"In the beginning, there was Bob."
That's how George Daly describes the impact of Robert Emmett McDonough (F'49),
who in 1998 gave the endowment gift that named the school.
Daly, who stepped down as dean of the school in June after six years in the post, is
referring to McDonough's leadership and engagement in the school, as well as his
"Bob was always there, whether it was a board meeting or a casual visit to the school,"
Daly says. "He really set a tone for the place."
When McDonough, who died in 2007, made his $30 million gift to the business school,
it was the largest single gift in the university's history. But McDonough's naming gift
was not the end of his generosity. In total, McDonough gave more than $40 million.
Among those gifts was an endowment for the Elsa Carlson McDonough Professorship
in Accounting and Finance, which he made in honor of his first wife, Elsa, who died in
The impact of McDonough's $30 million naming gift is felt across the business school's
operations, Daly says. As one example, it has provided additional, sustained financial
resources for faculty recruitment and support that has allowed the business school to
make important new hires in an extremely competitive academic market.
And, when the vision for a greatly needed new business school facility was still a
blueprint and a fundraising goal, McDonough and his wife, Simone, made an early
"Bob's gift gave people confidence that the building would become a reality and inspired
them to make their own commitments," Daly says.
Simone McDonough shared her husband's aspirations for the school, and she has served
on Georgetown's Board of Regents. To honor Simone McDonough and her partnership
in making the historic naming gift, Georgetown named the new business school
building's atrium the Dr. Simone Ballandras McDonough Atrium.
The building became a reality in 2009 when Saad Hariri (B'92) made a gift to name the
new business school building in memory of his father, the late Lebanese politician and
philanthropist Rafik B. Hariri. The Hariri Building is the home for all of the McDonough
School's programs - programs that are rapidly growing in prestige. Bloomberg
Businessweek ranked the school's undergraduate program in the top 10 in 2011, and U.S.
News & World Report ranked the MBA program in the top 25 in its "America's Best
Graduate Schools" in 2012.
"Bob's leadership and naming gift were a catalyst for rapid change to the school that
bears his name," Daly says. "Bob will continue to guide us for years to come. He's
central to our identity."
"He really was a remarkable guy," Daly says.