Rohm and Haas Gift to Create a Program in Sustainable Development in Organizational Dynamics

March 1, 2009

Rohm and Haas Company, the global pioneer in the creation and development of innovative technologies and solutions for the specialty materials industry, has made a significant gift to the School of Arts and Sciences’ program in Organizational Dynamics to create a concentration in sustainable development.  It is the first-ever gift from a corporate sponsor to an academic institution to create a program for working professionals focused on the study and implementation of sustainability principles across an organization. The gift will provide funding for three years of course development and marketing that will create a concentration within the Master of Philosophy and Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics degree programs as well as a sustainable-development graduate certificate program. 

Rohm and Haas has a long history of dedication to environmental and social responsibility—meeting, exceeding or even pioneering industry and societal standards, including a green chemistry research emphasis which pioneered water-based acrylic paints in the 1960s and now includes products across its entire business portfolio.  Rohm and Haas Company Chairman and CEO Raj Gupta said Penn “personified in its president, its faculty and its students alike a serious and steadfast commitment to sustainability, bringing with it a leadership position in interdisciplinary approaches to critical issues facing the world today.”

Larry Starr, the director of Penn’s Organizational Dynamics program, said, “This gift offers a mutually beneficial educational partnership.  It will further scholarship and practice for the students in our academic community of working professionals from the U.S. and abroad, and it will support the Rohm and Haas community in their goal of developing a global culture of sustainable development.”


Katie Hunt, the director of corporate sustainability for Rohm and Haas, said the gift represented the company’s strategic commitment to sustainability and to Penn’s outstanding faculty and leadership across all its schools.  “The University has demonstrated it understands the importance of building competency in sustainability and with this gift will allow Rohm and Haas employees and all interested students to build a solid foundation and valuable credential in this critical discipline.”

University of Pennsylvania President Gutmann signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007.  As part of that commitment, the University is developing a plan to achieve climate neutrality by reducing campus greenhouse gas emissions; purchasing at least 15 percent of its electrical power from renewable sources; adopting an energy-efficient appliance program; providing access to public transit for students, faculty and staff; and committing to a policy that new construction conform to U.S. Green Building Council LEED Silver standards.  In September 2008, Penn received an A-minus on the Green Report card, the highest grade given by the Sustainable Endowments Initiative.

In addition to the sustainability curriculum, the Rohm and Haas gift will fund a marketing campaign to attract a diverse body of students, whose varying points of view and experiences will enrich debate around the topic.  The Rohm and Haas - University of Pennsylvania Partnership in Sustainable Development will also sponsor panel sessions, symposia, and other programming where academics and professionals share knowledge and best practices.  The new partnership will give industry leaders tools to effect change within their organizations, and it will provide a forum for scholars and managers to come together and create innovative solutions for a sustainable future.