The Keller File Featured

5:37am EDT February 2, 2004
Born: July 6, 1941

Education: In 1963, Keller earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Princeton University, where he was a National Merit scholar. He received an MBA in 1968 from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, where he was a Graduate School of Business Fellow.

First job: Selling and delivering around his neighborhood corn and tomatoes grown on his grandfather's farm

Career moves: Motorola Communications Division, 1964 to 1967; Bell & Howell Education Group, 1968 to 1973; founded Keller Graduate School of Management (which still exists as the graduate school of DeVry University, but otherwise evolved into DeVry Inc.), 1973 to the present

Boards: Member of the board of trustees of the University of Chicago and Princeton University, and chairman of Princeton's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Leadership Council; director of Nicor Inc.; vice chairman and trustee of the Chicago Zoological Society; trustee of the African Wildlife Foundation.

Lives: Oak Brook

What is the greatest business lesson you've learned?

When something in your business isn't working ... change it.

What is the greatest challenge you've faced, and how did you overcome it?

When Ron Taylor and I started our education business in 1973, our initial offering was a Certificate in Business Administration program. It was designed to give students the most immediately usable half of a strong four-semester MBA program in one semester, on a double time basis. It was only offered on a full-time, total immersion basis. The students who signed up found it very satisfying, but not enough students signed up. After several very small classes, it was clear that our little business would fail unless something changed. We changed several things, one of which was to begin offering the CBA part-time at night as well as full-time during the day. We changed, and happily for us the changes worked, and we began to grow steadily.

Whom do you admire most in business?

Thomas Watson Jr., for the ethics and beliefs he espoused, and for his vision in leading IBM to create the foundations of the Information Age.