BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A former executive from Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) and his wife have given $1 million to the Indiana University Kelley School of Business to support minority students who are earning an MBA through the program in Bloomington.
Derica Rice and Robin Nelson-Rice say they want to give more minority students the same opportunity the couple credits for their successful careers at Fortune 500 companies.
The funding is earmarked for the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, a national program among 20 universities, including IU, which enhances diversity in business education.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Kelley School of Business Dean Idie Kesner said the gift could have an immeasurable impact.
“The significance of this gift cannot be overstated, both because of who it comes from and what it represents,” said Kesner. “This really signals what educational opportunities can do for one’s career. And they really exemplify that.
Kesner says the gift creates the Rice Consortium Fellows program, which will support annual fellowships for two first-year students and two second-year students who are in the program.
The consortium has launched an initiative for each school to attain a minority enrollment of 30% within their full-time MBA programs by the year 2030.
“This generous gift from Derica Rice and Robin Nelson-Rice will assist the Kelley School and The Consortium with fulfilling this objective,” said Consortium Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Peter Aranda.
Kesner says the couple met as MBA students at the Kelley School. Since their graduation in 1990, Rice has spent more than 30 years as a health care executive, including a 27-year career at Lilly. He most recently served as the executive vice president of CVS Health and president of CVS Caremark, the company’s pharmacy benefits management business.
Nelson-Rice enjoyed a career with executive positions in marketing at Eli Lilly and AT&T.
According to IU, the couple credits their fellowships with opening critical doors for them, and they wish to do the same for other minority students.
“They are incredibly generous people and really want to make a difference in terms of diversity,” said Kesner. “The opportunities their gift provides to future business leaders — the gift of education — produce benefits far, far greater than one program or school or university. It is the gift that benefits entire communities.”