A $2 million gift from two Dallas entrepreneurs will support a new faculty directorship in the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship in SMU’s Cox School of Business.
The Linda A. and Kenneth R. Morris Endowed Directorship honors Jerry F. White, who has served as director since 1988. The endowment provides for the continued professional leadership of the Institute, which promotes the spirit of entrepreneurship through credit and noncredit courses as well as numerous business community outreach programs.
The gift also raises the University to 103 endowed faculty positions and closer to the Second Century Campaign goal of 110.
“Endowments such as this are vital because they allow us to retain individuals of great distinction at the University,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “This farsighted gift provides permanent funding for faculty, and we are proud that it comes from an SMU alumni family.”
The Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship supports everything from business plan competitions and entrepreneurship clubs to participation in the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
“Supporting the spirit of entrepreneurship at SMU’s Cox School bolsters the University’s commitment to student learning both inside and outside the classroom,” said Cox Dean and Tolleson Chair in Business Leadership Al Niemi. “This is at the very heart of what puts Cox graduates head and shoulders above their peers.”
Ken Morris is currently vice president, student systems software, at Workday, Inc., where he has served in a variety of technology- and development-related roles since shortly after the company was founded in 2005. He was the co-founder of PeopleSoft Inc., where he served as its chief technology officer and in various other technology-related roles for 11 years until his retirement in 1998.
Linda Morris spent most of her professional career in recruiting and human resources. She served as a principal at American Management Systems, Inc., heading up a nationwide college recruiting effort, and later was manager of human resources for PeopleSoft Inc. She currently is involved with various philanthropic activities. Together, the couple founded the Morris Foundation, which assists social services organizations, especially those focused on education and animal cruelty prevention and care.
Mr. and Mrs. Morris were among the first of two investors in the SMU Cox MBA Venture Fund, directed by White through the Caruth Institute, which allows MBA students to gain practical knowledge in venture projects. The fund was established with $600,000 in seed capital, made its first investment in 2002, and is now valued at approximately $4 million after 15 student-driven investments.
The gift to fund the new endowed directorship counts toward the $1 billion goal of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, which to date has raised more than $942 million to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience.