Fuqua Alumni Team Up to Create Endowed Scholarship

What did MBA students do to blow off steam after finals in December 1987? They set out for Chapel Hill to take in a new movie—Wall Street, a study in what not to do with their newfound business acumen. Among that group were Mike Pausic MBA '89 and Matt Porio '86, MBA '89, first-year students who had become fast friends. Section-mates and members of the same study group, Mike and Matt came from similar backgrounds. Both had worked for just a year after earning their undergraduate degrees and before coming to business school, making them younger members of their class. Matt sought to hone his skills for a career in capital markets, and Mike was looking to make a transition from engineering to finance.

More than 25 years later, the two remain close. "The best times of my life have been spent with Mike," says Matt. "Our friendship has deep roots, and we can pick up where we left off easily."

So, in 2007, when Mike was considering an investment in Fuqua's Breeden Hall expansion, he immediately thought of involving Matt. Together, they committed $50,000—$25,000 each—to name a team room after their parents.

"It was a no brainer to be associated with Mike on the team room," recalls Matt. "We both owed a lot of credit to our parents and felt it was a fitting way to honor their commitment to our successes."

And now, in true Team Fuqua style, they're at it again. The Pausic and Porio Families Scholarship Fund is their latest joint philanthropic endeavor. This time, it was Matt who recruited his best friend to create an endowed scholarship in support of Fuqua students. They've split the $100,000 commitment required to endow a scholarship and hope that their investment will help the school recruit the best candidates.

"We want to make sure that the school continues to have the resources to offer great programs to great students," says Mike. "It's difficult to attract top students nowadays. We want to help the student body to be better and grow, and to make a Fuqua education accessible to people all over the world. I received a scholarship to come to Fuqua, and I hope to give future students access to the best education they can get."

"As we improve our relative standing among the world's best business schools, the competition for students grows fierce," says Liz Riley Hargrove, Associate Dean for Admissions. "Scholarships are a key driver in attracting the diversity and talent we have come to expect at Fuqua. Endowed scholarships like the one Mike and Matt have created give us a steady source of scholarship funds that we can rely on year after year to build Fuqua's student body."

Because endowed scholarship funds are invested, Matt and Mike's scholarship gift will benefit students for generations to come. And they have great hopes for those students and the school itself.

"In my work in international securities, I've seen a shift in the way we do business through technology. It has opened up emerging markets and created new opportunities," reflects Matt. "I think Duke is doing the right things to keep pace with those changes. Fuqua stands to play a key role in developing the young talent who will change the world."

Mike's and Matt's gift brings Fuqua one step closer to its $100 million goal in the Duke Forward campaign. Building endowed scholarship funds is one of the school's priorities in the campaign, helping Fuqua to attract candidates who are destined to make a mark—candidates who boost the school's reputation and build the Team Fuqua network. Mike and Matt both credit Team Fuqua for helping them along the way as their careers developed.

"It's the combination of classmates, faculty, teaching assistants, alumni and others coming together to help all of us grow and develop as leaders and future professionals," says Mike. "I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for Team Fuqua."