Brandeis Alumni, Family and Friends

Three Gifts, One Transformative Impact for Brandeis International Business School

April 1, 2024

Through their generosity, a professor, entrepreneur, and an undergraduate alumnus and Brandeis parent are creating a host of new opportunities for students.

Three headshots in a row.
From left: Dr. Catherine L. Mann, Len Asper ’86, P’24, and Mark Ain. 

Brandeis International Business School has received three gifts totaling $8.25 million, an outpouring of support that will create new scholarship opportunities, establish a professorship, and bolster entrepreneurship and experiential learning. 

All three gifts were made independently of one another by a trio of business and economic leaders, each with different ties to the university. The group includes Dr. Catherine L. Mann, a former tenured professor at the International Business School and world-renowned economic policy expert, Mark Ain, brother of faculty and staff member Alice Ain Rich and a titan of the workforce management space, and Len Asper ’86, P’24, an undergraduate alumnus turned media leader, who is also the parent of a current student. Asper has also given an additional $1 million to support the university at large. 

“These generous gifts will play a transformative role in our mission at the International Business School,” said Dean Kathryn Graddy, who is also the Fred and Rita Richman Distinguished Professor in Economics. “They will be instrumental in the work of educating the next generation of principled, data-driven, and effective business and policy leaders, who will go on to improve the world through innovative research and ideas.”

Here’s what you need to know about the three gifts, the benefactors behind them, and the impact they’ll have.

The Catherine L. Mann Brandeis International Business School Endowed Scholarship Fund

Professor Catherine L. Mann has given $1.5 million to establish a scholarship for students studying and pursuing careers in international economics.

Her goal is to help imbue the next generation of policy and business leaders with the “economic tools and cultural curiosity” to promote global engagement and societal wellbeing. She adds she is particularly inspired by the International Business School's unique strength in training business, policy, and finance subjects “under the same roof.” She created the scholarship through a combination of immediate and planned giving

At Brandeis, Mann first served as the Rosenberg Professor of Global Finance and is now a Visiting Professor of the Practice. From 2014 to 2017, she served as Chief Economist and G20 Finance Deputy for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an international agency composed of more than three dozen member countries that engages in research and outreach to the highest level of government to promote “better policies for better lives.” She was the first American and second woman to hold the role. From 2018 to 2021, she was Global Chief Economist for Citibank. Currently, she serves as an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England. 

The Ain Family Professor of the Practice in Entrepreneurship

Global workforce management entrepreneur Mark Ain has donated $2.5 million to endow a new faculty chair in the practice of entrepreneurship. 

By appointing a distinguished faculty member with extensive experience beyond the academic realm, the goal is to foster new learning opportunities that strengthen the connection between theory and practice. To that end, Professor Philippe Wells, a seasoned entrepreneur in the health and wellness industry, has been appointed the inaugural holder of the Ain Family Professor of the Practice Chair in Entrepreneurship.

Ain’s motivation is in supporting the entrepreneurial spirit and independent thinking at Brandeis, and he is excited by Wells’ visionary approach to entrepreneurship and innovation. He adds that when his sister, Alice Ain Rich, joined the staff and faculty in 2019, her respect and enthusiasm for the Brandeis community was evident, and those family conversations led to his getting involved and making an impact.

Ain – who founded the workforce management company Kronos Incorporated in 1977 and grew it into a global software giant (now UKG) that earned billions in revenue – has also given $250,000 to establish the Ain Family Summer Start-Up Fund. The fund will be used to enhance existing start-up programs within the Asper Center for Global Entrepreneurshp.

Recommitting to Entrepreneurship

Len Asper ’86, P’24, a former Trustee and current co-chair of the International Business School’s Board of Advisors, has deepened his connection to the university, making an additional $4 million investment in the entrepreneurship center he helped establish more than 20 years ago.

The Asper Center for Global Entrepreneurship provides a diverse range of experiential learning opportunities through coursework, internships, business plan competitions, field visits, and meetings with global entrepreneurs. The gift will help the center enhance and sustain those services into the future. 

Len’s enthusiasm and generosity come from his lifelong dedication to Brandeis University and his steadfast commitment to fostering an entrepreneurial ethos in business and cultivating innovative thinking within the business school and across the university. That’s why, he says, he is “committed to ensuring that Brandeis remains one of the most successful and revered institutions in the world, and one that serves as a beacon for graduates who help create positive change.”

Asper – who is founder, president, and CEO of Anthem Sports & Entertainment, which owns and operates music, sports, and other content platforms – has also given $1 million to establish the President’s Strategic Vision Endowed Fund intended to advance the entire university’s long-term strategic goals. He also established the Asper Award for Global Entrepreneurship, which recognizes globally successful entrepreneurs who have also focused on making a difference.