George Peter Bauer
Doctor of Humane Letters
George P. Bauer, a dedicated alumnus and emeritus trustee of Washington University, is a philanthropist, financier and head of GPB Group, Ltd., an investment banking firm he launched in 1987 after retiring from a 31-year career at IBM.
Mr. Bauer grew up on a farm in DeSoto, Missouri, where he attended a one-room school. The first in his family to go to college, he received a scholarship to Washington University’s engineering school.
With his wife of 64 years, Carol B. Bauer, whom he met when he was student vice president of the Interfaith Council at the university and she was president of the Baptist Student Union at Harris Teachers’ College, he has returned that initial scholarship support many times over.
After earning a bachelor of science degree in engineering in 1953, Mr. Bauer served as an officer in the U.S. Army at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. He returned to Washington University to pursue a master’s degree in engineering at around the time the first IBM 650 computer arrived on campus.
He was interested in the new technology — but so was everyone else. He couldn’t secure sufficient time on the machine. To get a better understanding of this new computer, Mr. Bauer talked the local IBM office into allowing him to use its computer at night.
After earning a master’s degree in 1959 — using the computer to write his thesis — he was offered a job with IBM. He began his career as an account executive on the McDonnell Aircraft account, just as the aerospace manufacturer was awarded the first Mercury space capsule contract.
Over the next 31 years, he served in executive positions in marketing, finance and business systems, including as chief financial officer of several IBM divisions.
He spent four years in Paris, France, as group director of business systems for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He was an early member of a group in the United Kingdom that launched IBM in the consulting business.
When he retired from IBM in 1987, Mr. Bauer joined the faculty at Georgia State University in Atlanta as executive professor of management information systems before beginning his second career as an investment banker.
He and Mrs. Bauer have been involved in numerous philanthropic activities, going beyond resource support to become personally invested in the lives of others.
In 1989, the two established the Bauer Family Foundation, which focuses on improving education and human health worldwide.
The Bauers are longtime Washington University benefactors, providing scholarships for students and, in 2004, establishing an endowment to provide emergency financial aid to students experiencing unanticipated financial difficulties.
They also established the George and Carol Bauer Professorship in Organizational Ethics and Governance at Olin Business School in 2007. In 2011, the Bauer Foundation made a gift of $10 million to provide capital support for Olin’s Bauer Hall, which opened in 2014.
In 2016, the Bauers established the George and Carol Bauer Leadership Center at Olin Business School with a $5 million gift. The center will accelerate Olin Business School’s efforts to develop leaders of competence and character who are equipped to make a positive and principled difference in their organizations, their communities and the world. With this gift, they also established the George and Carol Bauer Leadership Fellows Program.
In February 2018, the Bauers made a $5 million gift to establish a named deanship in the School of Medicine. David H. Perlmutter, MD, dean since 2015, is the inaugural George and Carol Bauer Dean of the School of Medicine.
A former treasurer of the Board of Trustees for Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut, Mr. Bauer is a member of the Board of Directors for the Norwalk Hospital Association and Western Connecticut Health Network.
In addition to his service with Washington University’s Board of Trustees, Mr. Bauer is a member of the university’s New York Regional Cabinet and the Olin Business School National Council.
His dedication to Washington University has been recognized in numerous ways, including a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009 and, along with Mrs. Bauer, the Robert S. Brookings Award in 2011 and the Olin Dean’s Medal in 2012.
The Bauers live in Wilton, Connecticut, and have three children and five grandchildren.