Tuesday September 21, 2010

Entrepreneurial Elite

The University announced the fifth-straight national top-10 ranking for the entrepreneurship program and a $2.5 million gift to the program.

For the fifth straight year, the University of Dayton is ranked as one of the top-10 undergraduate entrepreneurship programs in the nation.

The program ranks sixth in the 2010 list of best undergraduate entrepreneurial programs released Tuesday, Sept. 21, by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review.

The 2010 ranking came one day after University President Daniel J. Curran announced that Bill and Marilyn Crotty, whose support helped create the program and propel it into national prominence, committed an additional $2.5 million for the L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Entrepreneurship at the University of Dayton (pdf)

Crotty, former chief executive officer of Van Dyne-Crotty Inc., and Marilyn, his wife, gave an initial $1 million gift to create and endow the center in 1998. Both are University alumni; Crotty graduated in 1952, Marilyn in 1953. In all, the Crottys have donated $5.7 million to the School of Business Administration.

"Bill and Marilyn Crotty's support has been essential to the growth and success of our entrepreneurship program," said Curran. "Their vision and commitment have increased the number of opportunities students have to be involved in actual business creation. This support has been crucial to the development of this nationally ranked program and its ongoing excellence."

Since the first classes were offered in 1999, the entrepreneurship program has seen steady growth. This year, 74 sophomores entered the program, bringing the total number of majors to more than 200. It's the fastest growing major in the business school.

According to Matthew Shank, dean of the University's School of Business Administration, the entrepreneurship program emphasizes hands-on, real-world learning opportunities in which students gain experience in conceiving, starting and operating new businesses.

"Starting with the sophomore experience of creating and running a microbusiness, to the teamwork of the business plan competition to the senior capstone project, our students are engaged in real businesses and actively apply their learning in the marketplace," Shank said.

More than 2,000 schools were surveyed in the eighth annual ranking, which picks the nation's top 25 undergraduate and top 25 graduate programs for entrepreneurship. The rankings can be seen at http://www.entrepreneur.com/topcolleges.

It's the highest-ranked undergraduate program among Catholic universities nationwide and among all schools in the Midwest (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois).

Schools were evaluated based on criteria in the areas of teaching entrepreneurship business fundamentals in the classroom; staffing departments with successful entrepreneurs; providing excellence in mentorship; providing experiential or entrepreneurial opportunities outside of the classroom; and other non-traditional, distinguishable aspects of their programs.

The Princeton Review's publisher said his first-hand experience with the University's program led to the development of the national rankings.

"I spend a lot of time on college campuses and look for different trends. When I visited the University of Dayton, so many students, faculty and administrators on campus talked about UD's exceptional entrepreneurship program," said Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher for The Princeton Review. "It inspired The Princeton Review to take a close look at entrepreneurship programs nationally. Our ranking list grew out of that interest and excitement for entrepreneurship I saw in Dayton."

The University offers a wide range of entrepreneurship learning opportunities:

  • Sophomore entrepreneur students receive $5,000 to create and run their own micro-businesses with profits going to charity.
  • Business students run Flyer Enterprises, the nation's fourth-largest student-run business with more than $1.4 million in annual revenue from eight enterprises. Flyer Consulting, a new nonprofit student-run entity, provides consulting services for nonprofits in the Dayton area. See more at http://www.flyerenterprises.com.
  • The annual Business Plan Competition gives students and local entrepreneurs the opportunity to compete for funding and other support for the launch of a new venture. Read more at http://www.udbpc.com.
  • A $1 million donation from Chicago alumnus Ron McDaniel launched "Flyer Angels," one of a handful of undergraduate angel investment groups in the country. Junior and senior entrepreneurship majors are partnering with an angel organization to evaluate new venture business plans and decide whether to invest in them.

For more information, contact Cilla Shindell, executive director of news and communications, at 937-229-3257 or shindell@udayton.edu.