Some heavy hitters from the golf industry will be at St. Bonaventure University later this month to take part in the second annual Kearns Global Business Lecture.
“The PGA TOUR: Driving Charitable Giving, Community Service and Corporate Responsibility” is the theme of this year’s lecture, beginning at 4 p.m. March 20 in the Rigas Family Theater of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.
Established in 2013 thanks to a grant from Dick, class of 1972, and Maureen Kearns, the Global Business Lecture Series brings industry leaders to campus to underscore the need for today’s business students to develop a global mindset as they prepare to enter the work world.
Dick Kearns, now a senior advisor for Zurich Insurance Group, will moderate an expert panel representing a cross-section of stakeholders involved in PGA TOUR tournament activation.
Panel members include Julie Tyson, vice president of business development for the PGA TOUR; Dan Robertson, publisher of Golf Digest Magazine; Ben Gannett, co-head of golf for CAA Sports; Patrice Parente, global head of events for Zurich Insurance; and Zack Rosenburg, co-founder and CEO of the St. Bernard Project, a nationally renowned leader in disaster resilience and recovery.
“In January, the PGA TOUR achieved an incredible milestone, surpassing $2 billion in all-time charitable giving. This a great story that involves the highly successful organizational model of the PGA TOUR, volunteers in communities across the country giving their personal time to support their communities, and corporate sponsors doing the right thing by supporting these causes,” said Dick Kearns, a retired chief administrative officer of Zurich Insurance Group.
“There are lots of lessons to be learned from this success story and I am happy we have a team of experts to tell us how and why it works so well.”
Dr. Pierre Balthazard, dean of the School of Business, said the panel discussion “isn’t about golf, per se, but about the PGA TOUR as a business model and how they’ve built their brand largely through charity in the communities where they play.”
The PGA TOUR and its players have been invested in giving back for decades — even at St. Bonaventure.
Seventy years ago, the legendary Byron Nelson and fellow tour star Harold “Jug” McSpaden visited the college’s nine-hole course and raised more than $100,000 in war bonds. Area fans purchased the bonds for $18.75 each to watch an 18-hole match with a pair of top local amateurs. (McSpaden and his partner shot 64 to beat Nelson’s team by a stroke.)
“Even back in 1944, the PGA TOUR was running a very Franciscan model of business,” Balthazard said. “And with the tour just breaking the $2 billion milestone, this topic seemed like a perfect fit for the lecture series this year.”
The dean said the topic touches many aspects of the School of Business curriculum.
“From an academic perspective, we are preparing for this event by doing research on the marketing and branding aspects of sponsorship, sports management, broadcasting and organizational structures,” Balthazard said. “A key area of interest is how these efforts support effective corporate responsibility. It’s a timely topic.”
The panel discussion and subsequent question-and-answer period will also focus on the global reach of the golf business, Dick Kearns said.
“The golf industry generates annual revenues of more than $300 billion, employs 3.5 million people and is played on more than 32,000 courses in more than 100 countries,” he said. “The game really has spread globally at a remarkable pace.”
The event is closed to the general public, but can be viewed live online at www.sbu.edu/kearns2014.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. We are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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