SMG Alumni Donate Gift to School, Endow New Professorship

in Alumni, Faculty, Honors & Awards, News
March 18th, 2014

David Weil named Peter and Deborah Wexler Professor in Management

It’s been 20 years since Peter Wexler (GSM’93) walked the halls of the School of Management as a student in the Professional Evening MBA (PEMBA) program, a step on his journey to launching SpiderCloud Wireless—named one of the Wall Street Journal’s top startups to watch—and meeting his wife, Deborah, who, he jokes, is “the gift that keeps on giving.”

Peter and Deborah Wexler (GSM’93) crossed paths while pursuing their master’s degrees in the PEMBA program and now, together, have presented a gift to the School that truly does “keep on giving.” A generous donation from the Wexlers has created a new professorship in management, stemming from the couple’s confidence that Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Kenneth W. Freeman and President Robert A. Brown will continue to mold SMG into one of the world’s elite business schools.

Peter and Deborah Wexler met at SMG and continue their legacy with an endowed professorship.

Peter and Deborah Wexler met at SMG and continue their legacy with an endowed professorship.

“What motivated us to make a donation was Ken Freeman and President Brown,” says Peter Wexler, who is an active member on the Dean’s Advisory Board. “We saw in Ken Freeman somebody who is really able to bring the business school forward, somebody who has experience in industry, not solely in academia. Bob Brown stands out as an individual who has a vision and has demonstrated an ability to move things forward and motivate people.”

Knowing that the School’s leadership was solid, Wexler and his wife felt that funding a chair would send a message to Freeman that they were “energized by his vision,” as well as advance the School’s profile.

“When we invest—because that’s what the gift is, an investment—you want to raise the level of the institution,” Wexler notes. “You have to attract outstanding faculty. When you attract outstanding faculty, you attract outstanding students, and there’s this virtuous cycle that happens.”

One of those outstanding faculty members is Professor and Everett W. Lord Distinguished Faculty Scholar David Weil, who, through the Wexlers’ gift, now adds “Peter and Deborah Wexler Professor in Management” to his title.

“I’m very grateful to Peter and Deborah Wexler for endowing a professorship at the School of Management,” Weil says. “Chaired professorships promote and enhance the intellectual and teaching excellence we continue to build at SMG, and I’m deeply honored to have been chosen as the first recipient of the chair.”

On February 10, a celebratory luncheon was held at SMG to honor the generosity of the Wexlers, and to present Weil with his chair. Freeman, Brown, University Provost Jean Morrison, and a number of faculty and staff attended in support. A warm and joyful celebration, the luncheon included remarks from Freeman, Brown, Wexler, and Professor James Rebitzer, as well as plenty of smiles and laughs from Weil, who gave a speech expressing his appreciation.

Weil flashes a smile during a luncheon celebrating his endowed chair.

Weil is all smiles during a luncheon celebrating his new endowed chair.

Weil joined the School in 1991 and has since been a significant contributor to its scholarly, teaching, and programmatic efforts. During his time as a professor of markets, public policy, and law, he received the Broderick Prize for Teaching, the Broderick Prize for Research, and numerous teaching awards for his work in the MBA program, for which he helped design and implement a new curriculum.

The most recent and, perhaps, most memorable achievement of Weil’s was his nomination by President Obama to lead the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division this past September. If confirmed*, the BU expert in labor market policy and industrial and labor relations policy would oversee a division that, among its many functions, ensures American workers receive minimum wage and required overtime for their work, and protects responsible employers from competition with companies that do not comply with federal wage and hour requirements by enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act, which also regulates child labor.

Wexler, who is now co-founder of SpiderCloud Wireless, a company that allows mobile operators to deliver unprecedented cellular and Wi-Fi coverage to enterprise customers and was ranked 5th on the Wall Street Journal’s “Next Big Thing” list in fall 2012, recalls the high caliber of professors and courses during his time in PEMBA, and is thrilled to have honored Weil with an endowed chair.

“You want to be associated with an institution that’s viewed as outstanding in its field and innovative, and we feel that with the leadership that’s in place, that’s what Boston University is heading towards, and it’s great to have your name associated with that,” Wexler says. “But beyond that, it’s great to have your name associated with an outstanding person like David Weil.”

*The Senate confirmed Weil on April 28 to lead the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.