Gary Kimball, BS'84, MBA'85
Gary Kimball, Sauereisen Director of the Undergraduate Business Minor
Gary Kimball, BS'84, MBA'85, is a "Double Dore" who truly embodies the concept of Vanderbilt for Life.
As a student, he was a resident of the Carmichael Towers, an economics major and a member of Vanderbilt's 1982 Hall of Fame Bowl football team. Now, as the Sauereisen Director of the new Undergraduate Business Minor program, he offers a portrait of how homegrown talent can help the university evolve to meet the needs of emerging leaders.
By his estimate, Kimball's experience as an undergraduate set him up nicely. "Vanderbilt gave me three big gifts—my wife, my best friend and a great education," Kimball says. "Now, it feels like a gift to be able to spend time here, paying it forward by impacting students' lives." After Owen, Kimball pursued a successful career in finance. In 2007 he sold his interest in the company where he was a partner and took stock of his next move. He was initially drawn to the idea of returning to Vanderbilt as a student in the Master of Liberal Arts and Science program. Instead, his former professor William Damon and then-provost Richard McCarty convinced him that his experience as a leader and entrepreneur made him a valuable asset to the faculty. After several years of teaching, Kimball joined the committee to help develop the Undergraduate Business Minor program. In 2018, he was named to the position of director.
"The magic of the business minor," Kimball says, "is how we combine the four undergraduate schools and Owen Graduate School of Management in a uniquely trans-institutional way to deliver robust business training that complements the liberal arts education." Having graduate school faculty teaching the fundamentals courses distinguishes the program, and Owen, in turn, has access to undergraduate students who may wish to continue their studies at the graduate level at Owen.
A strong proponent of balancing theory and practice, Kimball is focused on expanding the program with opportunities to engage students outside of the classroom—to the tune of one hundred or more guest speakers and presenters a year for lectures, workshops and informal, one-on-one networking. The business minor has been extraordinarily well received by students. After just four semesters, Kimball says with a laugh, "we definitely do not have a demand issue."
Vanderbilt is an anchor for Kimball and his wife, Carroll, BA'84. In return, they are committed to giving back to their alma mater. Carroll is a former member of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust and Vanderbilt Alumni Association Board president, and continues to support the College of Arts and Science. In addition to his role as a teacher and mentor, Gary directs philanthropic support toward student-athletes and is a frequent fixture at their games.
Kimball's gratitude to the Allens—also an alumni couple—for the gift that named the directorship underscores his belief that, "Vanderbilt alumni remain connected to the university and to each other." He adds, "To have the position endowed makes a strong statement to Vanderbilt and to the broader community that this program adds immense value for our students."