Korslund/Kooiman endowment creates opportunities for experiential learning

David Korslund ’76 said Cornell College invested in him and helped launch his international career in sustainable banking, and that’s why he and his husband, Rob Kooiman, are establishing a $500,000 endowed fund to support experiential learning.

David Korslund ’76 (right) and his husband, Rob Kooiman, are establishing a $500,000 endowed fund to support experiential learning.
David Korslund ’76 (right) and his husband, Rob Kooiman, are establishing a $500,000 endowed fund to support experiential learning.

With a full scholarship from Cornell, savings from raising 4-H pigs on his family’s central Iowa farm, and an accelerated three-year graduation plan, Korslund left Cornell with no debt. 

“That’s one of the reasons why, with Rob, I wanted to pay back,” said Korslund, who lives in The Netherlands. “Cornell was the basis for my life and career. Cornell’s investment in me through a William Fletcher King Scholarship should be repaid, and this gift does that with an 8.5% return to Cornell.”

Korslund said Cornell taught him how to think and write. At Cornell he also learned to take a broad look at societal issues by being exposed to diverse people, exploring alternatives, and learning not to pigeonhole people and solutions, he said.

“Cornell professors weren’t just professors. They also became friends, held you to high standards, and cared about you as a person. At a liberal arts college you were forced to confront differences, which was very good for me. Not being forced to be a specialist was critical at that phase of my life,” said Korslund, who majored in economics and business.

During the second year of his MBA program at the University of Chicago, Korslund began working at South Shore Bank. He eventually joined LaSalle Bank, a subsidiary of ABN AMRO Bank from the Netherlands. He stayed with them for 25 years, eventually moving to Amsterdam where he worked as head of global planning and performance management, among other roles. Before retirement in 2019 he spent 10 years as senior advisor at the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, a network of banks focused on delivering social, environmental, and economic results, also located in The Netherlands.

Kooiman is a Dutch geriatrician with significant international travel experience. He also benefited from financial support for his education, but through public policy in The Netherlands, which supports affordable higher education. 

“Throughout a long and successful career, David used funds as a tool to enhance quality of life. And now he and Rob are sharing their personal resources to significantly benefit the lives of Cornell students,” said Cornell President Jonathan Brand. “We are grateful for their gift to support our priority of student experiential learning.”

Korslund and Kooiman value their multicultural experiences in a variety of countries, and set up the Korslund/Kooiman Endowed Experiential Learning Fund to provide resources for Cornell students who would otherwise feel too financially constrained to take advantage of international study

Both Korslund and Kooiman would have benefited from a fund like the one they are establishing, said Korslund, who regrets that he didn’t participate in the Chicago Urban Studies program. “I knew it would cost extra money I didn’t feel I had,” he said.

Now, because of his gift, more Cornell students like Korslund won’t have to feel constrained by lack of resources.