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Shock the World Campaign
In This Issue

       

New business school facility finds a champion in Marc Rowland ’75


Cooper family
A leader in the energy industry, Rowland shares his good fortune with Wichita State

When you ask Marc Rowland whether he thinks Wichita State University provided him with a good education, he pauses for a second then says with a laugh: “I was able to get my CPA certification, be licensed to practice and graduate all at the same time. Maybe that speaks for itself.”

That was in 1975. The years that followed included one successful venture after another, leading him to a decision recently to recognize his alma mater’s impact by making a generous gift. Rowland has pledged $250,000 to support WSU’s plans to build a new home for the W. Frank Barton School of Business. The new facility is a top priority in the WSU Foundation’s Shock the World Campaign.

“I’ve had a great business career and I owe a lot of that to the education I received,” says Rowland, who founded his own investment firm, IOG Capital LP, in 2014. “I’ve been particularly impressed with the entrepreneurial direction the school is taking, which is a sea change from when I was there.”

Wichita State may have contributed to his career success, but just as important were Rowland’s work ethic, determination and business acumen. Growing up in a family of modest financial means, he put himself through college working the overnight shift as a grocery store stocker.

“I worked 40 to 48 hours a week and carried a full class load,” he says. “I really didn’t have a college life outside of that, but I didn’t have to borrow anything to get through school. It was hard, but it all worked out fine.”

By the time he graduated, Rowland was already working as an accountant for a firm in Wichita. After the owners turned down his request to become a partner, he teamed up with some friends to start his own CPA firm. His extensive work with oil and gas companies led to an opportunity to become chief financial officer for an energy company in Oklahoma City, spending much of his time working in Russia. “It was thrilling and petrifying at the same time,” he says with a laugh.

Then came the Chesapeake Energy years. Founders Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward, with whom he had worked previously, asked him to come on board as chief financial officer.

“We went from having about 35 employees when I started to about 14,000 when I left,” Rowland says. “It grew from a $50 million company to about a $50 billion one.”

His next venture took him to Fort Worth, Texas, to become the CEO of Frac Tech International. After two years, he moved to Dallas and founded IOG Capital LP, which invests in oil and gas completion businesses. He is regarded as an industry expert in energy mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and public securities transactions.

He somehow found time for a personal life, as well. He is married to Elizabeth, a banker whom he describes as “brilliant,” proudly noting that she was one of the first female bank executives for Chemical Bank in Houston. They met in Oklahoma City and have been married 32 years, with four daughters and nine grandchildren.

Rowland occasionally visits his hometown of Haysville, where his mother still lives in the house in which he was raised. He anticipates more visits to Wichita, now that he has agreed to serve on the WSU Foundation’s National Advisory Council. It makes sense that one of his NAC duties will be serving on its investment committee.

He is eager to see Wichita State succeed in its plans to build a new business school facility. “From what I’ve learned, it holds a lot of promise for research and entrepreneurial efforts. I think business students will be very well served.”

For more information

If you’d like to learn more about the campaign to build a new home for the W. Frank Barton School of Business, please contact Joe Swanegan, WSU Foundation senior director of development, at 316-978-3948 or joe.swanegan@wichita.edu. More information also may be found at wichita.edu/shocktheworld.

Joe Swanegan