"I view the ILR School as my rock," says Kenneth F. Kahn '69, whose $5 million gift to endow the deanship of the Cornell ILR (industrial and labor relations) School is the largest from a donor in the school's history. Kahn, founder, president and CEO of LRP Publications, said his gift is what he calls "payback" to a school that helped shape and define his life, both personally and professionally.
"It has helped me build a successful career and business," he said, adding that he knew the ILR School was one of the last remaining schools or colleges at Cornell that did not have a named deanship, so he "thought it was high time to do it."
Harry Katz, dean of the ILR School, and President David Skorton made the formal announcement of the gift at the school's annual fall faculty reception Oct. 12.
"The ILR School is the leading educational institution of its kind in the world focusing broadly on the world of work, employment and labor policy," said Katz. "The generosity of Ken and his family will help ILR deepen the impact of its teaching, research and outreach and extend our national and international reach."
Skorton called the gift an exciting development for the ILR School, "honoring the leadership, generosity and vision of Ken Kahn."
Kahn has been an avid supporter of the ILR School and Cornell over the past four decades. Recognized as a foremost benefactor of Cornell, he has served as chair of the ILR School's Phase I and Phase II capital campaigns and has helped raise funds for Catherwood Library and the ILR Conference Center. Kahn, who also holds a law degree from Harvard Law School, has served as a longtime member of both the ILR Advisory Council and the Cornell University Council.