The family of the late Idaho business icon Robert V. Hansberger has honored him by creating the Robert V. Hansberger Endowed Chair within the Boise State University College of Business and Economics.
The $1.75 million gift establishes a permanently endowed fund for a business ethics chair position within the college — the first of its kind.
“Our father believed strongly that business has a great deal of responsibility to the individuals and society in which it operates,” said Carol Hansberger Lloyd. “Therefore, our goal in endowing a chair in the College of Business and Economics is to continue the legacy of Bob Hansberger, and to encourage corporate social responsibility and the application of ethical values in making business decisions.”
Robert “Bob” Hansberger joined the Boise Payette Lumber Company in 1957 as its president, with a mandate to grow the company. Shortly after that, Boise Payette merged with the Cascade Lumber Company to form Boise Cascade Corporation. The combined timber assets gave Boise Cascade the critical mass to compete on a national and, eventually, an international scale. Under his leadership, Boise Cascade expanded into one of the largest lumber producers in the nation and one of the largest producers of fine paper in the West.
Hansberger was a pioneer in providing women opportunities in the business world, said his former Boise Cascade colleague, Alice Hennessey.
“On a flight to Louisiana for a board meeting one time, I remember him telling me that he believed I could be an officer of the company someday,” said Hennessey. “The thought had never crossed my mind. Sure enough — a few years later, at age 35, I was an officer of the company in an industry that had essentially no women in leadership positions.”
Idaho businessman and supporter of the College of Business and Economics Fred Thompson, who was hired by Hansberger at the age of 29, also notes the Boise Cascade president’s impact on the company.
“Bob Hansberger was a visionary, an innovator, a builder and a man whose presence could light up a very large room,” Thompson said. “He was a brilliant mentor to hundreds of young people and was widely respected, not only within the organization but locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. In short, he was singularly outstanding, a one of a kind.”
After leaving Boise Cascade in 1972, Hansberger devoted is time to the Futura Co., an asset management and title company he’d earlier founded, and continues today.
A visionary businessman and strong proponent of corporate social responsibility, Hansberger made a long-lasting contribution to the quality of the arts, humanities, health care and education in Idaho and to businesses and other institutions across the country through his involvement.
A graduate of the University of Minnesota and Harvard Business School, Hansberger served on the boards of several academic committees for higher education including ones for Harvard University, Stanford University, Carnegie Melon, University, Pacific University and the College of Idaho. He was also a visiting professor at Boise State University.
Hansberger’s service to his community extended far beyond the Treasure Valley. He was appointed to serve on three presidential commissions covering topics on urban housing, the White House fellows program, population growth and the American future.
He served on several state commissions, including the Idaho Task Force on Criminal Justice, Standards and Goals and the first Idaho State Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He also served on several local, national and international boards, notably the Voluntary Hospitals of America (VHA), St. Luke’s Regional Health Center, Albertsons, Idaho-West, Idaho Power Company and First Security Corporation board of directors.
The prestigious endowed chair position empowers the college to attract and retain an outstanding teacher and scholar in the field of business ethics, said College of Business and Economics Dean Mark Bannister.
“I am thrilled that the Hansberger family has made a gift which honors an outstanding man, keeping his memory alive for generations to come, and which will benefit students through the dedicated teaching of business ethics,” Bannister said.
The chair holder will take the leading role within the college in teaching business ethics and leading an academic dialogue regarding ethical professional and corporate decision-making. Outside of the classroom, the holder of the chair will develop engaging ways for students to explore ethical issues in business such as through case study competitions, simulations, guest panels of business leaders, and presentations of guest lecturers. The chair will have strong research credentials in the area of business ethics. The Hansberger chair raises the college and university’s profile and reputation on a national scale, said Bannister.
“The college’s value statement reads, in part, ‘We are committed to integrity and ethical behavior in all that we do…,’” said Bannister. “Robert Hansberger, as a corporate and community leader, exemplified this behavior. He was known for his integrity and proved you can be ethical and successful. The goal of the College of Business and Economics in establishing this chair is to emulate and uphold the beliefs Robert stood for in business and life.”
The Robert V. Hansberger Endowed Chair is the first endowed chair at the College of Business and Economics. Benefactors for this generous gift are his two daughters, Roberta A. Hansberger and Carol Hansberger Lloyd, son-in-law Brent F. Lloyd and grandchildren Margaux Reed, Anne Kealey and Robert Lloyd.
Other Boise State University chairs include:
- The Duane and Lori Stueckle Endowed Chair in Biology
- The JoAnna Jody DeMeyer Endowed Chair in Nursing
- The Frank and Bethine Church Chair in Public Affairs
- The Cecil D. Andrus Chair for Environment and Public Lands