On December 5, 2016, Shepherd University and the Shepherd University Foundation announced that they have exceeded their initial fundraising goal of $600,000 to fund a School of Business at the university. Led by alumnus and Foundation representative Ray Alvarez, the Business 2020 initiative is a public-private partnership that brings together alumni, business leaders, and community friends in a successful fundraising campaign to revitalize Shepherd’s business program.
“This is an extraordinary example of the commitment of our business community partnering with Shepherd to revitalize an important program and provide significant new opportunities for students,” said Shepherd University President Mary J.C. Hendrix.
Alumnus and Shepherd University Foundation president Mike Smith ‘89 set the Business 2020 initiative in motion with a challenge gift that pledged to match additional gifts and pledges up to $250,000 over the next five years. Smith’s challenge gift is the first at this level for Shepherd.
“Mike Smith’s generous matching gift really provided the momentum for this campaign,” said Alvarez. In making this gift, Mike expressed his hope that it would “inspire others to support their choices of studies at Shepherd University to help continue to strengthen this great school we love.”
Among the many other alumni, friends, and organizations that helped make the School of Business a reality is the Delta Sigma Pi, Epsilon Kappa Alumni Association, representing Shepherd University’s co-ed professional business fraternity. A chapter donation was made toward the Business 2020 initiative in addition to a significant number of gifts from the Delta Sigma Pi alumni.
The money raised during the initial fundraising phase will provide funding over the next five years to support a dean and additional faculty to strengthen the School of Business and attract new students. Dr. William Benjamin “Ben” Martz, chair of the Department of Business Administration, will lead the strategic planning to strengthen the program.
“The community and volunteer involvement in this initiative has been superior,” Martz said. “The fact that we have people who are willing to donate their time, money, and expertise is what will make the School of Business distinctive.”
In the next year Martz will set up an advisory board and create a strategic plan for the business school. The strategic plan will continue to incorporate a high level of volunteer engagement as Martz works with business and community leaders to develop curriculum for the program. Martz will become dean of the School of Business in 2017.
Every gift made to support the Business 2020 initiative going forward will make a significant impact as it serves to strengthen the School of Business. Community members interested in contributing to the Business 2020 fund may contact Monica Lingenfelter, executive vice president of the Shepherd University Foundation, at 304-876-5397 or via email at [email protected].