Karen Rupert Keating '76 receives the 2011 Samuel C. Johnson Distinguished Service Award
“The world is littered with half-baked ideas, half-finished projects and half-envisioned dreams,” said Keating, who is a managing director in the Investment Banking Division of JP Morgan Chase. “What changes the world is making things happen, and if you have a good enough idea, figuring out how to sustain it. That’s what gives me a great deal of satisfaction.”
Coming from a family of active Cornellians, Keating, too, has devoted significant volunteer time serving the needs of Cornell and Johnson, and helping connect alumni with each other and the university. For her leadership and volunteer efforts on behalf of Johnson, Keating was awarded the 2011 Samuel C. Johnson Distinguished Service Award, a lifetime achievement award that recognizes extraordinary alumni for their sustained and exemplary commitment to Johnson and its alumni.
“For me, the award is very special since it is named for one of Cornell’s most visible and visionary alumni, whom I had the privilege of serving with on the Johnson School Advisory Council when he was the chair, and whose family, like mine, continues to be active with so many different parts of the University,” Keating said.
Keating served two terms on Cornell’s Board of Trustees, where she chaired the alumni affairs steering committee, and was appointed a trustee emerita and a presidential councillor. She is a member of the Johnson Advisory Council, the President’s Council of Cornell Women, the Athletics Advisory Council, and has served as a Class of 1976 officer continually since graduation.
Since joining the Johnson Advisory Council in the late 1990s, Keating has helped to augment the school’s prominence and standing in a variety of ways. As chair of the council’s corporate committee, she led efforts to increase the yield of admitted students to Johnson; strengthen corporate ties and thereby improve recruiting results for Johnson students; and help Johnson students prepare for their career searches.
Keating has worked at JPMorgan Chase for her entire career, and held multiple leadership positions over the years, as a banker, the former head of their Global Syndicated Lending Division, the head of their Corporate Banking Division, and most recently responsible for their Commitment Committees. She is also the senior sponsor of the JPMorgan investment banking recruiting team for Johnson, and notes that hiring top talent into JPMorgan is one of the firm’s highest priorities.
Keating was the guiding force behind the creation of the Women’s Power Lunch Series, which brings women business leaders to campus to interact with graduate students and faculty, a program co-sponsored by JPMorgan and Johnson’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Since its founding in 2000, the series has convened several times a year, featuring leaders from a variety of fields. Keating hopes the Power Lunch Series will continue to “broaden perspectives about how different businesses and leaders operate.”
For Johnson students and Cornellians of all pursuits, Keating emphasizes the need to push one’s boundaries, emotionally and academically.
“Find something you can do for the long haul, since a career is something you will hopefully enjoy for decades,” Keating said. “Find something that stretches you – intellectually and dynamically – so that you can adapt to coming changes that are not obvious today.”
Brendan Doyle '12 is an intern in Marketing and Communications at Johnson.