Not long after Bradley classes reconvened after break, the Board of Trustees had its two-year elections for board positions. During this election, alum Robert Turner was selected from the returning members as the new chairman of the board.
The 23 members of the Board of Trustees meet quarterly each year in January, April, July and October; however, they are available throughout the year for consultation, advice and special meetings, according to Vice President of Communications Shelley Epstein.
Epstein said, among other responsibilities, the board promotes Bradley and assesses the capabilities to properly administer the operations of the university.
“The Board reviews and approves the university’s strategic plan, annual operating budget, new academic programs and other major initiatives, including fundraising campaigns,” said Epstein. “As chairman, [Turner] leads the board and is the primary link between the Board and [President Joanne Glasser].”
Turner, who now heads the board, earned a accounting degree in 1977, and returned to Bradley the following year to earn his MBA. He was raised in Yates City, about 45 minutes from Bradley’s campus, and now lives in Pennsylvania.
Students may recognize the Turner name from the Robert and Carolyn Turner Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation located east of Main Street Commons. Turner envisioned the school in 1999, and it was established in 2002. The school was formally dedicated to the Turners in 2012.
Turner and his wife have been rewarded by Bradley more than once in the past. In 2010 they were given the Bradley President’s Award, which Glasser awards to the donors that best exemplify Bradley “by their continued relationship and extraordinary involvement in the university.”
Glasser spoke on Turner’s dedication and generosity during the awards dinner.
“[Turner] reflects the kind of values that we try to emulate and live as an institution,” said Glasser. “It’s how [he and his wife] live their lives.”
Turner’s experience as an entrepreneur permeates more than his connection to the university. He and his brother Mark Turner ’80 began the Turner Investment LP in 1990. Currently, Robert Turner is the chairman and chief investment officer of the firm, which, according to the Bradley website’s “In The Spotlight” article from the Turner School dedication in 2012, managed at least $12 billion in assets.
Glasser continues to speak highly of Robert Turner and all his family has done for the university, especially in the field of entrepreneurship.
“[The Turner School of Entrepreneurship] is a reaffirmation of the importance of applied learning,” she said. “[Robert Turner] has been a great supporter of our entrepreneurial initiatives. [He] is an extremely reflective and decisive individual. He and his wife… have a deep love for education and give back with the intention of making a positive difference.”
“Bradley Hilltopics” interviewed Robert Turner in 2004 when they focused on the entrepreneurship program at Bradley. Robert Turner discussed the importance of ethics and motivation as an entrepreneur.
“There’s a reason why entrepreneurs are young, they don’t have the experience to know better,” said Robert Turner. “You really do have to have that hunger to do well and willingness to understand that there will be pitfalls along the way, bumps in the road, and how the problems can become possibilities.”