Humble, blue-collar beginnings. A passion for campus and the community. An appreciation for blending business and STEM disciplines.
Those are just a few of the reasons, Dave Bernard (BS BA ‘74) has, for supporting the Michigan Technological University School of Business and Economics through the new David L. and Marilyn A. Bernard Faculty Fellow in Business. “I grew up in Houghton. By the time I graduated from Michigan Tech in 1974, I had only crossed the Mackinac Bridge twice. Michigan Tech and the School of Business and Economics provided me and my family with incredible opportunities. Giving back in the way of this estate plan is small relative to what the University has given me,” Dave said.
Philanthropy runs in the family
The youngest of six children, Dave’s brothers Sam and Bill are Michigan Tech alumni, and his wife, Marilyn, pursued the medical technology program. “Seeing Bill sponsor the clock tower on campus this summer was incredibly inspiring,” he said.
Highlights from Dave’s 36-year career include serving as chief tax officer and vice president for taxes for Kimberly-Clark beginning in 1996, where he was responsible for global tax management, tax planning, tax defense and talent development. In 2003, Dave was named vice president for taxes and real estate, and his responsibilities expanded to include the management of all Kimberly-Clark office facilities, real-estate transactions and tax-credit real estate investments.
They gave because they have been given
During their time at Tech, both Dave and Marilyn were scholarship recipients, and their support of student scholarships and experiences will continue. “Through conversations with Dean Johnson, dean of the School of Business and Economics, we became aware of opportunities to expand our support to include faculty,” Dave said.
The Fellow in Business will be selected by the dean based on distinguished achievements in research or teaching. “We need world-class faculty to produce quality students.” Dave adds, “Business faculty have the opportunity to pursue multidisciplinary research, teaming with STEM areas across campus, supporting the University’s overall strategic plans.”
"Our youngest son, Darren, is faculty at the London Business School. We appreciate the demands and expectations of faculty and want to support their growth in the School of Business and Economics."
Across campus, faculty are preparing Huskies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As the rate of technological change increases, a broad curriculum, Dave emphasizes, will better prepare students to create the future. “Business students and engineers must understand both the product and the technology. As a tax person at Kimberly-Clark, I developed an understanding of our technologies and engineering excellence, while appreciating how good forestry practices are the first important step in the production process.”
Michigan Tech’s history of team skills and experiential learning gives students practical experiences on campus so they are better prepared for the job market. Dave credits the STEM emphasis within the School of Business and Economics for analytical skills he’s relied on throughout his career. “I took calculus. I took physics. I took engineering economics. Understanding the bigger picture is critical to success in any business, in any discipline.”
The Faculty Fellow in Business will serve a three-year term.
Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.