Alum of the year
Monday, May 4, 2020

As the saying goes, you’re always a Hawkeye. The alumni base of the Tippie College of Business is a foundational part of its success. Each year we recognize two alumni who have demonstrated long term involvement in the life of the college. 

Christopher Klein (BBA85), executive chairman and former CEO of Fortune Brands, is the recipient of the 2020 Tippie Alum of the Year award. Wenran Xie (BBA13), a manager at Ernst & Young (EY), is the recipient of the 2020 Tippie Young Alum of the Year award.

Klein is an active member of the Tippie Advisory Board. He has spoken in numerous classes and encouraged Fortune Brands to provide projects through the MBA Business Solutions Center, sponsored Tippie events, and hosted a number of student professional trips to its headquarters. As a Tippie Society donor, he has provided key discretionary funds that enabled the college to embark on its 2015 brand project and website redesign.

One of Klein’s nominators described him as “…. a shining example of a Tippie graduate who has demonstrated that hard work and ethical behavior can lead you to the top of your industry.”

Xie regularly works with current Tippie students in mentorship roles and has been instrumental in assisting student organizations set up professional trips at EY offices. She is an active member of the Tippie Young Alumni Board where her philanthropy has supported efforts that directly impact current Tippie students.

“Wenran once shared with me that when she first came here from China it was incredibly overwhelming, but Tippie helped her find her home within her new surroundings,” wrote one of Xie’s nominators for the award. “I believe that this is why she is a passionate board member and contributes to Tippie endeavors whenever and however she can.”

The college’s Alum of the Year and Young Alum of the Year awards were established in 2014 by former Dean Sarah Fisher Gardial. The list of previous award recipients can be found here.