Investment executive Robert H. Niehaus, a member of Princeton’s Class of 1977, and his wife, Kate Southworth Niehaus, have made a substantial gift to endow a research and teaching center focusing on issues of globalization at Princeton University. The Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance will be established at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in recognition of the Niehaus’ contribution.
The newly-named Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance was launched in 2004, bringing together faculty members from the Woodrow Wilson School and the Departments of Politics, Economics, History, and Sociology to provide an interdisciplinary forum for teaching, research, and mentoring on the subjects of globalization and governance. To engage the broader academic and policy communities, the Niehaus Center will host conferences and colloquia and participate in joint research projects with such renowned institutions such as Harvard University, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Brookings Institution, exploring topics ranging from international trade and multilateralism to security and nationalism.
“Thanks to this gift, students from across our University community will also have new opportunities to develop an international perspective, helping them to one day serve all nations as effectively as our own,” said Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman.
The endowment will support the operations of the Center and fund a new global policy task force initiative. Policy task forces are one of the hallmarks of the Woodrow Wilson School major. They bring together 8-10 juniors to examine and propose solutions to current domestic or international policy problems. Ten years ago the Woodrow Wilson School held its first task forces abroad, limited almost entirely to Woodrow Wilson majors. The Niehaus gift will fund the expansion of this program to Princeton students outside of the Woodrow Wilson School, and potentially to some students from host universities abroad. Participants will include Wilson School undergraduates as well as students from other departments throughout the University and from the host institution, giving all a powerful cross-cultural experience.
The gift will also fund the creation of an inter-departmental postdoctoral fellowship program to study the political economies of the world’s regions, ranging from Latin America to Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on the Middle East. The Niehaus Center will work with departments ranging from History and Economics to Near Eastern Studies, with the expectation of developing a generation of scholars able to analyze and make policy recommendations about issues of global importance.
“The Niehaus gift allows us not only to study globalization but also to practice it by sending more Princeton students abroad in an intellectually serious and culturally stimulating context,” said Woodrow Wilson School Dean Anne-Marie Slaughter, a member of the Class of 1980. “I am enormously grateful to Bob and Kate Niehaus and thankful for their vision and leadership. The Niehaus Center will also encourage scholars from around the world to focus on institutional solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems.”
“Kate and I are thrilled to be able to support an initiative that is equally critical to Princeton students’ international experience and Princeton’s leadership in the forefront of global policy,” said Niehaus. “We are especially excited to support groundbreaking research and debate on the Middle East, a particularly important area of study right now.”
The Niehaus Center will be directed by Helen Milner, the B.C. Forbes Professor of Politics and International Affairs and chair of the Department of Politics. “The generosity of the Niehaus family will enable the Woodrow Wilson School to strengthen its interdisciplinary exploration of the many challenges posed by globalization, and, in partnership with other institutions and a stellar group of visiting fellows, advance the global dialogue on issues of critical importance to the international community,” said Milner, a noted scholar on international trade, the connections between domestic politics and foreign policy, globalization and regionalism and the relationship between democracy and trade policy.
The Niehaus family’s generosity to Princeton includes an endowed professorship in contemporary Muslim studies, especially relating to the Middle East. The current Robert H. Niehaus '77 Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Religion is Muhammad Qasim Zaman, who is widely recognized as a leading scholar on Islamic political thought and institutions, contemporary religious movements in the Muslim world and the history of Islamic law.
After graduating from Princeton with a degree from the Woodrow Wilson School, Bob Niehaus earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, from which he graduated with high distinction as a Baker Scholar. Niehaus is a managing director of Greenhill & Co., and is the founder, chairman and senior member of Greenhill Capital Partners, LLC, which manages several private equity funds which have raised $1.3 billion in capital, focusing upon the energy, financial services, and telecommunications industries. Prior to joining Greenhill & Co. in 2000, he spent 17 years at Morgan Stanley & Co. where he held the positions of managing director in the merchant banking department, vice chairman and a director of the Morgan Stanley Leveraged Equity Fund II, L.P., vice chairman and a director of Morgan Stanley Capital Partners III, L.P., and chief operating officer of merchant banking. He serves as a director of The American Italian Pasta Company, Crown Castle International, Exco Holdings, and Heartland Payment Systems, Inc. Kate Niehaus graduated from Wesleyan University and also earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.
The Niehauses participate in a number of nonprofit organizations. Bob Niehaus is President of the Board of Good Shepherd Services, a social services agency that serves over 18,000 program participants a year in New York City, providing adoption, foster care, alternative high schools for truant students, long-term residences and other social services. Mr. Niehaus is also Chairman of the Board of Student Sponsor Partnership, which provides high school scholarships and mentoring to 1300 disadvantaged students in New York City. Kate and Bob Niehaus are also active members of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Milestones to a Cure Campaign and are active in Handcrafting Justice, a fair trade organization that assists woman in the developing world to create employment for themselves. Niehaus has also been an active Princeton volunteer, as a special gifts solicitor for Annual Giving and a member of the Alumni Schools Committee. The Niehaus family lives in Rye, New York.