Don Bushnell, Faculty Emeritus & Founding Dean

Don Bushnell

New Founders’ Circle Member

One of the university’s most veteran and beloved personages, Don Bushnell, recently announced that he has named Fielding Graduate University in his estate plans, “to contribute to the longevity of Fielding and its economic security.”

Intimately connected to Fielding from its early years, Don has been an influential force in making the university what it is today. Among his numerous roles, he was founding dean of the School of Human & Organizational Development (HOD), mentoring faculty for many years, and a co-creator of the Center for Innovation in the Nonprofit Sector. He is now a distinguished faculty emeritus and an active contributor to Fielding’s Institute for Social Innovation.

Don’s bequest will help Fielding continue its mission into the future, and sustain what he believes are some of the university’s most valuable attributes.

“For me, Fielding emphatically embraces the five principles of open systems: Collaboration, openness, sharing, integrity and interdependence,” he says.” In all the years that I’ve spent in educational institutions, I don’t know of any that practiced all those principles. They are the core values that make us unique in graduate education.”

Those values have been fundamental to Fielding since its beginnings when Don and the Fielding founders were “interested in leadership styles, flat organizations, democratic organizations, if you will.” From the start, “the faculty was imbued with a sense of equality and an openness of communication,” he notes.

Social action and social entrepreneurship are additional passions of Don’s and another area where he believes Fielding brings value to the world. As founding dean, he guided the School of HOD in that direction. “I started HOD as a training ground for nonprofit directors,” he says, “and loved getting our corporate-sponsored students in touch with the nonprofit sector. They embraced this kind of work.” He is still in contact with alumni who shifted to nonprofit work from the corporate world following their Fielding experience. “I loved working with mature adults who were motivated to make change, which is why they came to Fielding.”

Fielding Graduate University is honored by Don’s lifetime of work on behalf of the university and by his generous planned gift, which will make a difference to Fielding’s future and help preserve the values that we all deeply appreciate.

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