Feature Stories Campus Events

W&L to Offer New Minor in Entrepreneurship The new minor combines a liberal arts education with rigorous business training.

ConnollyLarry_007_051415__-800x533 W&L to Offer New Minor in EntrepreneurshipLarry Connolly ’79

“The entrepreneurship minor is open to all majors, with the exception of business, and pairs a deep exploration of the liberal arts and sciences with rigorous training in the fundamentals of entrepreneurship.”

~ Provost Marc Conner

Washington and Lee University will introduce a new minor in entrepreneurship designed for the non-business major in Fall 2019. Offered by the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship, the minor will include coursework in business training and theory for entrepreneurially minded students across campus, with advising from faculty in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics. The new minor was made possible by a generous gift from Larry Connolly ’79, for whom the Connolly Center is named.

Who is the ideal candidate for the new minor? A cognitive and behavioral science major who imagines starting his own nonprofit chain of counseling centers. A student majoring in biology who dreams of building her own agricultural biotech business. “This is exactly the kind of student we’re talking about,” said Marc Junkunc, associate professor of business administration, one of three faculty members who will be advising students in the new minor. “One who doesn’t feel he or she has the bandwidth to take on an additional major in business to learn all of the fundamentals. The entrepreneurship minor allows students to go deep into their core studies while layering on additional training in entrepreneurship and business.”

The Connolly Center hosts myriad academic, co-curricular and alumni programs in support of entrepreneurship. Jeff Shay, Johnson Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership and director of the Connolly Center, worked with professors Junkunc and Gavin Fox to develop the curriculum.

“We are delighted how the entrepreneurship programming at W&L continues to evolve under Jeff Shay’s leadership,” said Connolly. “This gives students outside the Williams School more options to round out their undergraduate studies.”

Shay joined the W&L faculty in July 2009 as the Johnson Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership, thanks to the generosity of Rupert H. Johnson Jr. ’62.

“This is a fantastic example of the W&L difference,” said Provost Marc Conner. “The entrepreneurship minor is open to all majors, with the exception of business, and pairs a deep exploration of the liberal arts and sciences with rigorous training in the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. The collaboration between our faculty in the Williams School and in the College is what makes this work. It allows our students to combine areas of interest and expertise in ways that no other top liberal arts college can match.

“It’s also a great testimony to the support of our alumni. Larry Connolly’s gift to the entrepreneurship program built upon the foundation provided by Rupert Johnson’s generosity. This is a wonderful illustration of our alumni investing in the future of our students and of the university.”

The announcement of the minor coincides with Connolly’s 40th reunion in May. Connolly has also served as a member of Washington and Lee’s Board of Trustees since 2015.