East Carolina University’s Board of Trustees has approved the building of a School of Entrepreneurship, a new academic unit within ECU’s College of Business.
The request for the new school will now go to the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors for approval.
Stan Eakins, dean of the College of Business, said, “We envision this as a destination program for ECU.”
The Trustees decision came after ECU announced its plans to create the Miller School of Entrepreneurship last July, when ECU received a $5 million gift from alumni and entrepreneur J. Fielding Miller and his wife, Kim Grice Miller.
According to ECU, the Miller School of Entrepreneurship is to be the first school of entrepreneurship in the region and expected to serve as a regional hub for ECU students allowing them to bring “an entrepreneurial mindset to their communities”.
The school will build upon previous services offered by the College of Business to provide a comprehensive culture of “innovation and leadership” across ECU using academic programs, workshops, research, public-private entrepreneurial partnerships and other services.
J. Fielding Miller, a graduate of ECU’s College of Business and the co-founder and CEO of CAPTRUST, will provide funding for this project including startup funding, a professorship in entrepreneurship and a matching pool to challenge other ECU alumni to help support the school.
“Entrepreneurship gave me the opportunity to achieve independence, the ability to profit from hard work and the capacity to give back in a meaningful way,” said Miller. “I hope this gift will encourage other ECU alumni and entrepreneurs to support this effort, and extend the school’s impact even further.”
The Miller School of Entrepreneurship will also play an important role in ECU’s proposed millennial campus, the East Carolina Research and Innovation Campus, ECRIC. ECRIC will be a site which will facilitate engagement between ECU and private companies to commercialize research discoveries and provide advanced training to benefit the region’s high-tech industries.
BOG approved ECU’s request to be a millennial campus in the April 10, 2015 meeting after the UNC Committee on Budget and Finance stated in their assessment on April 9, 2015 that “the proposed East Carolina Research and Innovation Campus (ECRIC) would have a unique and extensive geographic footprint, leveraging current and future real property assets of East Carolina University to enhance economic and community development for both Greenville and the region.”
*Correction: An earlier version of this story had a different name for the College of Business. It has been corrected.