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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

New Class of Entsminger Fellows Will Carry Entrepreneurial Mission

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Two years ago, in conjunction with the launch of the Strome Entrepreneurial Center, Old Dominion alumnus Lee Entsminger made a gift to help grow the entrepreneurial culture at the University.

For the third year, the gift from the local businessman and philanthropist has helped fund the Entsminger Fellows program, an effort to provide training and support to Old Dominion faculty members seeking to instill an entrepreneurial culture in their academic colleges.

Chandra de Silva, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, has announced this year's class of six Entsminger Fellows.

The 2016 class of fellows represents five Old Dominion academic colleges and includes David Metzger, dean of the University's Honors College.

The other Entsminger Fellows include: Kevin Moberly, associate professor of English in the College of Arts & Letters; Christopher Glass, assistant professor of educational foundations and leadership in the Darden College of Education; Jing Zhang, assistant professor of management in the Strome College of Business; Holly Handley, assistant professor of engineering management and systems engineering in the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, and Deborah Gray, assistant professor in the School of Nursing in the College of Health Sciences.

The 2016 Entsminger Fellows will attend the Babson College Price-Babson Symposium for Entrepreneurship Educators in Massachusetts in May, then return to campus on a year-long mission to promote and encourage entrepreneurship at Old Dominion.

"The Entsminger Fellows are an integral part of our offering and experience here in the Strome Entrepreneurial Center," said Nancy Grden, executive director. "Their interdisciplinary approach to teaching entrepreneurship and innovation aligns with our co-curricular programs, and the fellows are instrumental in engaging faculty and staff across the campus in entrepreneurship."

The first cohort of Entsminger Fellows spent the 2013-14 academic year developing an interdisciplinary course for entrepreneurship, being piloted this semester and taught by Charlie Daniels, senior lecturer of engineering management.

This year's cohort of Entsminger Fellows is reaching out to faculty and staff campus-wide with a new webpage, review intellectual property protections, college meetings and a proposed entrepreneurial competition for faculty and staff next fall.

Lee Entsminger was inspired by the quest to create an entrepreneurial culture that encompasses all of the University.

"We expect entrepreneurism to flourish in all of the colleges, so building a network of professors across the university was critical," Entsminger said. "They will share a common understanding and approach to teaching entrepreneurship and will model the behavior of collaboration so critical for entrepreneurial endeavors to be successful."

A 1974 geology graduate, Entsminger has been active in numerous initiatives involving his alma mater, endowing a scholarship in coastal geography, guest lecturing in engineering and, recently, participating in the University's development of an entrepreneurial curriculum.

That initiative was spurred in 2014 through an $11 million gift to the University by alumnus Mark Strome. Strome and his wife, Tammy, sought to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem at Old Dominion through their gift, spanning admitted freshmen to the University faculty.

The Strome Entrepreneurial Center, which opened in the fall of 2014, has provided support and assistance to dozens of companies created by Old Dominion students. The Entsminger Fellows program is an effort to further tie the entrepreneurial efforts of students to the University's world-class faculty.