On February 18th Professor eh. Dr. h.c. Otto Beisheim, who is the namesake of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, passed away unexpectedly. His death fills us with deepest sadness. The WHU Foundation and the business school have lost a great friend and supporter.
Professor Dr. h.c. mult. Otto Beisheim, the founder of Metro and Metro AG shareholder, has supported WHU like no other donor. Without his commitment, WHU would never have achieved the prominence and reputation it enjoys as a private university among academics, in the business world and in the public, as well as among current students and alumni. Professor Dr. Beisheim’s foresight recognized the need for private initiative in higher education and research. In 1993, he put WHU on solid financial ground by substantially increasing the Foundation’s capital after a difficult launch phase. Since that time, WHU has borne his name, and is now known as the Otto Beisheim School of Management. His 50 million deutschmark donation still constitutes a significant portion of WHU’s endowment capital.
In addition, he supported the creation and funding of two WHU chairs, namely the chair of Marketing and Commerce (since 1989) and the chair of Entrepreneurship (since 2000). Accordingly, the titles of these chairs carry the supplements “Otto Beisheim Chair” and “Prof. Otto Beisheim Endowed Chair”. A third chair, for Technology and Innovation Management, is partially funded by the Professor Beisheim Foundation. Professor Dr. Beisheim has always provided this support with absolutely no thought of personal gain as a patron. He has never coupled his donations with the expectation, much less the demand, that certain issues not be researched or that others are given greater emphasis. However, he was always interested in the excellence of instruction and research at the school, and based the amount of support given on the achievement of such quality. With this goal in mind, Professor Dr. Beisheim has made considerable contributions to other universities, schools, the arts and music, sports and medical facilities, alongside his commitment to WHU.
In appreciation for his impressive support, WHU named its benefactor and namesake, Professor Dr. h.c. mult. Otto Beisheim, an honorary senator in 2003, on the occasion of his eightieth birthday which is the highest honor the university can bestow. In 2005, WHU conferred on him the Ring of Honor.
The WHU Foundation and the University will hold his memory in honor.