The Robson Program for Business, Public Policy, and Government

Navigating the Intersection of Business and Government

In 2017 The Robson Foundation, named for former dean John E. Robson, pledged $2.1 million to establish the John E. Robson Endowment for Business, Public Policy and Government at Goizueta Business School. The gift established a program focused on the growing complexities of business and civics. Robson served as dean of the then-Emory Business School from 1986 to 1989, leading the charge to raise the school to national and international prominence.

Mission Statement

Image for Mission Statement The John E. Robson Program for Business, Public Policy, and Government at the Goizueta Business School serves as a central forum for issues and solutions at the nexus of business, government, and public policy. The primary objective is to better prepare Emory's graduates to lead complex organizations by fostering proficiency in issues of business and public policy from multiple perspectives. The Robson Program will integrate with wider communities to contribute to productive dialogue and leverage the various schools and departments of Emory University in pursuit of this mission.

Guiding Principles

  1. We are student-centric. We provide students with research opportunities and internships, which allow them to work on topics that combine business and government policy. Select students will attend the Robson Annual Conference; many will attend lectures by the Robson Distinguished Lecturers.
  2. We are community-oriented. We bring together leaders in the fields of Business, Public Policy, and Government with faculty and students. This multi-disciplinary program will link Emory University with institutions in the greater community.
  3. We are nonpartisan. We present diverse views and encourage dialogue between leaders of diverse backgrounds and policy beliefs.
  4. We address critical topics bridging business and policy. We consider a wide range of contemporary issues in, for example, healthcare, public health, financial regulation, economic mobility and inequality, sustainability, and the future of jobs in the age of automation.
  5. We address issues of all political, governmental, and geographic scales. We focus on a variety of problems of different magnitude, e.g. ranging from local and state workforce development to national budgetary and tax policies, rising populism and the future of Free Trade Areas to global business and cybersecurity threats.

Our Namesake

Image for Our Namesake

John E. Robson served as dean of the then-Emory Business School from 1986 to 1989, leading the charge to raise the school to national and international prominence.

Among his contributions, Robson installed high-profile members of the corporate community on the Dean’s Advisory Board. Many faculty members were recruited during this time, including the late George Benston, Bob Drazin, Rob Kazanjian, Benn Konsynski, Jeff Rosensweig and Jag Sheth.  He recruited key contributors now on the school’s senior staff, including Senior Associate Dean and BBA Program Director Andrea Hershatter and Associate Dean of MBA Admissions Julie Barefoot. Robson also started the Global Perspectives Program with original funding by the school’s namesake, Roberto C. Goizueta.

Away from Goizueta, Robson was a recognized public servant, working with four U.S. Presidents. Notably, he served as Deputy Treasury Secretary under George H. W. Bush. At the time of his death in 2002, Robson was President and Chairman of the Export-Import Bank, which informed the George W. Bush administration’s trade and foreign policy.

“John Robson had a passion for linking business and public policy in positive ways,” Associate Professor and Program Director Jeff Rosensweig said. “John personified the rare leader who succeeds in business, government and civic service and academia.  We will ensure students interact with exemplary leaders from all these spheres.”

The Robson family remain connected to the school, in part, by supporting an MBA scholarship.

“My father’s years at Emory were some of the most rewarding of his career,” Robson's son, Douglas, said. “Both my parents would be proud and excited to know the groundwork he laid is being carried forward with this new initiative.”


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