Russell and Nancy McDonough
Georgia Tech College of Management will be able to establish a chair in finance for a distinguished new faculty member, thanks to a generous commitment from Tech alumnus Russell B. McDonough Jr. (bachelor’s in industrial engineering, 1956) and his wife, Nancy, of Little Rock, Arkansas.
The creation of the Russell and Nancy McDonough Chair in Finance honors George Griffin, who served as Georgia Institute of Technology’s dean of students from 1946 to 1964 and as a valued mentor to Mr. McDonough.
The McDonoughs say they were inspired to give to the College because of the business school's remarkable progress in recent years and new Dean Steve Salbu’s vision for the future. When Salbu suggested they could establish a chair in finance, the couple decided it was a good fit, given that Mr. McDonough's MBA education and business experience have been in general management with an emphasis on finance and control.
Explaining the importance of the new chair, Dean Salbu says: "The globalization of financial markets is influencing the financial services industry as well as corporate finance functions in a fundamental way, posing challenges for both academics and practitioners. A fundamental understanding of these developments is necessary for our students to succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy. The McDonough Chair in Finance will help us attract a highly visible leader in the area of finance who can provide students with the thorough training they will need to advance in this highly competitive field."
For the past 37 years, Russell and Nancy McDonough have lived in Little Rock, where his company, Winrock Enterprises, is located. He has held numerous leadership positions in the Little Rock business community. Mrs. McDonough attended Agnes Scott College, and the couple married upon his graduation from Georgia Tech.
After rearing their two children, she entered the University of Arkansas and earned a law degree. She then taught at its law school for a number of years after clerking for a state Supreme Court justice. She has been a member of the executive committee of Winrock's board since 1979. After graduating from Georgia Tech, Russell McDonough served for three years as an officer in the U.S. Navy before earning an MBA from Harvard in 1961. He joined Winrock as CEO in 1969 and gained majority ownership in 1979. (A large English company bought and sold back a minority interest in the 1980s.)
Over the years, the company has had interests in homebuilding, real estate, plastic pipe manufacturing, and oil and gas. In 2000, the plastic pipe company was sold to an Austrian company, the third-largest plastic pipe company in Europe. Winrock's present operations are in land development only.
Russell McDonough decided he wanted the College’s new chair to honor George Griffin, former dean of students, because of the impact Griffin made on his career. Often called “Mr. Georgia Tech” because of his dedication to the school and its students, Griffin died in 1990 at age 93. "As editor-in-chief of the Technique, I was afforded the opportunity to work with Dean Griffin, who was highly respected, effective, and beloved," McDonough says. "I feel that my acceptance at Harvard was greatly helped by Dean Griffin's having picked me as one of the top ten seniors at Georgia Tech in 1956 and by the great letter of recommendation he wrote for me. Had I not gotten my MBA at Harvard, the only graduate school to which I applied, it is unlikely that the series of events in my business career that led to our being in a position to fund this chair would have occurred. Thus, in a very real sense, Dean Griffin deserves to be so honored."
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