2005-09-09 / Business

Star Profile

Moore School pushes endowment past $100 mil.
By John Temple Ligon



As the director of development for the Moore School of Business at USC, Bob Gayle has been positioning himself between the wildly philanthropic and the worldly academic. Understanding the wizardry of wealth creation early on, Gayle easily empathizes with the financially generous, the moneyed set comprised of both self–made origins and inherited privileges. In short, it’s Gayle’s job to bring money to the Moore School of Business, something similar to what he’s been doing since his days in the military.

Gayle took his USC business degree and his two years in the Marine Corps to Lancaster, SC, in 1969 to help run the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce. He picked up professional politeness and maintained his Forest Hills social skills as he moved up.

Bob Gayle with faculty and staff contributions at the Moore School of Business at USC
Bob Gayle with faculty and staff contributions at the Moore School of Business at USC Moving up was Gayle’s direction from the sand piles of his Melrose Heights kindergarten and the halls of Schneider Elementary School. Gayle was identified among the kids at Hand Junior High School as a natural leader. His peers elected him as mayor of Hand Junior High.

At Dreher he was president of the Key Club and president of the Esquires, a high school fraternity.

In college, Gayle kept up the pace as the rush chairman and lieutenant commander of Sigma Nu fraternity.

Gayle’s skills in the business world, smoothed by his correct conversation, served him and his offices well through the presidency of three chambers of commerce: Columbia, Lou-isville, and New Orleans, in that order.

At the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Gayle increased membership dues from $272,000 in 1980 to $870,000 in 1990. During the same time his budget shot up from $320,000 to $2.2 million.

For the Louisville Area Chamber of Commerce Gayle increased the number of business firms on the membership roster from 1,847 in 1990 to over 3,000 in 1996. He began with a staff of 30 and left 44 in 1996.

Running the New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce, Gayle managed a five–year development strategy for a ten– parish region and raised $12 million to carry out the five–year plan.

Gayle left New Orleans for home and the Moore School of Business just three years ago, and he has already taken the team approach to target $100 million in endowment, up from $67 million. Working with Dean Joel Smith and USC President Andrew So-rensen, Gayle goes for the big guns, the ones to help propel the school to the next level.

It doesn’t hurt, of course, to work on the same team with Darla Moore, who before Gayle’s arrival contributed $25 million in 1998 to her now eponymous school. Moore then offered another $45 million last year as a matching challenge grant. USC can supply $15 million in public funds, so Gayle & Co. is charged with pulling in the $30 million necessary to secure the second $45 million challenge.

In the meantime, recognition must be given to Sonoco of Hartsville for its $3 million gift and to many others for smaller donations. BB&T’s $1 million continues a long list that shows Gayle is going after gifts regardless of size or source.

Besides raising funds for academic programs, endowed professorships, general overhead, and the like, Gayle is beating the money trees to renovate the existing facilities and build the new wing, a 50,000 sq. ft. graduate school building.

Figure on $20 million for the upgrade of the existing facilities, and figure on another $25 million for the graduate school building, and figure on Bob Gayle.

Bob Gayle

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