Mary Harris Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship
Dr. Diane Halstead was named as the inaugural holder of the Mary Harris Distinguished Professorship in August 2002.
This Distinguished Professorship was created and named in honor of Mary Harris, the sister of Clarence E. Harris who founded Carriage Industries. Clarence and his wife, Bobbye, were instrumental in the creation of the entrepreneurship programs at UTC’s College of Business through the Harris Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization.
The Harris Foundation had earlier established the Clarence E. Harris Chair of Excellence in Business and Entrepreneurship held by Dr. Rich Becherer, one of only five Chairs of Excellence at the University.
Established in 2002 with a five-year endowment of $500,000, the Mary Harris Distinguished Professorship will provide support and funding for additional research, teaching, and community service in the areas of small business management and entrepreneurship. For example, graduate students in UTC’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship course (BUSA 581) will develop customized consulting solutions for local businesses as a part of their MBA program requirements.
Another supporter of this Distinguished Professorship is local entrepreneur Brenda Lawson, CEO of Lawson and Associates. Ms. Lawson donated significant operating funds to this Professorship in order to “kick start” its entrepreneurship activities. Her strong belief in the entrepreneurial spirit of the College of Business led to her generous contribution.