Held the evening of May 5 at the Waldorf-Astoria, Columbia Business School’s 32nd Annual Dinner honored Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke with the award for Distinguished Leadership in Government and Russell Carson ’67, general partner and cofounder of the private investment firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, with the award for Distinguished Leadership in Business.
“This year’s honorees understand a basic principle of enterprise, which is that business has its roots in society,” Dean Glenn Hubbard said in his introductory remarks. “Business is a force for good in transforming societies, as well as economies. Innovation and entrepreneurship, organization and management, drive economic growth and improvements in living standards, which create the conditions for positive social change.”
After receiving the award for government leadership, Bernanke delivered substantive remarks addressing geographic variation in mortgage performance, ways to avoid preventable foreclosures and the steps that the Federal Reserve Board is taking to stabilize the housing market. “We are collaborating with other regulators, community groups, policy organizations, lenders and public officials to identify ways to prevent unnecessary foreclosures and their negative effects on local economies,” Bernanke said.
Central to his remarks was a series of color-coded “heat maps” of the United States. The product of county-by-county analyses by the Federal Reserve, these maps define regional patterns of mortgage delinquency levels and change in delinquency rates; change in house price index; non-owner-occupied home purchases; and other related factors such as change in average annual unemployment rates.
Carson, cochairman of Columbia Business School’s Board of Overseers since 1999, then delivered remarks emphasizing the power of and his passion for entrepreneurship and social enterprise, and the development of these areas at CBS. He praised the work of the Entrepreneurship Program, Social Enterprise Program and Nonprofit Board Leadership program, and discussed a course he has taught at the School on philanthropy.
In addition to growing Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe into one of the largest private investment firms in the world, Carson has cultivated a philanthropic career that includes positions as trustee of Dartmouth College; chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation; trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; director of the Partnership for New York City; cochairman of the New York City Investment Fund; director of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and chairman of the Endowment for Inner-City Education.
“Russ Carson exemplifies the talent of Columbia Business School graduates to change the practice of business, create wealth and opportunity and apply business principles to affect social change,” Hubbard said in his introduction.
This year’s Annual Dinner raised more than $3 million for institutional programs and initiatives, and was sponsored by benefactor-level supporters including Carson; Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Advisers, LLC/First Eagle Funds; The Geir Foundation; Marie Josée and Henry R. ’69 Kravis; Lionel I. Pincus ’56; Jerry I. Speyer ’64; Lulu C. Wang ’83; and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.