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Remembering Jim Liautaud

Jim Liautaud
Jim Liautaud, for whom the graduate school was named, has passed away at age 79
Monday, November 2, 2015

Last week, UIC Business and the Liautaud Graduate School of Business lost one of its most visible supporters.  Jim Liautaud was a teacher, researcher, entrepreneur, benefactor and friend. He worked side by side with our staff and faculty to ensure that our graduate business programs furthered excellence and success for our students.

It was over a decade ago, in 2003, when UIC received the $5 million endowment from Jim, Gina and their son, Jimmy John, to establish a graduate school in the College of Business Administration.

Today, the Liautaud Graduate School of Business enrolls almost 1,000 students pursuing the MBA, specialized masters in accounting, business analytics, finance, management information systems, and marketing, as well as PhDs in management information system and business administration.

Wim Wiewel, dean at the time of the gift, said, “The Liautaud family’s generosity will allow us to offer students even more of the best classes, personalized service, and high quality education they need to succeed. We are very proud to have their support for our graduate school of business.”

Jim Liautaud received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from UIUC in 1963 after attending the U of I at Navy Pier.

He founded a number of companies that manufactured products produced from patents he was awarded for combining composite plastics and metals.

His products included the mass-airflow sensor for GM’s first fuel-injection engines, the air-bag sensors for Ford trucks and cars in the early ’80s and other products as diverse as radar detectors and circuit chips used to program memory boards.

The American Society of Professional Engineers honored him with a Design of the Year Award; he was a Distinguished Alumnus of the UIUC College of Engineering.

“This gift is a payback for what the university has done for our family over the past years and represents our entire family’s present and future financial commitment to the graduate business school of UIC,” Jim Liautaud said of his gift.

 “I’m excited about supporting that commitment and the way it will positively affect the future of the new Liautaud Graduate School of Business.”

Following the gift to the school, Jim remained active with faculty and students. He hosted a yearly luncheon for the Liautaud scholarship students. He attended the annual scholarship banquet, Celebrating the CBA. He shared his expertise with students as a commencement speaker.

As a successful serial entrepreneur and a clinical professor of managerial studies, Jim worked with faculty on research in entrepreneurship and emotional intelligence.

“Jim Liautaud set a wonderful example as a philanthropist whose generosity did not stop after the check was written,” says Michael Mikhail, dean of UIC Business and the Liautaud Graduate School. “After his gift, he remained an active part of the UIC Business family, working side by side with faculty and students. He will be remembered for his loyalty and support.”