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March 8, 2010 Q&A

Goodwin College President Honored For Gift | Mark Scheinberg, President, Goodwin College

Mark Scheinberg

You received the International Legacy Honor Award from Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) at its annual Global Leadership Conference at the end of February. What is the YPO?

Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) is a not-for-profit, global network of young chief executives connected around the shared mission of becoming “Better Leaders Through Education and Idea Exchange.” Founded in 1950, YPO today provides 17,000 peers and their families in 100 countries with access to unique experiences, world-class resources, alliances with top learning institutions, and specialized networks that help them enhance their business, community, and personal leadership.

 

Within YPO, you have led the development and created protocol around forums — small and intimate groups of corporate presidents — worldwide for more than 15 years. What is your goal with these forums?

Forums operate as a highly confidential, personal board of directors that provide business and personal insight to each individual member. Forums meet four hours each month; over 2,000 forums currently operate around the world. This is an incredible and valued investment in time for executives.

Forum protocol provides a foundation for executive participants to have meaningful and often difficult conversations. These protocols have been leveraged for bridge building between corporate executives from countries that are in conflict. For example, a group of YPO presidents from Pakistan and India have been meeting for years, and have made significant contributions towards the rapprochement between those countries... This has created a new avenue of back channel diplomacy between countries in conflict.

As far as the social enterprise projects, our members have been instrumental in these endeavors. For example, members invested in an essential oils distillation company in Rwanda, where small-scale farmers are able to make a living wage while beginning to create export opportunities in that country. Another example includes those who are funding micro-enterprises — small street-side companies that may sell basic foodstuffs, or who create workshops to build local wares. Most importantly, the corporate presidents provide mentorship and personal support for the development of these enterprises.

 

YPO also recognized you for your “most selfless contribution to education” — your donation of $25 million to Goodwin College in 2002 so that it could become a nonprofit organization and increase opportunities for its students. What are your thoughts on the investment you made eight years ago?

I continue to be amazed and humbled by the strides that Goodwin College has made over these last years. I believe that there is an almost karmic element in all this — we could never have succeeded in creating what we have at Goodwin College if it remained about one man’s ownership. However, I also believe that beginning as a privately owned business created a more functional, sustainable, and business-based model on which to build a nonprofit entity.

 

Goodwin College has initiated several programs to address the needs of students who are balancing work, family, and classes — a need that is increasingly common on college campuses. What are some of the specifics of these programs that make them successful?

With everything that Goodwin College does, we make it our priority to listen to what our students are telling us they need, and then we develop solutions to meet those needs. For example, one of our admissions officers came up with the idea for us to offer specialty services after hearing from students that they had trouble taking care of everyday tasks in between work and classes. As a result, we started an official concierge services program.

Flexibility is essential to creating an environment where our students can pursue their goals. A few years ago, we started offering online courses, and we now also offer hybrid science classes for which the lectures are online and students only need to come onto campus for their labs. While we offer the standard academic support services on campus, we also offer eTutoring online so that students can receive help in their home at a time that is convenient for them.

 

What’s next for you and Goodwin College?

Goodwin College has already formed partnerships with area high schools to enable eligible high school seniors to earn up to nine college credits at Goodwin College. Continuing our work in that area, we are opening our first magnet high school, the Connecticut River Academy, this fall on our campus. The Connecticut River Academy is an early college high school with an environmental science focus... Students at the Academy will have regular opportunities to work directly with Goodwin College faculty and will be able to take credit-bearing college courses starting in grade 11.

 

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