With $1 million gift, former MIT Sloan dean Glen Urban retires to focus on research

Published: June 11, 2012

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David, stainless steel, 1999, Glen UrbanDavid, stainless steel, 1999, Glen Urban

He will also give more time to sculpture. The son of a steel building agent, Urban has long been comfortable around metal and inclined to art. In addition to metal, he has worked in stone, marble, and wood. Urban’s art is primarily large form, the sort that resides outside.

“Glen is not afraid of metal,” Little laughed. “It’s all over his yard.”

Urban said he prefers abstract work, searching for novel approaches to old problems, not unlike his academic pursuits.

“Marketing science is a lot like art,” Urban said. “You’re trying to find a breakthrough in conceptual space. You’re taking an unstructured problem and trying to structure it.”