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Newsmakers

That’s leadership

Joel Roth commits $20 million to launch a new generation of leaders.

Starting with a civil engineering degree from Case Institute of Technology, Joel Roth ’58 went on to become a successful manufacturer whose companies had a knack for churning out products more efficiently.

Now he’s paying it forward. In February, Case Western Reserve University announced that Roth had committed more than $20 million to launch the Roth Leadership Institute, designed to prepare students to address the world’s increasingly complex challenges.

“The problems are getting bigger and bigger, and more and more lasting,” Roth said in a press release. “The Roth Institute will provide highly motivated, quality students a broad array of experiences that will help them become leaders who solve problems and change the future.”

His commitment will provide full-tuition scholarships to up to eight students annually starting this fall. The Roth Scholars will receive mentoring and academic and practical experiences that are expected to shape them into leaders. It’s hoped they will go on to address major societal and community problems.

“We are honored by the confidence that Joel Roth has shown in us with his gift,” University President Eric Kaler said in a statement. “We are all dedicated to providing Roth Scholars learning experiences that prepare them to make meaningful change in the world.”

After Case, Roth earned an MBA from New York University and worked at Proctor & Gamble, Ernst & Ernst and Gulf and Western. In the early 1970s he began buying companies in the southeast, including Fulton Supply, headquartered near Atlanta.

By the early 2000s, Roth’s companies offered everything from conveyor belts to drill bits, janitorial supplies to safety materials, as well as a range of engineering expertise. Roth’s teams applied that expertise to help companies’ supply chains and manufacturing become more efficient.

In 2008, Roth published The 20% Solution, a guide for businesses to analyze their operations to identify and realize big savings.

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