Ed Robinson graduated from Michigan Technological University in 1966. It’s been 50 years since he left campus, but the culture of philanthropy he fostered in the School of Business and Economics (SBE) will resonate far into the future.For more than 30 years Robinson and his wife Betty have generously given to the SBE. Last year the couple decided that what they’ve done in the past wasn’t enough and vowed to do more—much more.
Through the Robinsons’ philanthropy, the SBE will see significant improvements both academically and in the physical state of its building. What was initially an idea for renovation, ended up as a major improvement to the Academic Office Building, home of the SBE, and a planned bequest for the Edward and Betty Robinson Endowed Faculty Fellow in accounting. The bequest will fund what will be known as the “Robinson Fellow.”
Eric Halonen, Michigan Tech’s assistant vice president for advancement, said students are the beneficiaries of the Robinsons’ service and philanthropy.
“Ed and Betty are building the School of Business and Economics through two facets, with both a building renovation and the faculty fellow position,” he said.
Sam Tidwell Center
Dean Johnson, interim dean of the SBE, noted Robinson’s past dedication to the school, particularly his work as chair of the Tidwell Center Endowment Campaign. Named after the legendary late accounting professor Sam Tidwell, the Tidwell Center consists of endowment funds to support scholarships and direct student services.
“Ed’s guidance and his generous gift will ensure a lasting bond between legendary faculty like Sam Tidwell and those who will have the honor of serving as the Robinson Fellow,” Johnson said.
Ed Robinson said he and Betty want to continue to help the School that has given so much to them.
“We want to do our small part in helping SBE on to greater achievements for the benefit of students now and into the future.”Ed Robinson
“Sam Tidwell and other SBE faculty were a great inspiration to me,” he said. “We want to do our small part in helping SBE on to greater achievements for the benefit of students now and into the future.”
Betty Robinson also acknowledges Tidwell’s influence on her husband’s success. “Fifty years ago, Michigan Tech invested in my husband’s quality education. … He blames Professor Sam Tidwell for steering him into a public accounting career. From that investment by Michigan Tech, he enjoyed years in public accounting.”
Betty Robinson said her husband spent 22 years in public accounting and became Deloitte’s National Industry Director-Transportation as a partner. He also became chair of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Transportation Committee.
“In his career, he went on to become the chief financial officer of two regional railroads in the Midwest from their inception and continues to serve in that capacity,” Betty said.
Noting that faculty are key to student success, Johnson went on to say, “Ed’s gift will support and attract high-quality faculty who are the interface for the next generation of accountants.”
Johnson said the gifts are doing more than looking out for the future of the SBE.
Academic Office Building Renovation
“The Robinsons are making additional annual gifts in order to have an immediate impact,” he said. “As a result, renovations in the Academic Office Building have recently been completed. We anticipate filling the Robinson Fellow position in the near future.”
In addition to the Robinsons’ philanthropy, Ed Robinson continues to serve on the SBE Dean’s Advisory Council and the Accounting Advisory Council and is a member of the School of Business and Economics Academy.
The Robinsons are members of the McNair Society and the 1885 Society, and Ed is a life trustee of the Michigan Tech Fund, as well as a current member of the President’s Advancement Council.
“The Robinsons are a true ‘Michigan Tech family,’” Halonen said. “Ed and Betty’s son, Decha, is a 2006 graduate of the School of Business and Economics as well. Their service and philanthropic spirit are matched by only a very select few.”
Betty Robinson said it’s only fair they give to back to the institution that has meant so much to them.
“The investment by Michigan Tech paid off, and now it is time we returned a payback to the School of Business and Economics at Michigan Tech,” she said.