Currently, 62 percent of Kelley School students graduate with international experience, many with the support of scholarships. According to the Institute of International Education, IU Bloomington ranks sixth among U.S. institutions in terms of the number of students studying abroad. The gift from Perscbacher, which was made as part of the university's $3 billion For All bicentennial campaign, will be doubled by IU's International Scholarship Matching Program.
With the additional resources, Kelley School officials hope that eventually three-quarters of students enrolled in the school will travel abroad while earning their degrees. According to IU data, students who study abroad are more likely to engage with faculty, have a higher cumulative GPA, and graduate on time.
An avid traveler, Perschbacher earned a BS degree from IU in 1976 and an MBA in 1977. He currently serves as chief financial officer of North American operations for Birla Carbon, a sustainable manufacturer and supplier of carbon black additives.
"I have enjoyed my extensive international travel experiences and cherish the friendships I have made over the years," he said. "I continue to find travel beneficial to my understanding of the world and would like students to experience other business cultures and be impacted by international travel as I have been. This gift allows me to make a positive impact on students who may not otherwise have access to such opportunities."
"One of our missions at the Kelley School is to create 'citizens of the world,' and Jim knows firsthand how important that is," said Idalene "Idie" Kesner, dean of the Kelley School and the Frank P. Popoff Chair in Strategic Management. "This generous and thoughtful gift will broaden the horizons of so many Kelley students, helping them to understand other business environments and international cultures. We are very grateful."