M.B. & Edna Zale Foundation Supports Creation of Professorship

SHERMAN, TEXAS—Austin College has received a grant of $140,000 from the M.B. & Edna Zale Foundation of Dallas, Texas, to fund an Executive-in-Residence Professorship at the College.

The Executive-in-Residence Professorship will enhance the College’s offerings in marketing, sales, and retailing. Depending upon the executive’s interests, added courses could potentially address areas such as sales management, retailing, advertising, and related topics. Additionally, the Executive-in-Residence will hold out-of-class programming open to all students that will build interest in a retailing culture on campus and retail career and internship opportunities.

“We are grateful to the M.B. and Edna Zale Foundation for this generous gift to Austin College,” said David Griffith, dean of Social Sciences and professor of business administration. “The College is honored to have the support of the M.B. and Edna Zale Foundation and a pioneering Texas retail family. The Executive-in-Residence Professorship will allow Austin College students to learn retailing, sales, and marketing directly from a leading retail executive. Students completing these courses will acquire both the theoretical and practical skills needed to prepare for the best jobs in marketing and retailing.” Griffith holds the Austin College Jack B. Morris Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies.

The professorship will be modeled after similar programs at larger universities with sizable retailing programs, but uniquely applied to the small liberal arts environment to best serve Austin College students. “The addition of this professorship and expanded courses in business administration align perfectly with the College’s strategic plan,” said Dr. Sheila Amin Gutiérrez de Piñeres, vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the faculty. “The exposure to additional areas of study, plus opportunities for internships and high-impact learning beyond the classroom, will enhance leadership skills and translate into clear career paths and opportunities for our graduates.”

A hiring committee has been put in place, and expanded teaching in the discipline is expected to begin in fall 2016.

The addition of this program will allow Austin College to initiate agreements with universities who have advanced degree programs with an emphasis on retailing, merchandising, and other related disciplines to build a pathway for graduate study.

A comparable program in entrepreneurship was added to the Austin College curriculum in 2005, with establishment of the Jack B. Morris Faculty Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies. Interaction with the local and regional entrepreneurial community has resulted in increasing interest in entrepreneurship among our students, with the course exceeding enrollment limits. Many young entrepreneurs come to campus to serve as role models, and students participate in a business idea pitch competition with practitioner judges. Most recently, Austin College was reported as number 32 of 50 on Forbes’ list of America’s Most Entrepreneurial Colleges.

Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 36 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of 1,250 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 12:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.

Media Contacts:

Lynn Z. Womble, [email protected], 903-813-2891 or 214-450-3317

Vickie S. Kirby, [email protected], 903-813-2414