Business

Dr. Leroy Carson, Jr. appointed founding director of Oglethorpe’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center

Oglethorpe University has appointed Dr. Leroy Carson, Jr. as the founding director of an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center within the Q. William Hammack, Jr. School of Business.

Currently in the initial planning stages, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center will serve Oglethorpe students, both business majors and aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as metro Atlanta entrepreneurs.

“While we are still in the nascent stages of its development, the university’s leadership is positioning the Hammack School of Business as a regional, national, and international resource to help develop future generations of entrepreneurs who will impact the global economy,” said Dr. Carson.

Initially, Dr. Carson will focus on finalizing the Center’s strategic planning, developing entrepreneurship courses, expanding a distinguished entrepreneurial speaker series, and launching the Center’s Atlanta Entrepreneurship Lab in spring 2023. The Lab will map Atlanta’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and serve as one of the city’s principal sources for future and current entrepreneurs to identify resources for projects. The overall vision for the Center will be implemented over the next three to five years.

Dr. Carson joined the Hammack School of Business faculty in 2021 as business management senior lecturer, bringing research and entrepreneurial experience as well as nearly 30 years of corporate leadership at companies including InterContinental Hotels Group, Starwood Hotels, and PepsiCo Taco Bell Division. He received a Doctor of Business Administration from the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, an M.B.A from Kennesaw State University, Coles College of Business, and a bachelor’s degree from Johnson and Wales University.

“Ultimately, we are looking to develop a Center that will benefit our students while connecting with metro Atlanta’s thriving entrepreneurship community,” said Dr. Carson.

The Hammack School of Business opened in 2019 after a transformational $50 million gift commitment from alumnus Bill Hammack and his wife, Diane. Their gift was the largest in the university’s history and the largest ever to a liberal arts and sciences university to establish a school of business. Mr. Hammack retired as president and chief executive officer of C. W. Matthews Contracting Company, Inc., Georgia’s largest heavy highway construction company—a career he began while still an Oglethorpe business student.

Led by Dean Stephen Craft, the Hammack School of Business is comprised of more than 330 students, approximately 25% of Oglethorpe’s student population. It emphasizes a distinctive liberal arts-based business education, producing adaptable and creative graduates with a unique set of skills and job readiness. Since it was established, the school has continued to grow, adding new majors and programs, including business analytics, case competitions, and an idea incubator for budding entrepreneurs to compete for business seed money. The Hammack School boasts a 100% career and graduate school placement rate for alumni six months after graduation.

For more information about Oglethorpe’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, contact Dr. Leroy Carson, Jr. at lcarson@oglethorpe.edu.

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