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Long before he became CEO of an international investment firm responsible for managing more than $3 billion in assets, Raymond J. Harbert `82 absorbed the wisdom of then-Auburn University College of Business faculty members James Cox and John Blackstone, among others.
“Both were excellent professors who made a difference by motivating and challenging me to work harder on my studies,” Harbert said.
Thanks to Harbert’s generosity, future generations of Auburn business students will be able to tell a similar story.
In recognition of a $40 million commitment from Harbert – the largest gift in Auburn University history and the largest received by an academic unit in Alabama higher education history – the Auburn University College of Business is now known as The Raymond J. Harbert College of Business.
The Harbert name brings a new level of prestige to a college long recognized as one of the nation’s top public schools of business. Of the top 50 business schools ranked by U.S. News & World Report in 2013, 42 carry the names of benefactors.
The naming gift, announced on June 21, 2013, strengthens the college’s position as a national and global leader by creating additional eminent scholar and endowed chairs to recruit and retain top faculty members, forming a doctoral program in finance to help prepare future thought leaders in academia and practice, and establishing the Harbert Investments Center – a research enterprise focused on securities and wealth creation – and a supply chain management research institute that will work in partnership with Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. (View the Press Release)
Harbert serves as CEO of Harbert Management Corporation, a Birmingham-based independent investment firm founded in 1993. Harbert Management Corporation attracts investors from such sources as high-net worth individuals, financial institutions, pension funds and foundations. In addition to its investment teams in eight U.S. cities, including New York City and Chicago, the firm’s global footprint encompasses London, Paris, Hong Kong, Madrid and Melbourne.
After graduating from Auburn with a business degree, Mr. Harbert began his career with Harbert International, Inc., a subsidiary of Harbert Corporation. He served as vice president of business development before becoming president of the corporation’s real estate subsidiary, Harbert Properties Corporation. In 1988, he was elected vice president of Harbert Corporation and managed the company’s investment portfolio.
In 1990, Harbert gained oversight of the rest of the firm after being elected president and CEO of Harbert Corporation. He earned Ernst & Young’s regional Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Financial Services in 2006.
A father of three, Harbert serves as a trustee for the Robert Meyer Foundation and the Children’s Hospital of Alabama. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Birmingham Business Alliance and the University of Alabama at Birmingham President’s Advisory Board.
Harbert and his wife, Kathryn Dunn Harbert `81, also an Auburn University graduate, have both been generous in their support of Auburn University and the College of Business. Mr. Harbert has served as president pro tempore of Auburn University’s Board of Trustees.
Previous investments in the College of Business include the Raymond J. Harbert Eminent Scholar Chair in the Department of Finance, the Raymond J. Harbert Fund for Excellence Endowment in the Department of Finance and the TIGER Lab, a 40-station computer lab for students.