People often talk about the close bonds that define the School’s community, but the Guenthers take the idea of a “Columbia Business School family” to a new level: four out of five immediate family members are alumni.
“I started it!” says Paul Guenther ’64, retired president of PaineWebber Group and now a member of the School’s Board of Overseers. Paul’s three children—Matthew Guenther ’94, Elizabeth (Guenther) Whittaker ’98, and Christopher Guenther ’02—all subsequently attended, each with a different objective. Matt, now a partner at private equity firm GenNx360 Capital Partners, was interested in finance; Elizabeth, who now runs her own boutique PR firm, Crush Communications, wanted to propel her work in the wine business; and Chris, today the vice president of business operations at Hearst Magazines, was focused on a career in media. “We each chose our own paths,” Chris explains, “but we all came to Columbia for location and quality.”
All four Guenthers remain closely connected to the Columbia Business School network. In addition to his board service, Paul serves as co-chair on the advisory board for the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, while Matt and Chris regularly join mini cluster reunions and the entire family attends the Annual Dinner together most years. “I still have amazingly close friends and business colleagues from Columbia,” Elizabeth says. “There are so many great memories.”
With each sibling now raising children of their own, will the Guenthers carry their Columbia Business School tradition into the next 100 years? Matt chuckles, “You never know.”
Left to right: Paul Guenther, Diane Guenther, Lora Martinez, Chris Guenther, Paul Hunter Guenther (grandson), Andrew Whittaker, Elizabeth Guenther Whittaker, Ellen Guenther, Matt Guenther.