Sharing His Love of the Arts
Cummins Inc. Vice President and Chief Information Officer Bruce Carver is responsible for hundreds of millions in annual spending by one of the nation's largest companies, so it's a safe bet he has valuable words of advice about information technology in business.
But when the member of Pamplin College of Business’ Class of '83 returned to speak at his alma mater during the spring 2008 semester, he was not here to talk IT.
He was here to talk jewelry.
Along with being a high-ranking executive at the number 181 firm on the Fortune 500, Carver is a talented jewelry maker and a lifelong lover of the arts.
During his visit, he gave a guest lecture on the creative process to a seniors and juniors in a studio class in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences' Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management.
"The students really enjoyed his talk about the creative process and seeing his jewelry lines," said Assistant Professor Jihyun Kim, who taught the class. "I had the impression that he truly cares about the producers of the materials he uses for jewelry creation, and he tries to bring the essence of diverse traditions into his work."
He was one of many artists and performers to participate in the week-long event, which included an exhibit of his jewelry in the Wallace Hall Gallery, which Kim curates.
Carver also played a major role in ArtsFusion as a philanthropist. ArtsFusion was headlined by the Kandinsky Beat Down, collaboration between classical trained musicians and Hip Hop artists. Their performances were underwritten by the Bruce C. Carver Multicultural Arts Fund, which Carver endowed in 2006 to promote multicultural arts events at the university.
One reason he directed his support for the university in that manner, Carver said, was to provide opportunities for students to learn more about other cultures, which will help prepare them to succeed in an increasingly globalized workplace.
"I'll use Cummins as an example," Carver said, referring to his own company. "For many people who come from a more traditional educational background, Cummins can be a shocking place. We're a multinational company that operates in 62 countries and there's typically representation from someone from each of those 62 countries at our headquarters in southern Indiana every day. We promote multicultural awareness and diversity among our people."
"Some people ... may be very technically competent," Carver continued, "but when it comes to kind of the sensitivity of how something works within a larger world, they just don't get it. And that [sensitivity] is really hard to teach a 35 or a 40-year- old. I think that is something universities should expose students to."
Carver grew up in an artistic household. His father painted and sculpted. Both Carver and his twin brother played the piano. Their parents made it a point to take them to museums and plays.
"I think it kind of gave me a window to a world I didn’t live in," Carver said of the arts.
Today, through the fund he endowed, Caver is helping to provide a similar window for many students here at Virginia Tech.