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Walter David “Bud” Fackler made such an impression on his Executive MBA students at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business that they still keep in touch with his widow, Hazel Fackler. In fact, after his death in 1993, his students began fundraising for scholarships in his name, which turned into a campaign to fund the Walter David “Bud” Fackler Professorship. At the time, the gifts from the initial 763 donors marked the largest such pooled gift fund in the school’s history. “Every one of his students seemed to have a special story that they like to tell about him,” says Hazel Fackler. “Every single one of his students was special to him.” His students were not the only fans of Bud Fackler, whose legendary generosity extended to all in his sphere and helped bolster the fledgling Executive MBA industry. At the University of Chicago, which initiated the first EMBA Program in 1943, Bud Fackler embodied openness and a willingness to share. Indeed many administrators and faculty visited the University of Chicago to talk with Fackler and observe the Chicago model before they put their program in place. Bud Fackler’s generosity and spirit was carried forward in the organization that he helped found, the EMBA Council. The council, in turn, honored him and his efforts by establishing the Bud Fackler Service Award, which recognizes contributions to the EMBA Council and to EMBA Programs worldwide, including efforts to help other programs, to share best practices, and to raise the quality of EMBA Programs. Bud Fackler was the first recipient of the award in 1987.
The most recent winner: Matthew Gibb

On the long bus rides between school and his home in rural Canada, Matthew Gibb liked to read – a pastime that would help shape his desire to see more of the world and nurture his love of learning. 

Gibb would turn his passion for education and travel into a career that ultimately led him to EMBA Programs and later to international relations for higher education. Along the way, he found EMBAC, where he would volunteer his time and talents to support EMBAC and EMBA Programs worldwide. 

In October, he received the 2022 Bud Fackler Service Award from EMBAC acknowledging his work to advance the EMBA industry and EMBAC as the voice of the industry while representing two French business schools, first HEC Paris and now ESSEC Business School. 

The Bud Fackler Service Award recognizes contributions to EMBAC and to EMBA Programs worldwide, including efforts to help other programs, to share best practices, and to raise the quality of EMBA Programs. The council named the award after Bud Fackler, the late director of the EMBA Program at the University of Chicago and one of the council’s founders. 

“Receiving the Bud Fackler Award is such an unexpected honor,” says Gibb. “To be recognized by the global EMBA community means so much to me both professionally and personally. Global education is very important to me, and to be recognized alongside previous year’s recipients for contributions to global business education is humbling. I can only hope that this award inspires the next generation of higher-ed professionals to become involved in EMBAC.” 

Currently Director of International Relations at ESSEC Business School, Gibb was elected to the EMBAC Board of Trustees in 2017, representing the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region. He continues to serve on the Membership Committee and was EMBAC treasurer in 2021. He also served on the conference planning committees for the 2016 EMBAC Conference in New Orleans and 2018 EMBAC Conference in Madrid, as well as organizing a regional meeting in 2013. Ten years later, ESSEC will host the European Regional Meeting in 2023. 

“Matthew has been instrumental in EMBAC’s efforts to promote the professional development of its members and to understand the industry,” says Michael Desiderio, EMBAC executive director. “He was a board member when the pandemic hit and helped EMBAC identify and respond to member needs during a time of incredible change. He showed great commitment to his colleagues and to innovations that help programs enhance the leadership capabilities of their students.”

Gibb received his bachelor’s degree in political science from McGill University in Canada, before completing postgraduate studies including a Ph.D. in geography from Rhodes University in South Africa. He began his career in higher education when he accepted a position at HEC Paris in 2010, and in 2013, he assumed responsibility for the school’s EMBA Programs in France, Qatar, and China. 

Gibb attended his first EMBAC Conference in Houston Texas in 2013, and he immediately wanted to become involved. 

“I really fell in love with this professional association,” he says. “I remember doing the EMBA Toolkit with some great people, and they were all willing to share.” 

With a belief in the value of the EMBA experience, Gibb pursued and completed his own EMBA while working full time before moving into a new role overseeing executive education partnership programs and offshoring academic programs through the school's international offices. 

“In their mid-30s or 40s, EMBA students make that decision to return to school and invest in self-improvement. They have gained much international experience, and an EMBA is the time for them to reflect on this experience and share it with like-minded individuals. Those qualities link so well with my passion for learning and sharing.” 

In 2022, he joined ESSEC Business School where he leads international partnership strategy across academic programs for another of France’s leading business schools. “Now I can use the professional networks and international friendships developed after many years of being involved in EMBAC to create valuable global experiences for students of all ages at ESSEC – not just for EMBA participants.” 

Creating opportunities where students can expand their global awareness, and where they are able to satisfy their cross-cultural curiosity is important to Gibb, and through EMBAC he fully appreciates being able to create the connections to make them possible. 

International community-building and best practices sharing remain motivations for Gibb’s continued involvement in EMBAC. “You want to remain part of an organization like EMBAC, where you can easily build relationships that help you professionally and friendships that mean much to you personally.”


The council announces the Bud Fackler Award winner at its annual conference. The list of past winners includes the following outstanding leaders.

 / Bud Fackler, University of Chicago

1988 / Herbert (Pete) Lyons, University of Houston

1989 / Tom Ference, Columbia University

 / Ernie Scalberg, University of California at Los Angeles

/ Chuck Hickman, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International

 / Ed Wilson, Northwestern University

/ Susan Bunker, University of Colorado

 / Kathryn Carlson, University of Minnesota
Dave Ewert, Georgia State University

 / Norm Berman, New York University

 / George Abraham, University of New Hampshire

/ Martin Rapisarda, Vanderbilt University
Erica Kantor, Northwestern University

/ Penny Oslund, University of North Carolina
Connie Rieben, University of Wisconsin–Madison

 / Dave Poole, Pepperdine University and Chapman University

 / Marci Armstrong, Southern Methodist University

 / Graduate Management Admission Council®

/ Cathy Molony, University of Pennsylvania

/ Michael Saewitz, Campus Text

/ Maury Kalnitz, first Executive MBA Council managing director

/ George Bobinski, Binghamton University/SUNY

/ Anne Herbert, Helsinki School of Economics

2010 / John Fraser, University of Iowa
Patty Keegan, University of Chicago

/ Maria-Eugenia Marin, IE Business School

 / Beatrix Dart, University of Toronto

 / Brad Vierig, University of Utah

 / Gonzalo Freixes, UCLA

 / Louise Kapastka, University of Washington

 / Barbara Millar, University of Virginia

 / Nicole Tee, Nanyang Technological University

 / Karin Wiström, Stockholm School of Economics

 / Bernadette (Bernie) Birt, University of Pennsylvania

 / Elmer Almachar, Northwestern University

 / Sylvia Haas, UC Irvine

 / Matthew Gibb, ESSEC Business School

Voice of winners

Bud Fackler winners share their perspectives on EMBAC

Gonzalo Freixes, UCLA
Barbara Millar, University of Virginia
Louise Kapastka, University of Washington
Nicole Tee, Nanyang Technological University
Karin Wiström, Stockholm School of Economics
Bernadette (Bernie) Birt, University of Pennsylvania
Elmer Almachar, Northwestern University
Sylvia Haas, UC Irvine
Matthew Gibb, ESSEC Business School

Receiving the award also made me feel very proud to be part of a group that creates and sustains a strong collegial culture, much like our students experience in our programs…I remain proud to have been part of an organization whose primary goal was and continues to be creating value for its members.

1996 KATHRYN CARLSON University of Minnesota
Customer Testimonails

In 2004, and still today, it meant everything to be the only organization to have been honored with the Fackler Service Award. It was an acknowledgement from an organization we greatly respect – the EMBA Council – that we were succeeding at staying true to the purpose given to us by schools when they created GMAC in 1953.

2004 GRADUATE MANAGEMENT ADMISSION COUNCIL® Sabrina White, Vice President, Americas
Customer Testimonails

It was a humbling honor to be recognized by peers, and motivating too, as affirmation usually is. I think recognizing a member of a European school really helped other member schools from around the school see their part in the council. Now I am so proud of the council when I see the long list of members from all around the world, and so many different nationalities represented on the board.

2009 ANNE HERBERT Helsinki School of Economics
Customer Testimonails

I wanted to give back to the council as much as I could. I think that is the beauty of the council—when people from 300-plus programs come together and contribute their ideas to help each other learn and grows.

2013 BRAD VIERIG University of Utah