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Business Observer Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 2 years ago

Longtime area CEO’s foundation donates $16 million

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Brian Jellison was CEO of Sarasota-based Roper Technologies for 17 years.

SARASOTA — The Brian and Sheila Jellison Family Foundation is giving $16 million to the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, with a goal of supporting free enterprise, financial literacy and lifelong learning.

Brian Jellison was CEO of Lakewood Ranch-based Roper Technologies for 17 years. In 2001, Jellison became CEO at Roper and was promoted to chairman in 2003. During his tenure there, the 15,000-employee company transformed its business model and grew its market capitalization from $1.5 billion to more than $30 billion, according to a press release. Roper had $5.1 billion in revenue in 2018. 

Jellison had a 50-year career in business that also included time at General Electric and Ingersoll-Rand, where he held senior leadership roles, including executive vice president, the release adds. 

Jellison, a 1968 IU graduate, created the foundation with his wife, Sheila, and their three daughters before he died in November 2018.

"We felt very strongly that the first major distribution out of the foundation should go to Indiana University, because without the education that Brian received there, who knows what he could have done," says Sheila Jellison, his wife of 52 years, in a statement. "Education was first and foremost to Brian. Given an education in the field you want to pursue opens all kinds of doors. You give back when you can, and IU was our first choice."

Proceeds from the gift will go toward two major initiatives and two other priorities:

  • $10 million will go toward creating state-of-the-art studios and "virtual classrooms." The Brian D. Jellison Studio Classroom will offer online students in the Kelley Direct MBA and MS degree programs and the school's Executive Degree Programs the experience of being in a live classroom with their peers, according to a press release.  
  • $5.8 million will support the Brian D. Jellison Living Learning Center. This residential program currently helps 550 freshman business students each year identify their strengths, interests and talents through special programs, study groups and travel opportunities. Funding for the Living Learning Center will provide increased support for staff as well as additional event opportunities and on-site programming for students on the Bloomington campus.
  • The gift also provides $100,000 for the creation of the Brian D. Jellison Financial Literacy course series. Intended for a broad audience, the courses will be offered at no cost through edX, a nonprofit online learning destination. 
  • The Jellison Family Foundation is also donating $100,000 toward scholarships for study abroad.

"This is a truly transformational gift in that it touches so many aspects of the Kelley School," says IU President Michael McRobbie in a statement. "Naming the Kelley Living Learning Center in honor of Brian Jellison is particularly noteworthy, given that Mr. Jellison was widely recognized as an innovative and revered leader of the highest integrity. He brought great pride to IU, and his life story lives on and will serve as a reminder to all who enter the Brian D. Jellison Living Learning Center to strive to lead lives that make a meaningful difference in their organizations, communities and society."

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