Sons of Forrest Mars Sr. Honor Him with Yale Professorship

Two sons of entrepreneur Forrest Mars, Sr., a 1928 Yale graduate who created M&M’s® and other candy and food brands, will honor his memory by endowing a professorship at Yale for the study of the ethical dimensions of economics, politics and business.

A gift of $2 million from his sons, Forrest E. Mars Jr. and John F. Mars, also graduates of Yale College, will establish and permanently endow the Forrest Mars Sr. Visiting Professorship in Ethics, Politics and Economics at Yale.

The University’s program in ethics, politics and economics (EPE), founded in 1989, allows a carefully selected number of undergraduates to pursue a major field of study combining these disciplines. EPE students explore the technical complexities of economic and statistical analysis while developing the ability to think critically about basic moral and political choices. Courses, an annual symposium and independent study projects focus on constructive responses to such problems as coping with natural and social hazards, allocation of limited social resources or morally sensitive political issues.

The EPE program normally admits no more than forty students each year. Faculty from Yale’s political science, economics and philosophy departments conduct most teaching in the program.

The Mars Professorship will enable as many as four courses per year to be offered by a visiting professor at Yale, who will be an expert chosen annually from the faculties of leading universities worldwide. Also eligible as visiting professors will be practitioners in the business community who have particular interests in the field and are qualified to teach about ethical aspects of business practice.

“John and I decided to establish a lasting tribute to our father’s memory that will also reflect his dedication to Yale,” said Forrest Mars Jr. “After considering a range of possible programs, we settled on the undergraduate major in ethics, politics and economics because of our father’s and our own strong interest in these issues. We think this is a remarkable program. We believe that Yale is eminently qualified to train tomorrow’s leaders in responsibility as well as in the disciplines of economic analysis and management.”

Forrest Mars Sr., a 1928 graduate of Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School, was the architect and chief executive officer of an international candy and food conglomerate that created such products as M&M’s®, Milky Way® and Uncle Ben’s® Rice. He died in July 1999 at the age of 95.

Forrest Mars Jr. graduated from Yale College in 1953, and John Mars graduated from the Yale School of Engineering in 1957. They have been active in the operation of the family business and children of both brothers also attended Yale College in recent years. The family has been supportive of Yale for decades and has also made numerous philanthropic contributions to other causes through a foundation it operates in McLean, Virginia, where the company is based.

Yale President Richard C. Levin expressed gratitude to Forrest and John Mars. “The Mars family’s decision to endow a permanent professorship in ethics, politics and economics makes a fitting memorial to their father’s leadership and concern for values. I am truly grateful for this well-conceived support for one of Yale’s most innovative and promising interdisciplinary programs.”

“Everyone associated with EPE is indebted to the Mars family for this extraordinary gift which will greatly enhance the range of this program,” said Geoffrey Garrett, director of the program. “The Forrest Mars Sr. Visiting Professorship is designed in a flexible way that will allow us to bring a fertile mix of theoreticians and practitioners to Yale. These teachers will share a common interest in helping students understand what they ought to do, and ought not to do, in the complex circumstances of doing business in the real world.”

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