A family whose UNC alumni extend back five generations has made an $18 million gift to the University to more than double the size of Carolina’s nationally recognized undergraduate entrepreneurship program.
The gift commitment from the Shuford family of Hickory is the largest single one-time gift by a living individual or family to the College of Arts & Sciences. It will help meet the demand of students who want to enroll in entrepreneurship courses or the minor in entrepreneurship through the addition of faculty. It also will support doubling the number of student internships at entrepreneurial firms worldwide and will encourage problem-based learning throughout the college and University.
The minor in entrepreneurship will be named the Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship in the family’s honor.
The Shuford gift will create three additional entrepreneurs-in-residence and up to four faculty fellows, and it will create up to 70 student internships and a lecture series on innovation and entrepreneurship. Funds also will endow the program’s executive director and internship director positions. In partnership with the Shuford program, the college will provide support for at least three additional full-time faculty members, an entrepreneur-in-residence and an administrative staff position.
Abel Alexander Shuford Jr. was a member of the class of 1900. His great-grandchildren, siblings Jim Shuford ’88 (’92 MBA) and Stephen Shuford ’97 (MBA), of Charlotte; and Dorothy Shuford Lanier ’93, of Bedford, N.Y., made the gift. Two sons of Luther Snyder Garrison Jr. ’83, a fourth great-grandchild of Abel Shuford, graduated from Carolina, in 2013 and 2015.
Shurtape Technologies was created in 1955 as a division of Shuford Mills, a textile firm established in 1880. With more than 800 employees in North Carolina and manufacturing and distribution facilities in eight countries, the company produces adhesive tapes under various brands.
“I think entrepreneurship is a big part of the future of work,” Jim Shuford said. “The skills of entrepreneurial thinking and problem-solving are a natural fit for the liberal arts.
“An entrepreneurial education will give Carolina undergraduates a leg up — to find a job, start a company, grow a business or be a productive member of any organization or enterprise.”
Created in 2004, Carolina’s minor in entrepreneurship was the signature program of the Carolina Entrepreneurial Initiative, established with a $3.5 million grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The minor has grown to more than 250 students. More than 800 students have graduated from Carolina with a minor in entrepreneurship.
Kevin Guskiewicz, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, said that the Shuford program “is unique to any entrepreneurship program in the country because rather than teaching only business students how to become more entrepreneurial, it also teaches students of music and art, physics, anthropology, exercise and sport science, sociology and many other disciplines how to work collaboratively with an entrepreneurial mindset.”
Students pursuing the minor follow one of nine tracks — artistic, commercial, computer science, design, media, scientific, social, sport or public health — and complete an internship.
In March, The Princeton Review ranked Carolina’s undergraduate entrepreneurship — including entrepreneurial offerings in Kenan-Flagler Business School — 14th in the nation. In 2015, UNC received the Entrepreneurial University Award for excellence in student engagement and curriculum innovation from the Deshpande Foundation.