One of the great privileges of my job is going out and meeting with alumni and business leaders, hearing their stories, and learning from their experiences. Over the last three years, I have met with a numerous people who tell me that the Merrick School is a business school on the rise. We’re working hard to keep up that momentum. Nothing makes me prouder than hearing that our school—and my alma mater—are making meaningful inroads into the business community.
Those inroads start here on campus, and grow exponentially as our students graduate and offer their business and managerial talents to organizations in both the private and public sectors. The generous financial gifts from our donors and dedication of our volunteers are paramount to our success. I want to take this opportunity to thank those good friends, supporters, volunteers and ambassadors for helping the school surpass our Uniquely UB capital campaign fundraising goal of $8 million, having raised almost $8.6 million.
The campaign established new programs and infused current programs in ways that significantly improve the student experience. Among the fundraising accomplishments that I am most proud include the growth in student scholarships, funding of the Merrick Speaker Series, and meaningful investment in our entrepreneurship programs. Here are some details:
Scholarships: Financial support for our students has never been greater. Over 30 percent of the dollars raised in our capital campaign will be used to support students through scholarships, student awards, and the funding of our new Accounting Honors programs. Our donors are committed to keeping education affordable. Their generous support of both newly endowed scholarships and the continuing support of existing scholarships, translate to more students with less debt and more time to focus on their educational pursuits.
Merrick School Speaker Series: The series was initiated in 2009 with the appearance of 2006 Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. We’ve brought to campus a spectrum of speakers including Steve Forbes, Gillian Tett, Russell Simmons, and Jeffrey Sachs to name just a few. Our donors have ensured that students, alumni and the business community will continue to benefit from this popular showcase for business ideas.
Entrepreneurship Programs: The Merrick School has a legacy of serving the region’s small and medium enterprises as they represent the backbone of our economy, both locally and nationally. In 2006, we established the Entrepreneurship Opportunity Center—now renamed the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Its focus today is as it was on day one—to develop tomorrow’s business leaders and innovators. We understand that entrepreneurship is not just about start-ups, but shows itself in a mindset and a method for running a business. The lifecycle of an organization requires entrepreneurial activities at all phases—be it during start-up, generating new business units, or innovating because of changing product-market conditions.
Our Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation allows us to enhance our capabilities in supporting Baltimore's emerging and current business leaders by assessing new opportunities that can create value for themselves and their organizations, and, in turn, broader society. Our successful campaign has expanded our ability to offer conferences, workshops and symposia on topics of interests to new and serial entrepreneurs. The newly established Hatchery serves as a launching point for student entrepreneurs, with business coaching, mentoring and consulting being part of the student entrepreneur experience. In 2013, we’ll launch both the Ratcliffe Fellows in Entrepreneurship program and a business competition to help launch new ventures. Each initiativewill advance and strengthen the School’s leadership in innovative entrepreneurship education.
So once again;
Thank you. Merci. Gracias. Danke. Toda. Do Jeh. Sukria. Arogato.
No matter in what language I express my thanks, it is truly an honor to lead the Merrick School of Business into a new era. On behalf of the faculty, staff and students, I thank you for your continued efforts to growing the legacy of the Merrick School of Business.
With UB Pride,
Darlene Brannigan Smith, Ph.D.
Dean, Merrick School of Business