University alum and JetBlue Airways CEO David Barger recently gave a $4.5 million gift to the Barger Leadership Institute in the Organizational Studies Program in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

The gift will support fellowships, internships and research for undergraduates.

Barger hopes to provide undergraduate students with global leadership experience early in their education, said a statement released May 11.

“There is a big difference between management – the ability to get something done – and leadership – the vision for how something should be done,” Barger said in the statement. “Leadership is front-line connectivity. It’s about being plugged in to the customer, the culture, the government and being visionary.”

$1.5 million of the $4.5 million gift will be matched with $500,000 from the University President’s Donor Challenge to support an Organizational Studies professorship.

The funds will also go to attracting leaders of business, government and philanthropy to speak on campus.

“We are tremendously grateful for this transformational $4.5 million gift to Organizational Studies,” LSA Dean Terrence McDonald said. “The Barger Leadership Institute will prepare undergraduates early in their academic experience to become the strategic leaders of tomorrow in an increasingly global, technologically driven and innovation hungry society.”

Barger established the Barger Family Professorship with a $2 million gift in 2005. That same year he created the JetBlue Airways London School of Economics Summer Program with a $75,000 donation.

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