On April 6, Harding will induct the first students to the 23rd chapter of Sigma Nu Tau Entrepreneurship Honor Society in the atrium of the Mabee building.
With the addition of the Waldron Center in the College of Business Administration (COBA) last fall, the program also shifted to include different concentrations in the management degree, including the entrepreneurship concentration. Assistant professors of business Dr. David Kee and Dr. Ken Olree wanted a way to honor the highest achieving scholars in the new field, so they approached Sigma Nu Tau since they also focused on ethics.
“Entrepreneurship as a major, or even as a field of study, is fairly new in most schools,” Kee said. “They deserve a specific honor.”
The Harding chapter of Sigma Nu Tau is the 23rd chapter worldwide and the first chapter in Arkansas, Dr. Nancy Church, the founder of the entrepreneurial honor society in 2009, will attend the induction ceremony along with President Bruce McLarty, Dean of COBA Allen Frazier and David Waldron, who funded the Waldron Center. The members of Sigma Nu Tau will elect officers and hold meetings, but the primary goal of the honor society is to advocate support for entrepreneurship and honor academic excellence in the field of study, according to Frazier.
“The United States free enterprise system has always placed great value on the ingenuity of the small business,” Frazier said. “But frankly, I think the popularity of TV’s ‘Shark Tank’ actually raised the awareness of a lot of very young people that the startup experience is within the reach of many people with innovative ideas and the determination and discipline to pursue them.”
At least nine students will join Sigma Nu Tau at the induction ceremony, according to Kee. Membership requires completion of all the offered entrepreneurship courses, at least a 3.2 GPA and recommendations from teachers. The honor goes beyond classwork but includes an internship, work with local businesses, development of a business plan and outstanding Christian citizenship.
“Entrepreneurs are either seen as heroes … or they’re seen as people who can’t figure out what else to do,” Kee said. “This is a situation where those students who specialize in this very unique but needed field are getting honored for accomplishing a wide variety of tasks, and I always believe in honoring students — those who work hard, the high achievers, those who will probably end up making a big difference in society.”
Entrepreneurship appeals to many students because companies now want to hire self-starting young people, but some students in the department have already started their own businesses, according to Kee.
“The economic future of (the) United States and the rest of the world depends on the entrepreneurs,” said senior Manuel Barrantes Duarte, one of the inductees into Sigma Nu Tau. “If they succeed, their innovations can even improve our standard of living.”