The University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees has elected Joseph Neubauer, MBA’65, as its next chairman. Neubauer will begin his three-year term as chairman after the board’s annual meeting on May 28.
Neubauer succeeds Andrew M. Alper, AB’80, MBA’81, who has served as chairman since 2009.
Neubauer, who is the retired chairman of ARAMARK Corporation, has served on the University’s Board of Trustees since 1992, and became vice chairman in 2012. He is also chair of The University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact. This most ambitious and comprehensive campaign in the University’s history is targeted to raise $4.5 billion to support faculty, students, and programs of research, education, clinical care and impact across the full scope of the University’s work in Chicago and around the world.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Joe Neubauer in his many roles at the University of Chicago over the years,” Alper said. “In particular, Joe has been an active and engaged member of the board’s executive committee, and President Zimmer and I have found his advice and counsel invaluable. Joe is a seasoned leader, and the nature of his university philanthropy demonstrates a deep appreciation of what makes the University of Chicago so special. I look forward to a seamless transition of board leadership over the next several months.”
“Joe Neubauer has a deep understanding of the University of Chicago’s potential to transform and enrich lives, grounded in his own experience and wide-ranging interests,” said President Robert J. Zimmer. “His philanthropic generosity and hard work on the University’s behalf have greatly enhanced the University’s capacity to make an impact around the world. With his new role as chairman of the board, I know his leadership will make great contributions to the University’s ability to further enhance our work in research, education and impact.”
“The University of Chicago has always occupied a very special place in my life,” Neubauer said. “The intellectual prowess and the global reach of the University have inspired me personally and professionally for over 50 years. It is therefore a great honor for me to work closely with President Zimmer and my fellow board members during this ambitious period in the University’s distinguished history.”
Neubauer and his wife Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer have a long history of generous philanthropic giving. They received the University of Chicago Medal in 2013. Awarded by the Board of Trustees, the University Medal recognizes distinguished service of the highest order to the University by an individual or a couple.
The Neubauers’ major donations to the university focus on investments in human capital. Their first gift was an endowed chair in entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 1996. More recently, their 2012 landmark gift established the Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society, an ambitious initiative to expand the boundaries of humanistic study. Last December, the Neubauer Family Foundation sponsored two new programs that remove barriers to admission and matriculation for academically gifted international students and students from Hispanic communities. The family also has endowed numerous student scholarships and professorships, and supports the Oriental Institute’s Neubauer Expedition to Zincirli in southern Turkey.
Neubauer’s parents fled Nazi Germany in 1938. Born in Israel, Neubauer came to the United States at age 15 to live with his aunt and uncle in Danvers, Mass. He studied engineering at Tufts University, working his way through school waiting tables and running a late-night milk and sandwich delivery service from his fraternity house kitchen.
After earning an MBA at Chicago, Neubauer took positions at Chase Manhattan Bank and PepsiCo. In 1979 he joined ARAMARK, a worldwide provider of food, hospitality and other professional services, as chief financial officer. He served for nearly three decades as ARAMARK’s chief executive officer and later board chairman. During his tenure the company grew revenues from $2 billion to $14 billion and employed more than 250,000 people in 23 countries. He currently serves on the boards of Macy’s, Inc. and Mondelēz International, and recently retired from the board of Verizon. He also serves as chairman of the board of the Barnes Foundation and is the immediate past chairman of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans.
As noted above, he was elected to the University’s Board of Trustees in 1992 and became its vice chairman in 2012. He also serves as chairman of the Alumni Relations and Development Committee, a member of the board’s Executive Committee, and as a life member of the Council on Chicago Booth.
Neubauer has two children, Melissa Anderson and Lawrence Neubauer, MBA’95, JD’95.