Academics and Research

$2 million gift endows international professorship at Daniels College of Business

In recognition of Ron Rizzuto’s 40 years of teaching and research at Daniels College of Business, the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation today provided a $2 million gift to establish an endowed chair in his name.

The Ron Rizzuto Chair for Excellence in International Executive Education will support Rizzuto’s ongoing work with the Chinese Executive Media Management Program (CEMMP), which equips Chinese mid-career executives and government officials with the business skills to ensure a more successful future for China’s media industry.

CEMMP has become an outstanding model over the past 16 years, recognized by China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film & Television, China Central Television, and many of China’s local TV stations. Called a “mini media MBA,” the program provides classroom and practical training for media industry leaders. It culminates in competing business plans of which three have launched into actual businesses in China.

“I am honored that Anna and John have chosen to name this chair after me. The combination of their intelligence, passion and compassion makes them truly inspiring,” Rizzuto said. “I am dedicated to not only expanding CEMMP in China and at DU, but to establishing new programs with other nations through executive education.”

The work of the Rizzuto Chair, says John Sie, will enhance the Daniels College of Business’s growing international reputation and visibility by targeting mid-level and senior executives.

“We hope this gift will help bring people of other nations closer together,” Sie said. “The fellows who participate in these programs are leaders in their industries and can bring about significant change in a relatively short time. We are confident Ron will grow the program into another world-class program for the Daniels College of Business.”

This gift is an extension of the Sies’ interest in international relations and in their investment in the University. John was born in China and his father was ambassador to the Vatican for China. DU’s Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy is named in his honor. Anna was born in Italy and established a chair in Italian language and literature at DU named in honor of her parents.

Michelle Sie Whitten, the Sies’ daughter who runs the family foundation, worked with Rizzuto, several professors and the Cable Center to establish the CEMMP program in 1999. The program now has 137 executive alumni in China.

“Anna and John have given so much to the students and faculty at DU,” said Brent Chrite, dean of the Daniels College of Business. “This most recent gift underscores their commitment to strengthening our intellectual community, and their generosity will benefit research and teaching for decades to come.”

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