Shuford family donates to entrepreneurship program
The Shuford family from Charlotte, North Carolina made an $18 million donation to the College of Arts and Sciences Tuesday to more than double the size of UNC’s undergraduate entrepreneurship program.
The donation is the largest single one-time gift from a living family or individual to the college. At a presentation unveiling the donation on Tuesday afternoon, Chancellor Carol L. Folt said there are goals for the money to be anchored to a $35 million fundraising campaign to further innovation and entrepreneurship at UNC.
“They’re helping us greatly expand the footprint of one of our fastest growing programs and minors in the College of Arts and Sciences,” said Kevin Guskiewicz, dean of UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, at the presentation of the donation.
The donation will help create a program with up to four faculty fellows, three additional entrepreneurs-in-residence, 70 student internship opportunities and a lecture series on innovation and entrepreneurship. The name of the entrepreneurship minor was formally changed to the Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship.
The college will provide additional support for three more full-time faculty members, entrepreneur-in-residence and an administrative staff position. Guskiewicz said UNC Entrepreneur-in-Residence Bernard Bell will serve as the first Shuford Executive Director in the program.
“I’m a big believer in donating large amounts of private money to the University — now, if we could get the legislature to catch up, we could go further,” Hodding Carter, former UNC professor of leadership and public affairs, said.
The Shuford family runs the fifth-generation North Carolina company Shurtape Technologies, LLC of Hickory. The donors — Jim Shuford, CEO of Stm Industries, Stephen Shuford, CEO of Shurtape Technologies and Dorothy Shuford Lanier of Bedford, New York — are siblings and fifth-generation UNC graduates. Their grandfather, Abel Alexander Shuford Jr., graduated from UNC in 1900.
“The graduates of 1900 could not imagine this world, I don’t think. And we can’t imagine the one that 30 years from now the students that are benefiting from this program will be creating,” Folt said at Tuesday’s presentation.
Folt said the program’s expansion would help foster the innovative thinkers of the future by becoming part of the UNC experience as a whole, as most students spend their first two years in the college and more than 75 percent of undergraduates graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences. The expanded entrepreneurship program will also collaborate with over 30 different majors.
“It doubles the size of this program, and as you heard from Kevin, there are a lot of students that are unable to do it that are just thirsty for this opportunity — that is really exciting to us,” Folt said.
Jim Shuford said the donation went to the College of Arts and Sciences rather than the Kenan-Flagler Business School because of the potential for a broader reach, as these entrepreneurial skills can prepare all students for their futures, not just business majors.
“Preparing these people for the future — it just seemed like the logical thing to do,” Shuford said.
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