Gary C. Wendt (’65 BS EGR) has made a gift that will allow a three-fold increase in student enrollment in two popular general business courses beginning in the fall of 2011. The focus of both courses is to prepare non-business majors to better understand business fundamentals and make smart choices after graduation.
“Our country is presently going through a difficult transition from easily leading the world’s economic and social advancement to weighing what our society can afford and deciding how and who will pay for it,” Wendt said. “This creates a dilemma which can only be analyzed with some understanding of the economic inputs and outcomes. I want to give as many students as possible a broader understanding of the economic issues which are affecting their lives today and will continue to affect them in the future.”
University of Wisconsin-Madison Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, Professor Aaron M. Brower agrees students need exposure to diverse course offerings. “The University of Wisconsin-Madison strives to educate students who will become thoughtful citizens engaged with solving the important problems in the world,” Brower said. “We build our educational experience around critical thinking and analysis, knowing things about oneself and the world, and the value of lifelong learning. Just as business majors benefit from disciplined observation and analysis of the non-business world, so too, do non-business majors benefit from understanding foundational business concepts.”
In addition to Wendt’s bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from UW-Madison, he earned an MBA from Harvard and recently retired as chairman of Conseco. Prior to Conseco Inc., Wendt worked for General Electric for 24 years, where he built GE’s financial services activities from 6 percent to 45 percent of total company income. In 1990, he received the College of Engineering’s Distinguished Service Award. Wendt’s gift will allow General Business 310 and General Business 311 to increase enrollment from 150 to 500 students.
Zach Swetz is a political science major who took Economics 101 in the fall of his junior year and decided to follow it up with General Business 311 during the spring. “I really enjoyed economics, and I thought it gave me a new view of the world that I found very interesting,” said Swetz. “General Business 311 is a great overview class, touching on several important aspects of business, namely management and marketing. I have been able to put that learning to immediate use as I begin starting a business of my own through the UW Entrepreneurship Clinic.” Zach is planning to complete the requirements for a certificate in entrepreneurship to complement the bachelor’s degree he will receive in 2012 from the College of Letters & Science.
For more information
General Business 310 is part of a two course sequence introducing non-business students to basic concepts, practices and analytical methods that are part of the market enterprise system. This course is a basic overview on: accounting, finance and business law.
General Business 311 introduces non-business students to basic concepts and practices in business. This course is a basic overview of: management, marketing, entrepreneurship, globalization, ethics and supply chain.