Educator, philanthropist and retired bank executive William Longbrake, DBA ’76, has pledged $1 million to support the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. The unrestricted gift will provide flexibility to the school, where Longbrake serves as Executive-in-Residence and a member of the Board of Advisors.
During his doctoral program at Maryland Smith, Longbrake taught finance and introductory business courses to undergraduate students. Then, after a full career in banking and public policy, he returned to Smith as a student advisor and Executive-in-Residence at the Center for Financial Policy.
“In retirement you can go back to where you started,” Longbrake says. “This is where it all began.”
Smith MBA students step outside the classroom in the consulting practicum that Longbrake continues to lead. In one recent example, his students helped Maryland’s Environmental Finance Center manage a pollution mitigation project at the Chesapeake Bay.
“We take skills that students learn in the classroom and apply them to projects for real-world clients,” says Longbrake, who also writes a monthly white paper on economic developments and issues.
For perspective, Longbrake draws upon more than 25 years of experience at Washington Mutual, where he helped build the company from a $2.5 billion mutual savings bank in Washington state to the sixth-largest depository institution in the nation. In 2001, Longbrake was named chief financial officer of the year in the Driving Revenue Growth category by CFO magazine.
Longbrake also held regulatory positions at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. As a scholar, he published articles that continue to be cited — including one from 1975 co-authored with Smith emeritus professor John Haslem.
Longbrake has a long history of giving to Smith. Notably, he funded a suite of offices for Smith PhD students in Van Munching Hall in 2008. And he endowed a professorship held by Vojislav Maksimovic.
“Bill Longbrake has been a champion of Maryland Smith for many years,” Smith dean Alexander Triantis says. “He believes in the power of education to change lives, and he contributes as a philanthropist and teacher.”
Besides sharing his time and resources at Smith, Longbrake has served in numerous academic, business and community service organizations — particularly those associated with affordable housing and education.