Inspiring the Entrepreneurial Spirit: A New School for Bradley


ANDREW TURNER ’11, President Joanne Glasser, BOB TURNER ’77 MBA ’78, and Carolyn Turner are photographed in the new wing of Westlake Hall following the dedication of the Robert and Carolyn Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the first of its kind in the nation.

Bradley is unique in its ability to start a school of entrepreneurship and innovation. I think it’s a credit to Bradley — that collaborative nature. Everyone shared the vision that Dr. Gerry Hills put forward; the colleges embraced it, and Provost Glassman implemented it. We are just the catalysts.”

— Robert Turner ’77 MBA ’78

Leading the Way in Entrepreneurship

Bradley’s undergraduate entrepreneurial program has ranked among the top 25 in the nation for the past two years by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine.

Bradley is headquarters for the national Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), with CEO student chapters at 240 universities.

Dr. Gerald Hills, the school’s founding director, received the Karl Vesper Entrepreneurship Pioneer Award in 2012 and the Babson Lifetime Award in 2011.  

Calling it a “milestone event” in the history of Bradley, President Joanne Glasser led the October 25, 2012, dedication of the University’s new Robert and Carolyn Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. 

Under the provost’s direction, the campuswide school is the first of its kind in the nation. It offers an opportunity for students in all disciplines to focus on entrepreneurship and innovation in both classroom and experiential settings. 

“The Turner School will give students the tools and applied experiences they need to be successful entrepreneurs in a very uncertain economy,” Glasser remarked. 

ROBERT TURNER ’77 MBA ’78 praised his wife for adding the idea of innovation to the school’s curriculum, noting that innovation occurs in companies of all sizes and in all occupations. He cited journalists becoming bloggers and nurses starting home health care outlets as examples. 

“We can’t wait to see what happens down the road as students in all majors take this opportunity to study entrepreneurship,” Carolyn Turner said.  

Dr. Gerry Hills, Turner Chair of Entrepreneurship and founding executive and academic director of the new Turner School, acknowledged the entrepreneurial spirit of founder Lydia Moss Bradley. 

“We believe that entrepreneurship is recognizing and pursuing opportunities. Most of all, it’s interdisciplinary. The Turner School expands upon the successful entrepreneurship major already offered by the Foster College of Business Administration,” Hills said. “We envision planting entrepreneurship seeds among one-fifth of our students each year. They will be in the vanguard of job creation and provide a brighter future for our country because of the Turner School.”

Headquartered in the newly renovated Westlake Hall, the school welcomed its first students last semester. 

Entrepreneurship Minor and Scholar Program

Students also benefit from a new five-course minor in entrepreneurship and innovation. Leading objectives include forming a mindset, thinking creatively, recognizing opportunity, and evaluating feasibility. Experiential learning is a cornerstone of the Turner School with a three-course Entrepreneurship Scholar Program providing “hands-on,” real-time opportunities. Activities open to all Bradley students include:

  • Mentors on call
  • Entrepreneurial internships
  • Elevator pitch competition
  • Distinguished entrepreneurship speaker series
  • “Wild idea” creativity sessions
  • Business solutions clinic
  • Entrepreneur-in-residence program

In the planning phase are The Hatchery, an invention lab, and an E-residence hall. 

“The school will facilitate an intellectual home for entrepreneurship, in part with its annual Global Faculty Research Symposium on Marketing and Entrepreneurship,” Hills added. 

A Student’s Perspective

RYAN MILLER ’12 knows about the entrepreneurial spirit. He runs a disc jockey business while taking mechanical engineering classes. Beyond that, he and two partners parlayed a unique idea into a first-place finish in Bradley’s student competition last spring. Their winning project, Liveable Tech, is a prototype waist belt that can be used to charge cell phones and other electronic devices.

A member of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), Miller touted the Turner School as a way to offer students an edge in a global economy. “Students will learn about themselves, as well as academic material, so they can look at the larger picture when entering an international business environment,” he said.

Benefiting Bradley


Visit bradley.edu/turnerschool to read more about the school and to watch a dedication video and a tribute video.

Visit bradley.edu/turnerschool/ht2012fall to learn more about the new school.

Bob and Carolyn Turner are longtime supporters of the University. The couple previously established the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship and the Turner Chair of Entrepreneurship. 

Raised in Yates City about 25 miles from Peoria, Turner started a career in banking and insurance before deciding to take on the role of entrepreneur. Leading by example and focusing on both employees and clients, he and his brother MARK TURNER ’80 built a major investment firm, Turner Investments. The Turner team manages nearly $12 billion in assets.

Bob Turner is a member of the Bradley Board of Trustees and was inducted into the Centurion Society in 2011. The couple received the President’s Award in 2010 recognizing the example they set through their continued relationship and involvement with Bradley. 

“With our son, Andrew, at Bradley, we have watched the campus transform into a dynamic learning environment with state-of-the-art facilities,” Turner said. “Andrew has matured into a confident professional because of the meaningful teacher interaction that challenged him academically and helped him decide on his choice of career. His Bradley experience, like mine, will serve him well.”

Dr. Fred Fry, professor emeritus of business administration, noted, “Having a school of entrepreneurship is an immeasurable asset to the University and will put us on the map in academic circles around the country. This can only be done with generous benefactors such as the Turners.”

Meet the President’s Committee

A faculty committee representing all of Bradley University’s colleges was instrumental in developing the concept and programming model for the new Robert and Carolyn Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. They dedicated two years to developing a program, examining options, and sharing their ideas with colleagues across the University. Their collaborative vision will benefit students majoring in all disciplines for generations to come. Members are listed by row, front and then back:

Dr. Kara Wolfe

Director, Hospitality Leadership Program

Dr. Craig Cady

Associate Professor, Department of Biology

Dr. Gerald E. Hills

Chair, President’s Committee on Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Executive and Academic Director, Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Turner Chair in Entrepreneurship

Dr. Eden S. Blair

Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, Department of Business Management and Administration

Dr. Edward Lee Lamoureux

Professor, Department of Communication and Department of Interactive Media

Dr. Bob Podlasek

Assistant Dean, Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology

Dr. Nina Collins

C.C. Wheeler Professor Emerita, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

Dr. Robert Prescott

Chair, Department of English 

Mr. Ken Klotz, J.D.

Managing Director, Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Dr. John C. Engdahl

Donald V. Fites Chair, Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology

Dr. Molly Drew Cluskey ’77

Assistant Dean, College of Education and Health Sciences

Dr. Kendra Brandes

Associate Professor, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences

– Bob Grimson ’81