Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management announced the creation of the Kevin and Debra Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. The new center is the result of a merger between the Rollins Center for eBusiness and the BYU Center for Entrepreneurship.
“We saw an increased potential for overlap between the interests and activities of the two centers,” says Gary Cornia, Marriott School dean. “Joining the groups will help us better leverage our resources and continue to focus on the use of technology to drive new enterprises,” he adds. “We had a lot of support from faculty, advisers and contributors to combine the centers.”
The merger, which is effective immediately, comes nine years after the formation of the Rollins Center for eBusiness. Former Dell CEO Kevin Rollins and his wife, Debra, provided the initial funding for BYU’s eBusiness Center in 2000.
Since its creation, the eBusiness Center has sponsored dozens of research projects and field studies, helped build the Information Systems Department and infused the use of technology into classes throughout the school. The center has also hosted a semiannual eBusiness Day and a weekly lecture series featuring technology professionals. It has also sponsored or hosted campuswide student competitions including the Web Business Idea Competition and the Omniture Web Analytics Competition, among others.
“This merger makes strategic sense,” says Stephen Liddle, former director of the eBusiness Center and academic director of the new Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. “Both centers have vibrant and synergistic missions. With our combined resources, we will more efficiently support great technology and entrepreneurship experiences for our students. As we strive to be world-class in all we do, this merger will give us the ability to serve the needs of the broader BYU audience more effectively.”
The BYU Center for Entrepreneurship was established in 1989. It has more than 150 active Founders, contributors and supporters. Successful entrepreneurs teach many classes in venture capital, enterprise formation and entrepreneurship fundamentals. Every semester more than 50 entrepreneurs come to campus to lecture on real-world examples of successful entrepreneurship. The center also sponsors many student activities including the Student Entrepreneur of the Year, Speed Pitch Competition and campuswide Business Plan Competition. About 20 successful entrepreneurs actively mentor hundreds of BYU students annually.
“We are thrilled to be working even more closely with the eBusiness Center faculty and administrators,” says William Price, former managing director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and executive director of the new Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. “There are few things we can do to help entrepreneurial-minded students more than teaching them how to leverage innovation and technology in the design, growth and operation of their businesses. We look forward to serving the entire campus community.”
The combined centers will carry the Rollins name in honor of their founding donation and ongoing support of entrepreneurial and technology activities at the university. Kevin and Debra are both BYU alumni. Kevin earned his MBA from the Marriott School in 1984. He worked for Bain Capital before rising to become chief of the world’s largest computer maker. He is currently a senior adviser with TPG Capital in Texas.
“This new center will focus on how to use technology to benefit people’s lives,” Cornia says. “Technology now pervades every aspect of business. We want students to have mentored-learning experiences to discover new ways to apply technology in the creation and growth of business as well as to discover best practices that will enable companies to perform better.”
BYU’s entrepreneurial program has historically been ranked among the top 25 in the country by both Entrepreneur and Success magazines.
The Marriott School has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.
For this and other Marriott School news releases, visit the online newsroom at marriottschool.byu.edu/news.
Writer: Chad Little