The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

"The Direct Line"- Spring 2006

Article Type 

Rockefeller Center Director Andrew Samwick provides commentary on a variety of issues in the Direct Line, which is published at the start of each term.

Leadership development is one of the most important elements of student programming at the Rockefeller Center. It informs our choices of speakers for public lectures as well as the design of programs for discussion, training, research, and education. This spring, the Center is pleased to celebrate entrepreneurship and add entrepreneurial leadership to that set of ideas to which students are exposed in their time at Dartmouth. An entrepreneur is someone who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk for a new venture. We expect that all of the students will in their time after college show entrepreneurial leadership, whether in the private, non-profit, or public sectors.

This wonderful new addition to the Center's programming is made possible by a generous gift from the Portman family—William C. Portman 45, T '47 and his children Robert '78, William III T '81, and Virginia Portman Amis. Rob Portman, a former member of Congress and member of the Center's Board of Visitors, is currently the United States Trade Representative.

In 1960, William Portman launched a company with five employees that distributed forklifts from its base of operations in Ohio. Today, that company has over 400 employees in five different divisions operating from multiple facilities in four states. Portman's company grew dramatically by focusing on recruiting and developing extraordinary people, including the development of internationally recognized employee training programs. Over that time, the Portman family has become synonymous with local philanthropy in the Cincinnati area.

The Rockefeller Center is pleased to implement the Portman gift on behalf of Dartmouth with other organizations on campus, including the Tuck School of Business, where three generations from the Portman family have gone. In April, we look forward to welcoming Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, to deliver the inaugural Portman Lecture in the Spirit of Entrepreneurship. The Home Depot was founded in 1978 in Atlanta and has since has revolutionized the home improvement industry and become the world's largest home improvement retailer He is also well known for his philanthropy, particularly to the city of Atlanta and for serving in leadership roles in a number of civic organizations.

As a visionary, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Marcus will be an inspiration to all those who join us at the Center's Portman Lecture on April 28th celebrating entrepreneurship and support of the civic sector.

Andrew A. Samwick is the Director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences, the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving '72a, P'10 Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College, and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. In 2003 and 2004, he served as chief economist on the staff of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. 
Since joining the Dartmouth faculty in 1994, his scholarly work has covered a range of topics, including pensions, saving, taxation, portfolio choice, and executive compensation. Professor Samwick has been published in American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Finance, Journal of Public Economics, and a number of specialized journals and conference volumes. He graduated summa cum laude with a degree in economics from Harvard College and received his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He blogs about economics, politics, and current events.

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