KNOXVILLE — The Len & Laura Berlik Foundation Inc., a private foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life in communities important to the Berlik family, has made a generous gift to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration to support technology in the college’s James A. Haslam II Business Building.
“The effective use of technology is critical if you want to compete in today’s global marketplace,” Berlik said. “The Haslam Business Building is a tremendous facility, and we hope that our gift will enable the college to remain on the leading edge.”
The Berlik gift is part of the Campaign for Tennessee, the university’s $1 billion fundraising effort.
Len Berlik has strong ties to the College of Business Administration. Graduating in 1969 with honors, he credits the college with jumpstarting his business career.
“The most vivid memory of my college experience is being a co-op student,” he said. “At that time, co-op was fairly common in engineering, but not in business. UT had one of the few co-op programs in the country for business students.
“For three years, I worked with Supermarkets General Corp. in New Jersey, alternating work quarters with study quarters. The business experience was great, but the real benefit was in the experience of living and working on my own. The program also extended my horizons beyond Tennessee, resulting in a career that took me and my family all around the world.”
After graduation, Berlik served in the U.S. Army Reserve before starting his 40-year career in the chemical industry. He worked for Monsanto, National Starch and Imperial Chemical Industries PLC, living and working throughout Europe and Asia. Since 2007, he has been a management consultant, primarily working with private equity firms that invest in the chemical industry.
Berlik has returned to campus as a guest lecturer in international business and global strategy classes and in the college’s Executive-In-Residence program, which provides business professionals the opportunity to interact with the college’s top undergraduate and graduate students.
“It is my strong belief that graduates who have enjoyed successful careers should share that success with the institution that provided the basic skills to launch their journey,” Berlik said. “This is particularly important in a time when public funding is declining. I hope that our gift will inspire students to broaden their horizons and consider international business and manufacturing as a very rewarding career choice.”
The Campaign for Tennessee — the most ambitious effort in the university’s 214-year history — places UT among the ranks of the nation’s largest public and private institutions that have sought this level of private support.
The campaign, which launched its silent phase in 2005, will secure private gifts that, in turn, will contribute substantially to the distinct, but linked, campuses in the UT system. Funds raised through the campaign will directly support the objectives of UT’s strategic plan. Among those objectives are improved student access and success, research and economic development, outreach and globalization.
C O N T A C T :
Cindy Raines (865-974-4359, firstname.lastname@example.org)