By Ashley Ohriner
The Hankamer School of Business received $3 million this June in two donations, further advancing the President’s Scholarship Initiative.
A $2 million anonymous gift and a $1 million gift given by the estate of the recently deceased Baylor alumna Sadie Jo Black and the testamentary trust of her brother, the late Dial “Dub” Black, will be distributed to business students in scholarships and endowments.
While 90 percent of undergraduates receive financial aid, endowment gifts are essential to Baylor students.
“We are a little over $32 million in our $100 million campaign,” Baylor president Ken Starr said. “You can have an impact by just contributing to the endowed fund that already exists.”
The business school will use the $2 million to fund the Baylor Entrepreneurship Innovation Challenge, a national business plan writing competition aimed at young, promising entrepreneurs.
The program is not scheduled to begin until next spring. The primary challenge will be increasing awareness among students.
“I hadn’t heard of any programs like that in the business school before,” Waco sophomore Baylor Business Fellow Brian Pennington said. “If I knew of any good entrepreneur programs I would definitely join.”
The undergraduate program, ranked one of the best 25 entrepreneurship programs by Fortune Small Business, can benefit from the business plan competition as similar programs are becoming tools to determine a program’s strength and rank.
“It’s about creating better educational experiences for students,” Dr. Kendall Artz, chair and director of Baylor’s entrepreneurship studies program, said. “Without gifts like those, it is much more difficult to do this.”
Starr said he recognizes the value in developing the Baylor Entrepreneurship Innovation Challenge.
“The donor’s generosity and foresight to endow a business plan competition will ensure that Baylor entrepreneurship maintains prominence among national entrepreneurship programs and empowers students with a competitive advantage in our evolving global society,” he said in a June press release.
The funding of programs such as the Baylor Entrepreneurship Innovation Challenge also fosters student exposure to real-world projects.
“The program combines practical experience with learning theory,” Artz said. “It also allows mentoring support to the more promising ideas.”
The $2 million gift will also benefit the Baylor Angel Network, a system of investors operating through the Hankamer School of Business, which gives early stage capital to entrepreneurs with developed business plans.
Kevin Castello, executive director of the network, said he believes the gift will foster high-quality business plans submissions, giving Baylor students further opportunity to have their ventures funded.
“Ultimately this will create the opportunity to increase the ability to expand business plan techniques,” Castello said. “It is certainly one of the factors involved in ranking scores.”
The $1 million gift has been divided two ways. A portion will be allocated to furthering the Dial “Dub” Black Jr. endowed scholarship fund in business, which provides a full scholarship to one outstanding business senior and additional aid to one junior each year. The remaining portion will help create the Hankamer School of Business senior recognition banquet, an annual event honoring outstanding senior business scholarship recipients.
“It gives me something to work toward,” Pennington said. “The gifts help the business students directly. That’s what makes Baylor different.”