Alumna’s gift supports future leaders in finance
A gift from a KU School of Business graduate will help create more opportunities for women entering the field of finance.
Joanna Rupp, a 1985 graduate of the School of Business, says her experience studying and then working in the historically male-dominated industry inspired her to make a recent gift in support of the school’s Women in Finance student organization. The group provides accessibility, visibility and networking opportunities for students pursuing careers in finance. Women in Finance members host speakers, engage in industry visits, and learn resume tips and connections to career opportunities.
“I’ve come to appreciate the progress that has been made with more women working in finance, but I also recognize how much further we have to go,” she said.
After earning her bachelor’s degree from KU, Rupp earned her MBA, cum laude, in finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She has held positions with Security Capital Markets Group, Goldman Sachs and U.S. Central Credit Union. In 2001, she joined the University of Chicago’s Office of Investments and has since held various leadership roles. Currently she is managing director of the $2.8 billion private equity portfolio for the university’s endowment.
Rupp says that throughout her career, she has learned firsthand the power of peer networking. She credits her female colleagues with providing confidence and encouragement to pursue ambitious career roles and hopes her gift will help KU students begin to build their own networks.
“I hope this gift will allow more women to not just enter the field of finance but to do so in a very deliberate way, with big ambitions to hold significant roles,” Rupp said. “I hope it helps lead to job placements but also to the creation of friendships for women that they can draw on for decades to come in their professional lives.”
Claire Rosenfeld, assistant director of the school’s Finance academic area and assistant teaching professor, serves as the Women in Finance faculty advisor. She said the gift will help with costs associated with industry visits and other professional opportunities.
“Joanna’s gift will help Women in Finance fulfill our mission of making careers in finance more accessible, and we are incredibly grateful for her support,” Rosenfeld said. “With this gift, we are able to enrich our existing relationships with students and alumni as well as expand our reach to even more students and alumni. Altogether, Joanna’s gift enables and emboldens students to pursue professional and leadership opportunities they otherwise would not have explored.”
Rupp additionally recognizes the value of investing in KU programs because of the university’s scale and accessibility.
“Public institutions like KU can touch and transform lives, and they serve a broad set of people,” she said. “We need to continue to open as many doors and avenues as possible.”