The Neeley School of Business recently received a $1.5 million donation to create a new position for the Entrepreneurship Center that would provide consulting to students from any field on campus.
Barry and Antoinette Davis, university alumni, made the donation that will help establish the Davis Family Entrepreneur-in-Residence position.
Barry Davis said the culture, high energy and creativity of the entrepreneur program are what impressed him and his wife the most.
O. Homer Erekson, the John V. Roach dean of the Neeley School of Business, said the new position will allow the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center to collaborate with other schools on campus.
“I think one of the things we’re looking for is to.not only promote entrepreneurship in the Neeley School, but to promote it across the university,” he said.
The possibilities are endless, Erekson said, adding that the key idea for the program is innovation.
“If you think about it, entrepreneurship, at its heart, is about innovation,” Erekson said. “You can find, whether it’s in fine arts or science and engineering, any place on campus.people that are working on innovative ideas. That’s part of the whole entrepreneurship program.”
Brad Hancock, director of the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center, will take on the Davis position, Erekson said.
Hancock will be given more opportunities to lead changes and collaborations in entrepreneurship across campus.
“In this instance we were fortunate to be able to support an expansion of Brad Hancock’s duties in his new role as entrepreneur-in-residence and director of the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center,” Erekson said.
Hancock said the donation will endow the Director of the Entrepreneurship Center so that the position will have more resources at it’s disposal.
He said the addition of the position should help students apply what they have learned in their majors and teach them how to think entrepreneurially in their own businesses.
“It helps tie skills together,” he said.
The position will act as a consultant of sorts. A student in Ranch Management can talk with the Entrepreneurship Center and develop ideas, Hancock said. Those students can learn about possibilities in their field of work or study and make them a reality.
“We’re here to talk to any student on campus and be a resource for them,” Hancock said.
Bill Moncrief, senior associate dean of the Neeley School, said the new position provides more prestige and value to the Entrepreneurship Center.
“The thing that I like about it is that the Entrepreneurship Center has been a very important part of the undergraduate business program,” Moncrief said. “Since the undergraduate business [program] reports to me, I’m always concerned with what can improve the Neeley School’s standings.”
Barry Davis, the chairman, president and CEO of Crosstex Energy Services, has always been interested in the Entrepreneurship Program’s CEO club, Moncrief said. Crosstex Energy was founded in 1996 and is a supplier of natural gas, according to the company’s Web site.
The Davis’ said they hope the donation will ensure the university can continue to have the best leadership for the program by attracting the very best people.
“The foundation of the program is solid,” Barry Davis said. “Brad is the perfect person to lead the program in continuing to become even better.”
Hancock said it was a great honor to hold the newly created position.
“It is such an honor to hold the Davis Family Entrepreneur-in-Residence position because I know the Davis family personally,” Hancock said. “Their insistence on integrity, family and faith are all very important to them.”