Technology Executive Skip Battle Gives RMU Gift In Support of Center for Equity and Professional Advancement
The newly launched Center for Equity and Professional Advancement at Robert Morris University has received a $500,000 gift from A. George “Skip” Battle, former CEO of Ask Jeeves and former director of several of the world’s most notable technology companies.
The mission of the Center for Advancement and Professional Equity is to promote student diversity, inclusivity, academic excellence, and professional advancement and leadership for women and underrepresented students through mentorship, financial support, and personal development. The gift from Battle will support all aspects of the center’s programming and operations.
“Skip Battle’s generous support of the Center for Advancement and Professional Equity will have a direct impact on the lives of our students and provide opportunities that will launch them into great careers and great lives,” said RMU President Chris Howard. “We are grateful for his commitment to equity and inclusion.”
Battle is the former CEO and executive chairman of the board of Ask Jeeves, and before that held various management roles with Andersen Consulting. He previously served on the board of directors of Netflix, LinkedIn, OpenTable, and Expedia. He has also been a senior fellow at the Aspen Institute, which is how he came to know Howard, who is an Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow.
“Inequality is one of the urgent concerns of our time. I compare it to a bicycle race. Students who come from advantageous backgrounds arrive at the starting line with momentum,” said Battle. “Many students who come from underrepresented backgrounds arrive at the starting line less prepared for the race to begin, so it takes them a while to build up speed. I hope this effort will help even the playing field and provide greater opportunities for all students.”
RMU launched the Center for Equity and Professional Advancement last month. Its goals are:
- Promoting academic success and leadership among women and underrepresented students.
- Offering financial and personal support to women and underrepresented students.
- Providing and coordinating a variety of mentorship programming for women and underrepresented students including peer-to-peer, faculty, and professional mentoring.
- Coordinating mentorship, leadership, and academic excellence programs including the RMU Women’s Leadership and Mentorship Program and Next Century Scholars programs.
- Working cooperatively with other RMU programs of academic excellence to support and develop students’ academic and personal success.