For Cummins and Mary Chandler, businesses thrive when the communities in which their employees live and work thrive. The Cummins Foundation, led by Chandler, has played an important role in supporting Columbus as an architectural mecca. Chandler will talk about the past, present, and future of the Cummins Foundation’s commitment to architectural excellence at the Making & Maintaining session of “Foundations and Futures,” chaired by Tricia Gilson.
Chandler is vice president of corporate responsibility at Cummins Inc. and the chief executive officer of the Cummins Foundation. Before joining Cummins, Chandler practiced law for 25 years, earning a Juris Doctor degree from Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington. Chandler later earned a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Chandler explained, “During my time at Chicago, I became fascinated by the solutions to difficult financial and social problems being offered by the dynamic thinkers at Chicago Booth, often using basic economic principles. I left Chicago inspired to apply some of this knowledge to improving Cummins communities around the world.”
Chandler comes to “Foundations and Futures” to speak about the Cummins Foundation Architecture Program, just one of the ways the Foundation contributes to the local community. The Architecture Program began with the intent to build architecturally improved schools for Columbus. The first project the Foundation was involved in was the Lillian C. Schmitt Elementary School, designed by Harry Weese in 1957. The program later grew to include other public buildings, with a mission “to encourage architectural excellence in Bartholomew County.” The Architecture Program is part of the Foundation’s larger goal to contribute to Columbus as a world-class community in which to live and work. As J. Irwin Miller explained in his 1964 speech at the dedication of the Otter Creek Golf Course, “We would like to see this community come to be . . . the very best community of its size in the country. We would like to see it become the city in which the smartest, the ablest, the best young families would like to live.”
As Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Cummins and the CEO of the Cummins Foundation, Mary Chandler hopes to build on the legacy of J. Irwin Miller. Chandler explains, “Cummins is a technology company. J. Irwin Miller had a lifelong interest in architecture and understood that Cummins’ success was closely tied to the company’s ability to attract top talent to Columbus. The Foundation’s Architecture Program was built on the idea that excellence in architecture is a unique cornerstone of the quality of life in our headquarters community.” In Chandler’s view, Corporate Responsibility is not just an altruistic idea, but one that makes business sense. Chandler adds, “As Mr. Miller said, ‘Whatever you do in this world, you've got a responsibility and a privilege of doing it the very best way you can. Mediocrity is expensive.’”