$18 million donation hopes to create new horizons

The Shuford family wanted to make a difference. With an $18 million donation, the entrepreneurship program will certainly feel that difference. 

On Thursday afternoon, an event celebrating the Shuford’s donation was held in the Student Union’s Great Hall. The event was intended to expand UNC’s entrepreneurship minor. 

According to executive director Bernard Bell, the program has four major initiatives - double the size of the entrepreneurship minor by 2020, realign the curriculum toward a real-world understanding of entrepreneurship, increase strategic partnerships and broaden the student experience through internships, increased diversity and other means. 

“It will allow us to increase our entrepreneur residencies, it’ll allow us to add some academic fellows so that we will have more teachers, it’ll allow us to expand our internship program, it’ll allow us to expose our students more with an away program in Silicon Valley, London, New York City and Shanghai," Bell said.

The grant money will go to eager students like McNair Mitchener, who expressed eagerness over the diversity of students that would be brought into the program. Mitchener said the entrepreneurship minor has been one of his defining experiences at Carolina and it has helped him grow as a person.

“I was not really ever somebody to run towards uncertainty, and having the ability to go into these classes and be pushed to learn new things and try new things that are not typical in a college class, has been really important to me,” Mitchener said. 

Mitchener’s words echo the sentiment shared by Jim Shuford, CEO of Shurtape Technologies, who said that he wanted his family’s donation to help expand students’ horizons. 

“In this program we’re doing all we can do to extend the value and durability of what’s a great Carolina liberal arts education,” Shuford said. “Trying to provide some real world skills and real world connections and real world experiences such that when these fine students leave here, they hit the ground running like they’re going out to do something special.”


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