A Unique College Business Class
In the fall of 2004, I was becoming increasingly frustrated with our senior business majors, many of whom had seemingly already checked out of college. These were not the same junior business majors who regularly came to class with enthusiasm and anticipation. As the primary faculty member for the senior business strategy class I was ready to try a new approach. Something had to give! I had heard about some colleges requiring business student’s start their own businesses. Frankly this held great appeal because I believe one way to effectively teach students is by integrating real life experiences into the classroom. So I decided to adopt this idea in our business strategy class. I quickly realized I would need to secure institutional funding. I needed venture capital money. My plan was to launch this new class format in the spring of 2005.
In December of 2004, six weeks before the class was scheduled to start one of our senior business majors who was enrolled in the spring class and quite excited about the new format was tragically killed in a terrible car accident caused by an alcohol impaired driver. At the memorial service held on campus the student’s parents requested in lieu of flowers monies go to a newly established memorial scholarship fund for use by the undergraduate business department toward the launching of this new idea. The parents were delighted to see the funds used in this manner. In the five years since, the Patrick Kibler Scholarship Fund has allowed our department to grant venture capital loans to over fifty new businesses created and operated by our senior business majors.
At the end of spring semester each team reports on the success of their business at the Senior Business Presentation ceremony in the Hoover Lecture Hall. Parents, friends, students and faculty attend this event.
One business team several years ago donated their entire net income of over $6,000 to Senai Global a nonprofit organization that builds fresh water wells in Africa. In a small Ethiopian village today there is fresh water well with the name of George Fox University inscribed on the foundation.
This year’s senior capstone business represents a variety of business ventures.