The Robert B. Pamplin Family
Not Your Typical Entrepreneurs
They are one of America’s most successful corporate families, but the Pamplins are hardly your typical business people. Robert B. Pamplin Sr. (Business Administration ’33), who died in June 2009 at age 97, was the retired CEO of Georgia-Pacific Corp. He retired at age 65 — but didn’t.
After a 43-year career that helped shape the company into a wood and paper giant, Pamplin went on to build his own multi-million-dollar business in textiles, sand and gravel, and concrete and asphalt. His son, Bob Jr., made his first million with stock market investments while he was an undergraduate student. He survived a battle with cancer and became an ordained minister, establishing a nondenominational church to supply food to relief agencies.
Each year the Pamplins give away 10 percent of the pretax income from their holding company, as well as a substantial amount of their personal income. They have contributed more than $16.5 million to the College of Business, enabling it to recruit and retain outstanding students and faculty members, expand and develop its academic programs, and undertake new construction and renovation. Father and son have also given lectures and workshops to our students and faculty members, and provided information on their business operations for a senior-level case study.
Philanthropy means more to the Pamplins than simply writing a check. It’s about thinking up innovative fund-raising ideas and “using entrepreneurial skills to create something more.” Says Bob Jr.