Hills receives Lifetime Award

July 8, 2011

When Dr. Gerald Hills received a phone call notifying him that he had won a lifetime achievement award, he thought the caller had the wrong number.

“I first thought they must be recognizing a group of early-stage contributors, rather than a single award. When I realized this was the annual Lifetime Award to be given at the Entrepreneurship Research Conference, I thought they must have made a mistake,” said Hills, Bradley’s Turner Chair of Entrepreneurship.

Hills was honored with the prestigious recognition during the 32nd Annual Babson Entrepreneurship Research Conference, held June 8-10 at Syracuse University.

Nearly 400 scholars from around the world attended the conference. Professor G. Thomas Lumpkin from Syracuse and Professor Andrew “Zach” Zacharakis from Babson College presented Hills with the award, which was given in recognition of his “significant contributions and continuing support for the development and expansion of the academic domain.”

“I felt greatly honored because of the prior recipients, all of whom are clearly pioneers,” Hills said.

In Hills’ case, the award truly honors a lifetime of work.

“Successful entrepreneurs often credit their ‘passion’ as a motivating force. In my case, my passionate belief in entrepreneurship education for students has been intensely focused for four decades,” Hills said.

Hills enjoys the opportunity to influence the educational experience students receive at Bradley, whether they are FCBA majors or pursuing another career field.

“I’ve learned a great deal from outstanding entrepreneurs over the decades, both in my research and one-on-one. My mission is to try to pass on some of that knowledge to Bradley students throughout the campus, in all colleges,” Hills said.

With an impressive professional background, Hills has a wealth of advice to offer students, especially those in entrepreneurship.

“My advice is to network in some depth, over time, with three or four business owners whom you respect. Let them help you identify what you don’t know, then work to fill in the gaps,” Hills said.

“And, of course, study entrepreneurship at Bradley with an action orientation!” Hills added.