Making It Matter: Adam R. Karr '93
Karr is the managing director at Orbis Investment Management. He and his wife Tonia have endowed scholarships at Northwestern, Stanford and Harvard, including the Karr Scholars Fund at Northwestern for students interested in teaching at inner-city schools. A Northwestern University trustee, Karr also serves on the board of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, which prepares talented, economically disadvantaged high school students to succeed at highly competitive colleges.
Working toward something that has great purpose is important. If you don't have that, life is unfulfilling. For me, that comes down to two things, and the interaction between them is vital. One is work that is challenging and engaging, and for me that has been the practice of managing money professionally. It's ferociously competitive and I never feel I master it, but it inspires me to get up every day and work at something hard and try to do it well. If you do it well, it gives you a certain means well beyond what you can consume or use, so I use that to help create opportunities for others.
I come from a background that was disadvantaged, and Northwestern created opportunities that changed my life. To help create those opportunities for others, and to coach, mentor and open doors that may not otherwise have been there, is incredibly meaningful. Together, those two activities give me real purpose. It wouldn't be nearly as meaningful for me if I were only focused on one and not the other.