March 29, 2013—A $1.55 million endowed fund has been established to support the Daniels College of Business at it expands its international presence and global educational offerings. The Joseph W. and Sharon P. Saunders Endowed Global Education Fund will provide scholarships for global consultancy projects and course work for students, and the first Saunders Global Scholars will be announced this summer. The Saunders Fund will also support international recruiting and employment initiatives that aid in the placement of students in the global marketplace and enable the Daniels to launch new global initiatives such as international boards.
Joseph Saunders recently retired as chairman and CEO of VISA, Inc., the world's largest payments technology company. He served as VISA's executive chairman through March 2013 and led the company through some of the most transformative years in the company's history, changing the way hundreds of millions of cardholders pay for everything from college tuition and vacations to a cup of coffee. Among his biggest successes: merging Visa's six independent regional associations into one combined entity and in 2008 pulling off the then-largest IPO in U.S. history. The company's stock price grew by more than 375 percent under Saunders' leadership.
Before joining VISA, he served in leadership roles in several top financial services companies, all with international reach. Saunders earned both his bachelor's degree (1967) and master's degree (1968) in business administration from the University of Denver. For the past four years he has been a member of the Executive Advisory Board for the Daniels College of Business, helping to strategically position the college's global activities.
"My experience at the University of Denver was the foundation of my career, and I can't think of a better way to give back to the university and the global community than by providing the financing that will allow students to learn about and confidently step into the international business arena," said Saunders.
All Daniels undergraduates are required to complete an international education experience, either by taking a course that examines global business or by participating in the study abroad program. Undergraduates also can major in international business. Graduate students are able to explore the world through a variety of programs, from earning an International MBA to enrolling in global consulting project classes.
"Today's business environment circles the globe and the education we provide our future leaders must prepare them to understand the complex mix of world-wide challenges they will face. This generous gift will enable us to enhance and evolve our current programs to continue our mission of delivering the best educational and career opportunities to our students," said Daniels College of Business Dean Christine Riordan.