New school targets entrepreneurs


Dr. Eden Blair interacts with entrepreneurship students Kristie Covey ’14 and Rob Kennedy ’13.

ROBERT TURNER ’77 MBA ’78 is chairman and chief investment officer of Turner Investments in Pennsylvania, which manages $12 billion in assets. He and his wife Carolyn endowed the new entrepreneur academic unit in perpetuity. In 2000, the couple endowed the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship at Bradley. Their son ANDREW TURNER ’11 is a Bradley graduate.

More Bradley students with an entrepreneurial bent will get a foundation in that growing field thanks to the newly created Robert and Carolyn Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the first stand-alone school of its type in the country. 

ROBERT TURNER ’77 MBA ’78 and his wife Carolyn endowed the academic unit, which is open to students from all majors. The school will offer both classroom and experiential learning opportunities. 

“Bradley’s collaborative atmosphere helps the University serve as a robust learning environment for students — inspiring creativity across disciplines,” Turner said. “Carolyn and I are delighted to be part of the new school at Bradley that will truly foster entrepreneurship and innovation for generations of students.”

Courses already offered include entrepreneurial creativity, law and the entrepreneur, social entrepreneurship, and technology entrepreneurship. There are 558 students currently enrolled in entrepreneurship courses. Dr. Gerald Hills, the founding academic and executive director of the school, has an office adjacent to the Institute for Principled Leadership in Westlake Hall. He praised the president’s committee on entrepreneurship and innovation that worked to establish the school. 

“The quality of faculty committee members has been outstanding, and they deserve the credit for this initiative,” he said. “Our goal is to create significant learning experiences for a thousand students each year.”

The Turner School plans to offer both an academic minor and a scholars program, following an approval process. Both feature required entrepreneurial courses and electives. The goal is to encourage students to think in new ways and lead others to develop business or social opportunities. 

Experiential learning options could include competing in Project Springboard, creating a new business, or studying entrepreneurial opportunities and issues abroad. 

Bradley was recently ranked 23rd at the undergraduate level for entrepreneurship programs by Entrepreneur magazine and the Princeton Review. 

“Students may be oriented toward music, engineering, or English but also know that entrepreneurial skills will help them to have successful careers, possibly encompassing new ventures,” Hills said. “We live in a world of rapid change and uncertainty. We believe preparing Bradley students for the future demands entrepreneurial and innovation education. It is a mindset and an orientation to cope with the future.” 

The dedication ceremony for the Robert and Carolyn Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation will be held on October 25, in the Westlake atrium at 5 p.m. More information about the Turners’ gift will be featured in the winter issue of Bradley Hilltopics.

– Bob Grimson ’81



Pioneer in entrepreneurship

Dr. Gerald Hills, the Turner Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Foster College of Business, was honored in September for his trailblazing work. 

He is the third recipient of the Karl Vesper Award, which is given by Oklahoma State University, one of the nation’s leading entrepreneurship schools. Hills also received a “Highly Commended Award” for the best research article, “Influence from Entrepreneurship in Marketing Theory,” in 2011 in the Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, published by Emerald Publishing in Ireland. 

Hills has written or edited more than 100 articles and 25 books, was co-founder and president of the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and president of the International Council for Small Business. He also founded and leads the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization, a student association located on 240 campuses. He is founding academic and executive director of the new Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Bradley.