In 2007, LSU alumni Emmet and Toni Stephenson gave a large donation to LSU to start a new disaster response management institute to capitalize on LSU’s unique experience and outstanding performance under the severe pressure of the Katrina disaster. Their vision was to see LSU become the premier university in the world on disaster response management. Out of this donation, the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute was born.
Emmet Stephenson is the founder and president of Stephenson and Company, a private investment company, and senior partner of Stephenson Ventures, a private equity firm. He also serves as a director of Danaher Corp. and is the retired chairman of StarTek, Inc. Stephenson graduated magna cum laude from LSU with a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Business in 1967 and was ranked first in his graduating class. In his senior year, he served as president of the LSU College of Business. He also graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School and received the Ralph Thomas Sayles Fellowship in Investments. At LSU, he was inducted into the LSU Alumni Association Hall of Distinction in 2006; was inducted into the LSU Kappa Sigma Hall of Distinction in 2005; was a speaker in the Flores MBA Distinguished Speaker Series in 1999; and was inducted into the Ourso College of Business Hall of Distinction in 1998. Stephenson previously served as president of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association. He received the Albert Einstein Technology Medal in 1999.
Toni Stephenson is the founder and president of General Communications, Inc. She was publisher of Law Enforcement Product News and Public Safety Product News and was a founder and director of Charter Bank and Trust. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from LSU in 1967, where she served on the Student Council, and completed the Harvard Business School Owner/President Management Program in 1990. She served as president of the Children’s Hospital Association of Volunteers, a director of the Children’s Hospital, a director of Anchor Center for Blind Children and a director of St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Both Emmet and Toni Stephenson currently serve on the Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors and are recognized in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.