Business institutions minor renamed for NU benefactor

Stephanie Louise Lu

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Weinberg’s Business Institutions Program was recently renamed the Harvey Kapnick Business Institutions Program after a gift from the Kapnick family.

Harvey Kapnick was a former chairman of accounting firm Arthur Andersen. He left in 1979 because of his concerns over the accounting and consulting arms of the firm being involved with the same clients. The firm was later prosecuted in 2002 for the issues that Kapnick raised.

“Harvey Kapnick and his family were longtime supporters of Northwestern and certainly of BIP,” said Prof. Mark Witte, director of the program. “We’ve given a prize in Harvey’s name for years to our best students, so it’s a wonderful thing that his name will be extended to the program as a whole.”

BIP is Northwestern’s most popular minor. The gift from the Kapnick family will be used to meet the needs of the expanding program, including increased demand for classes.

Ronald Braeutigam, the director of the program from 1995 to 2004, had spoken to Kapnick about the program and its development before Kapnick passed away in 2002, according to a press release.

“Harvey Kapnick had strong ideas about what undergraduate education should include,” Braeutigam said in the press release. “He believed that students who want to be effective business leaders need high-quality exposure to fundamental concepts taught in a variety of academic disciplines, rather than only in a business concentration.”

Lucy Millman, the assistant director of the program, said BIP fits very well with Kapnick’s vision because it caters to students with all kinds of business interests.

“I enjoy meeting with students and discussing their interests and then tailoring a BIP minor to their interests,” she said. “For example, a theater major interested in the business side might take Marketing Management, Arts Management, Arts Management Internship, Accounting and Entrepreneurship. That collection of classes would give the student a great background to start their own theater company.”

Millman said the program has grown dramatically since she began working with it 14 years ago.

The program had fewer than 100 students in 1994, but there are now 530 students pursuing a BIP minor, she said.

Mena Abebe, a Weinberg junior and a representative on BIP’s Student Advisory Board, said the variety and quality of courses in BIP appealed to her the most.

“There are so many interesting BIP classes that I would like to take,” she said. “Since NU doesn’t cater to business or finance, I find it extremely pleasing that BIP offers classes that match my interests.”

Frances Li, another BIP student representative, said BIP gives students access to excellent resources, including speakers from influential companies, recruitment information and a “boot camp” where students could attend related courses before going through the job recruitment process.

Even though the program is expanding, it tries to maintain a friendly atmosphere, Witte said.

“It’s a wonderful program with great faculty and staff, and terrific students,” he said. “We’ve grown in enrollment and in terms of the sorts of classes and programs we offer, but we try to keep it simple and personable with everyone involved.”