David Nazarian College of Business and Economics

Paul Jennings Gift Leads to Creation of Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship

November 21, 2019

In 2014, the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics received a $1 million gift from alumnus Paul Jennings ‘85 (Marketing). This led to the creation of the Paul Jennings Chair in Entrepreneurship and hiring of its inaugural holder, Dr. Joanne Scillitoe, in August 2018.

Scillitoe has held a number of directorial and teaching positions within the business colleges at universities such as the New York Institute of Technology, Michigan Technological University, and Thapar University in Patiala, India. She is a leading researcher on the impact of socio-tech ventures and has interests in technological innovation development and transfer processes, gender and minority issues in entrepreneurship and interdisciplinary research network evolution. Scillitoe was most recently selected as a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award for the 2018-2019 academic year, which allowed her to study socio-tech entrepreneurship and innovation in Madrid, Spain.

“Through the Paul Jennings Chair in Entrepreneurship and the hiring of Dr. Scillitoe, we aim to strengthen the Nazarian College’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and create a centralized institute in which it exists,” said Chandra Subramanian, Dean of CSUN’s Nazarian College.

Scillitoe said she is delighted to join the Nazarian College in its goal towards establishing its entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“It has been a pleasure to join the enthusiastic and engaging entrepreneurship team of faculty, staff and administrators at the Nazarian College,” said Scillitoe. “The gift for the Paul Jennings Chair in Entrepreneurship has given me the extraordinary opportunity to give focused time and energy to strengthen and expand the entrepreneurial ecosystem at CSUN and the Nazarian College that will enhance the entrepreneurial experience and skills development of CSUN students as well as incubate their business ideas to fruition.”   

Scillitoe has gathered the leaders of the Nazarian College’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to collaborate on and initiate the process of making a centralized entrepreneurial hub a reality, including: Tim Tiemann, Managing Director of the CSUN Innovation Incubator; Ryan Holbrook, Entrepreneurship Program Director; Dr. Deone Zell, Department Chair of Management; Dr. Lois Shelton, Management Professor; Dr. Sanjay Jain, Management Professor; Lewis Dvorkin, Entrepreneur in Residence; and Dr. Franck Vigneron, Director of the Wells Fargo Center for Business and Entrepreneurship. In addition, she plans on expanding the college’s entrepreneurship minor to include non-business majors by updating the curriculum and adding more faculty to the program.

The new, centralized hub would eventually become the home for current entrepreneurial programs already housed in and supported by the Nazarian College, including its pitch competitions, Fast Pitch and Bull Ring, which provide students with the opportunity to gain funding for their startups, as well as the CSUN Innovation Incubator and Summer Accelerator, which help students turn business ideas into marketable products and programs.

“Creating a center for entrepreneurship used to be an aspirational goal – something in the far future,” said Subramaniam. “With the generous gift from Paul Jennings, we were able to draw the resources to start the process of making it a reality.”