March 10 2006
Michael Borkan, ILR ’79, Establishes Brettschneider Fund
The ILR School is delighted to announce the Abraham & Henrietta Brettschneider Warwick Exchange Fund, established through the generosity of ILR alumnus Michael Borkan, BS ’79. Michael’s gift is an endowment named in memory of his grandparents. The Brettschneider Fund, along with a corresponding Fund established at the University of Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom, supports an ILR-Warwick exchange agreement to assist research travel by faculty, students, and scholars interested in the study of workplace issues.
Michael is a strong advocate for cross-cultural collaboration in teaching and research—a passion he’s held since his undergraduate days at ILR. In fact it was his international interests that helped guide his path after ILR and his search for graduate schools. Michael wanted an educational experience outside of the U.S. but, as he recalls, “ILR had not yet established exchange relationships with foreign universities so I began to look outside of Cornell.” Michael set his sights on the Chicago Graduate School of Business, which had a well developed international studies program and allowed him to matriculate at Oxford University. On the merits of his accomplishments and a “great recommendation from ILR dean Robert McKersie,” Michael began his international education via Chicago.
Michael sees the establishment of this fund as not only an opportunity for ILR students & faculty to tap into an international experience through Cornell, but in some measure it’s a way to remember the important support Dean McKersie provided when Michael was preparing to leave Cornell.
Michael now lives in the U.K. and has long-standing ties to the University of Warwick where the retiring vice chancellor, David Vandelinde, was previously a vice provost at Johns Hopkins. He sees a partnership with ILR as a natural fit. “There is a tremendous amount of synergy between the two institutions and, in light of globalization, there is an opportunity here to collaboratively study workplace systems across regions.” Michael also sees the exchange agreement as a way to provide an international experience and nurture a global mind set among students who may want to participate in the exchange.