, including accounting and marketing, and sport and hospitality and tourism management.

University officials said the gift will also increase Isenberg’s impact on business theory and practice by supporting creation and dissemination of faculty scholarship and research, and establish Isenberg as a leader in offering transformative programs, supported by high-quality teaching, instructional innovations and state-of-the-art technologies.

Anne P. Massey, dean of the Isenberg School, expressed gratitude to the Berthiaumes.

“Their decision to support our efforts to attract and retain top faculty through endowed positions and the creation of a behavioral research lab will help us advance Isenberg’s research reputation among the best business schools,” Massey said in a statement. “Moreover, their gift of $7.5 million in support of our doctoral program is not only crucial to faculty research, but also our efforts to develop the next generation of scholars and educators.”

Douglas Berthiaume’s dedication to UMass, where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2005, has also included being founding director of the UMass Amherst Foundation and serving as co-chairman of UMass Rising, the university’s $300 million philanthropic campaign. He is chairman of the trustees for the Boston Children’s Hospital.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.]]>