Recognition for Investing in Eller
Gifts that Made a Difference
Pioneering Businesswoman Supports Eller Friends of the Faculty Program
Susan Butler is committed to helping women advance in their careers, through The Susan Bulkeley Butler Institute for the Development of Women Leaders, and also through her philanthropic efforts.
Butler earned her bachelor’s degree in industrial management from Purdue University, and was hired by Arthur Andersen & Co. in 1965 — the company’s first professional female employee. Just 14 years later, she was named the first female partner of the company’s consulting organization, now known as Accenture.
“I have been in Arizona since the early 1990s with a second residence,” Butler says. “My sister is a graduate of the UA business school [now the Eller College], so I’ve always had that connection.” When she relocated to Tucson on a full-time basis, a colleague from Accenture suggested that she take his place on the Eller College National Board of Advisors, and Butler has been active in the Eller community ever since.
Last year, she made the decision to support Eller through the Friends of the Faculty program. The program awards professors with funding over and above salary to advance personal scholarship through research, travel, and study.
“I have always believed that we have to do everything we can to attract and retain the best and brightest faculty,” Butler says, “and the finance area is near and dear to my heart.”
The Susan Bulkeley Butler Faculty Fellowship was awarded to associate professor of finance Kathleen Kahle. Kahle has been with Eller since 2003; her research into corporate cash holdings with assistant professor of finance Thomas Bates was recently featured in The New York Times. The paper examines why cash holdings of U.S. firms have increased 129% since 1980, citing precautionary measures among other reasons.
“A good part of my summer was spent working on the cash holdings paper,” says Kahle. “The funding supported me for the summer and enabled me to focus on my research.”
“The fact that we have such an accomplished woman teaching in the finance department is great,” Butler says.
“Finance is clearly an area that has historically been dominated by men,” Kahle explains. “As a result, I think it is important to have female faculty to serve as role models to the female students and demonstrate that women can be successful in a traditionally male discipline.”