The loss of Gianluca has left a great hole in our hearts, and all of us at MIP and the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering are continuing to work on the projects that we started together, and which represent some of the development lines for the School of Management for the next few years.
In the days immediately following his loss, we received from you an incredible outflow of affection, expressing the enormous appreciation and respect for the work carried out by Gianluca, with many of your messages also containing the request to contribute, in some way, to his memory.
We think that the best way to remember him is to do something really big, that leaves a significant impression on the work of education and research in management, and can immediately be traced back to Gianluca.
Something that lasts over time and can be, for those coming to the School in the future who not had the chance of meeting Gianluca, a way to talk about his vision for education and the place occupied by the University and the Business School within Italy, and the tangible things that can be done to achieve it.
Our first concrete action, in this respect, is to name the International MBA lecture hall after Gianluca. For me, personally, this field means a lot, since it was the first time I worked with Gianluca on a big, innovative project, designing, launching and holding the first edition of the programme that has had such a great impact on the development of our School.
But this is easy, and we grew in the belief that, once conquered, the difficult challenges are those that leave their mark. Like the challenge of the International MBA at MIP.
Therefore, together with Emilio Bartezzaghi (Gianluca’s teacher and mentor), Raffaella Cagliano (his first student) and other colleagues and friends, we have thought about a really big challenge: to build, next to the School of Management, a centre of excellence named after Gianluca, and attract international faculty and researchers to Milan to continue working on the topics of research and education closest to his heart and to which he devoted such a large part of his academic life.
And there’s more: Gianluca was tireless supporter of meritocracy, so we also want to invest in creating opportunities for deserving people, so that they can come to the School of Management to study in our lecture rooms, helped by scholarships and prizes in his name.
All this will require the effort and contribution of everyone: MIP, the Department, Politecnico di Milano, and also companies and institutions with whom we have worked and, above all, our alumni, the people who knew Gianluca, as a Professor at MIP or in Management Engineering. And, lastly, our colleagues, not only at Politecnico di Milano.
We have, therefore, decided to launch a structured project, with the essential element being the founding of a (legally recognised) Association dedicated to him. This Association will have as its administrative body a Board with representatives of MIP, the Department of Management Engineering, the University and Gianluca’s family. This will be the channel through which we intend to organise a fund-raising campaign for the money we need to finance the activities and develop the resources of the Gianluca Spina Centre of Excellence, together with all the initiatives that we are planning regarding prizes and scholarships.
We intend to raise funds through two pathways: companies (including MIP) and individuals. Obviously, engagement methods and times are different, which is the reason why we have decided to raise funds from individuals through a crowdfunding campaign, supported by the Politecnico di Milano Foundation, which will kindly provide us with assistance for this project until the procedures to constitute the Association are completed.
Our objective is ambitious: we intend to raise at least 200,000 Euros through crowdfunding alone, but we are hopeful that, in reality, the amount will be much higher. If we are successful, we will repeat the crowdfunding in future, to have further backing in terms of prizes and scholarships. To give you some indication: 200,000 Euros represent the funding required to employ an international researcher for four years, or ten MBA scholarships or more than ten scholarships for Specialist Master courses. We really hope to able to do more.
And then, if we do reach our fund-raising objectives, we will probably have realised one the dreams we shared with Gianluca: to demolish the widespread belief that, in Italy, there is no tradition for companies and individuals to make donations in support of universities and, especially for alumni, to the university where they studied, which has contributed towards their professional success. This is different to what happens in other countries with whom we are competing.
I am sure that you will help us make this dream come true.
with Emilio Bartezzaghi e Raffaella Cagliano