CU Boulder hosted an investiture ceremony on Nov. 3, where university leadership honored and recognized Vijay Khatri, the Tandean Rustandy Endowed Dean for the Leeds School of Business, announced in April; and Jason Thatcher, the Tandean Rustandy Endowed Esteemed Chair, who will begin early next year.
This ceremony—which reflected academic traditions, celebrated institutional history and symbolized a new era at Leeds—was also an occasion to appreciate the CU Boulder alumnus whose generosity made the two positions possible, Tandean Rustandy.
“Having Dean Khatri and Dr. Thatcher here with CU Boulder is really going to be transformative, not only for Leeds but the campus—and I think they provide great examples of leadership for other faculty and deans along the way,” said Provost Russell Moore.
Advancing Leeds to the next level
Over the last decade, the Leeds School of Business has experienced a strong upward trajectory: Being ranked as No. 29 for its undergraduate program, it is now among the top 3% of accredited business schools in the country, according to a 2023 U.S. News & World Report. The school’s two newly endowed positions will make a difference by continuing to elevate Leeds’ reputation as a world-class business school.
Establishing and announcing the position of the endowed esteemed chair earlier this year also allowed Leeds the flexibility to recruit another top scholar for the endowed faculty chair position. In January, Thatcher will join Leeds from Temple University with a focus on organizational leadership and information analytics. With a history of accolades from the National Science Foundation and large organizations such as IBM, he studies pertinent issues such as social media and the selection of new employees and executives as well as IT strategy.
“These aren't simply investments in individuals; they're investments in the kinds of people who are going to be real leaders to the campus,” said Moore, who also shared his appreciation of Rustandy bringing his vision forward.
Keith Molenaar, dean and K. Stanton Lewis Professor of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, who chaired the search committee for Leeds’ new dean, noted the gift will fully equip Khatri as he “continues making Leeds a global destination for people addressing the complex challenges of tomorrow.”
Fueling the future of business
Khatri brings a distinguished history of leadership and program development as the former executive associate dean for strategy, innovation and technology at Indiana University Bloomington’s Kelley School of Business.
As the first endowed dean on the CU Boulder campus, he is responsible for leading the educational, budgetary and administrative priorities of the Leeds School of Business. The deanship provides additional discretionary resources for Khatri to create and execute the vision that continues the school's impressive trajectory.
Moore shared that Khatri has already proven to be an effective leader for Leeds since starting his tenure in July: “I dare say he's having a great effect working with other deans and other faculty and folks across various schools and colleges,” said Moore.
During the investiture ceremony, Khatri expressed his gratitude to serve as the inaugural Tandean Rustandy Endowed Dean, noting that it will play a significant role in Leeds’ continued success and growth for generations to come. “I would like to recognize the generosity of Tandean Rustandy for inspiring all of us to turn outwards for others as an ideal—and give it back,” said Khatri.
“I’m genuinely humbled and honored to be entrusted with the leadership of the Leeds School of Business, a school that I was drawn to based on a widely known reputation for values-based business education.”
Khatri also shared his collaborative vision of working together with Leeds colleagues to enhance the business ecosystem and impact, including student-centered education; innovation through research; and engaged alumni, community members and corporate partners. “As we embark on a new strategic journey to define our North Star, creating a new collective vision that will respect our roots and leverage our strength, we will also take Leeds to the next level,” he said.
“I'm so proud of our rich history and progress of the Leeds School of Business, and I'm even more excited about the collective future.”
A lifelong focus on visionary philanthropy
Both of the endowed positions are supported by the generous philanthropy of alumnus Tandean Rustandy, who has been a visionary since he first arrived in Boulder as an undergraduate student.
“I just give thanks that [CU Boulder] made me what I am today,” he said during the investiture ceremony.
Born in Indonesia, Rustandy has always considered himself privileged to attend a great university as a first-generation student, and he has made supporting the ambitions of others a central focus of his life—through giving to his alma mater and as the founder and CEO of PT Arwana Citramulia Tbk, one of the world’s most successful ceramic-tile manufacturing companies.
At the start of 2023, Rustandy announced a $5 million gift to create the Tandean Rustandy Endowed Deanship at Leeds.
“Tandean understands the value of giving back and has been a loyal philanthropist to the University of Colorado Boulder for many years,” said Chancellor Philip DiStefano. “These endowed positions, which will contribute so much to the success of our students in the university at large, were made possible through the generosity and vision of Tandean.”