Economics gift supports faculty who inspired alum’s career

From left: Eli, Mark, Betsy and Benjamin Kogan.

From left: Eli, Mark, Betsy and Benjamin Kogan.

When Mark Kogan ’79 made a gift to the department of economics in 2010, he never expected to support one of the professors who taught him as an undergraduate more than 30 years earlier.

Kogan established the Mark Kogan Fund for Excellence in the Department of Economics to honor the exceptional faculty in the economics department who inspired his successful business career. One of his professors, Art Benavie, became a recipient of Kogan funding in spring 2012.

“Supporting professors who inspired me makes me feel like I’m giving back just a small part of what they’ve given me and that my life has come full circle,” Kogan said.

After graduating from Carolina with a double major in economics and political science, Kogan joined Data Resources, Inc., an econometrics consulting company. He then received an MBA from Harvard Business School and enjoyed a 19-year career at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York, Los Angeles and London before retiring in 2004.

Kogan’s philanthropic spirit stems from his upbringing. His father, Jay Kogan, and grandfather, Irwin Cohn, were successful businessmen and philanthropists who encouraged their family to practice Tikkun Olam (“repair the world” in Hebrew). These role models taught Kogan that giving back rewards the donor just as much as the recipient.

Kogan noted that navigating today’s increasingly competitive business world demands a thorough knowledge of economics and finance.

“Through my studies, I developed a passion for understanding how the national and international economy shapes our lives,” Kogan said. “Being able to challenge and debate economic policies makes me a better investor and businessperson.”

For others who are considering a philanthropic gift, Kogan offers this advice:

“Don’t wait. After you start giving back, you realize that your world has expanded,” he said. “You meet interesting people, you get to see how you have an impact on others’ lives, and you feel more spiritually connected to your community and the institutions you support.”

[ By Brittany Darst ’14 ]