Programs, Professors Cultivate Next-Generation Entrepreneurs

  A thread of entrepreneurship weaves through the history of SMU from the beginning. In asking “What is our duty to all the coming generations of Texans until the end of time? … ,” members of the Commission of Education, Methodist Episcopal Church, South of Texas demonstrated game-changing foresight in 1911. They spotted an opportunity in a growing city and joined forces with like-minded civic leaders to bring the University to life. Fast forward six decades: When the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship opened in August 1970, “we could identify only a handful of universities that even taught a course in entrepreneurship,” says Jerry White, director of the institute in the Cox School of Business. “Today, if you don’t have a substantial entrepreneurship education program, then you won’t have a business school.” The institute was established with the support of W.W. Caruth Jr., son of W.W. Caruth Sr., who donated land to SMU in 1911. “W.W. Caruth Jr. felt that universities were training students to be employees of large organizations, and that’s not what he chose to be,” White says. “He was ahead of the curve in recognizing that business schools needed to address entrepreneurship education.” While White says there’s no hard and fast definition of “entrepreneurship,” he boils it down to “building a business where none existed before and pursuing the opportunity without regard to resources you currently control.” “Innovation is not entrepreneurship,” [...]