Hilton Head real estate investor bequeaths $25 million to IU's Kelley School of Business
Sept. 27, 2005
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Kelley School of Business announced today (Sept. 27) the naming of its Graduate and Executive Education Center in honor of William J. Godfrey, an IU alumnus who has gone from humble beginnings in Fish Lake, Ind., to great success in real estate and health products.
Godfrey, president of Trinity Associates Real Estate in Hilton Head, S.C., has bequeathed land valued at $25 million for need-based scholarships in the Kelley School and for the building's needs. It is the largest single gift from an individual to the Kelley School.
"I'll never forget what a difference a resident scholarship to IU made for me, a kid from Fish Lake, Indiana," Godfrey said. "I came to Indiana University with nothing, and the university opened up the entire world of possibilities to me. Everything I have is because of IU."
In honor of Godfrey and his generosity, the Trustees of IU voted to name the new building the William J. Godfrey Graduate and Executive Education Center.
"As a young man, Bill Godfrey displayed great appreciation for the importance of a college education. Through hard work and determination, he pursued his academic dreams at Indiana University by putting himself through college. He has subsequently demonstrated that through an unwavering commitment to excellence and a strong work ethic, it is possible to achieve very high personal and professional aspirations," said IU President Adam Herbert. "His gift will help so many future IU students to do the same. We are profoundly grateful to Bill Godfrey for his very generous gift to the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and for his strong support of his alma mater."
"Mr. Godfrey is truly an extraordinary person. He embodies all that IU and the Kelley School stand for," added Kelley School Dean Daniel Smith. "He displayed a roll-up-your-sleeves entrepreneurial spirit from an early age and found a host of ways throughout his career to make a positive difference in the lives of those around him.
"As a result of Mr. Godfrey's generosity, many exceptional but financially-constrained students will be able to receive a world-class education at the Kelley School. It is truly an honor to name the Graduate and Executive Center after such a special alumnus," Smith said.
The center has 180,000 square feet of classroom and office space for use by graduate students, corporate recruiters, executive visitors and administrators. It houses administrative offices for the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, Kelley Executive Partners, the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and graduate academic programs.
The building features classrooms and other facilities that maximize student-faculty interaction in a collaborative setting. Technologically, it is the most wired building on the Bloomington campus; it features both direct and wireless connectivity that will help students both inside and outside the classroom. Other special features include a "trading room," with informational resources comparable to most Wall Street firms.
Growing up in the small LaPorte County community, Godfrey raised and sold tomatoes as a young boy. After the death of his father, he worked full-time in a factory while still in high school. In 1960, he entered IU as a "resident scholar" and earned a bachelor's degree in business four years later.
After serving in the U.S. Army in 1965-67, Godfrey returned to IU and received a master of business administration degree in 1968. He served as head of support services for faculty engaged in Executive Education. Among the faculty were Bill Haeberle, now professor emeritus, and Ed Williams, now vice president emeritus and professor emeritus of business administration.
After leaving IU, Godfrey joined Richardson-Merrell in Cincinnati and marketed the firm's pharmaceutical products in Latin America and the Far East. When the firm was bought out by Dow Chemical, he joined Bausch & Lomb in New York and became president of its international division.
After turning 40 in 1982, Godfrey went into business for himself and bought an interior design company headquartered on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Later, he operated a portable toilet business to serve the area's burgeoning construction industry. From 1985 to 1988, he was president of Sterling Drug and its Glenbrook Laboratories and Winthrop Consumer Products.
He also bought land in the area and created a large mixed-use real estate development near Bluffton, S.C. He retained ownership of the original land, which comprises the majority of the estate Godfrey has bequeathed to the Kelley School. Valued at $25 million, the estate is expected to escalate as land prices climb. A portion of the total commitment will service the graduate and executive education center dedicated in 2002. Upon Godfrey's death, the remainder will provide need-based scholarships for business undergraduates and the school's Systems and Accounting Graduate Programs.
The Kelley School of Business educational programs have been among the finest available for more than 80 years. Its master of business administration degree program has been a fixture in