Debbie and Mike Hilliard ’73
Pamela Matthews, dean of Liberal Arts, said, “These days, our graduates must leave Texas A&M University with more than the traditional knowledge and skills a foundational Liberal Arts education provides them. They also must have the ability to apply their knowledge to practical purposes as they enter the workforce. The generosity of Debbie and Mike Hilliard ‘73 will give us the resources to develop programming and provide scholarships to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in our students.”
Interest in entrepreneurship studies has been on the rise in recent years, particularly since the 2008 recession. Studies show that the younger generation, particularly liberal arts students, crave more authority over their careers and want to use their creativity to spark real change in the world.
“Liberal Arts plays a crucial role in entrepreneurship, as the students are trained to identify economic and social issues and come up with creative solutions,” said Pat Thornton, professor in the Department of Sociology and key faculty leader in the initiative for entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship and innovation don’t just provide Liberal Arts students and graduates with career autonomy and a creative outlet; it eliminates dependence on obsolete technologies and jumpstarts the economy, benefitting everyone. And it’s not a moment too soon.
“For the first time in history, more businesses are being killed than are being born in the United States,” Thornton said. “We have to turn that around. The renewal of the economy and society happens through the starting of new businesses; it’s the heart of what builds a community.”
$2 Million Gift Aims To Make CEHD A Leader In Human Performance
Ultimately, the root of entrepreneurship and College of Liberal Arts students is one of the university’s core values: selfless service.
“I’ve taught entrepreneurship studies for 20 years, and I’ve never heard them say ‘I’m doing this for the money.’ I’ve heard, ‘I’m doing this to make a difference,’” Thornton said. “And that’s part of the Aggie spirit. In fact, it’s a short step from the Aggie spirit to the entrepreneurial spirit.”
For more information on how you can impact entrepreneurship and innovation in the College of Liberal Arts, please contact Larry Walker.
This story by Heather Rodriguez originally appeared on the College of Liberal Arts website.