East Carolina University announced plans to create the region’s first school of entrepreneurship through a $5 million grant from J. Fielding Miller, co-founder and CEO of Raleigh-based CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, and his wife Kim Grice Miller.
The new Miller School of Entrepreneurship will be the first school of its kind in the region. Currently, Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University offer entrepreneurship centers and studies, but not separate professional schools.
ECU’s new professional school will be housed within the current school of business. The university hopes to establish the school and begin enrolling students in approximately one year.
The school of entrepreneurship will incorporate academic programs, workshops, research, public and private entrepreneurial partnerships, and other services that respond to the needs of small businesses.
Miller, an ECU alumnus, will provide the funds for this initiative to include startup funding, a professorship in entrepreneurship and a matching incentive to challenge other ECU alumni to support the school.
ECU associate professor Michael Harris, who serves as chair of the Department of Management and director of ECU’s Small Business Institute, said he sees the new school becoming a national model for educating and encouraging entrepreneurs. “We want students to come in and open their minds and say, ‘I want to be a job creator’ instead of someone who works for a corporation,” he said.
According to an ECU statement, the School of Entrepreneurship is expected to be an active part of ECU’s newly proposed millennial campus, a site where the university will collaborate with private companies to commercialize research and offer training benefiting the region’s high-tech industries.