The University of Mississippi’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, launched over the summer, has a mission to inspire students to create new businesses and enhance the state’s economy. As a way to carry out that mission, the CIE recognized eight ambassadors recently at the first CIE Ambassadors Dinner.
“The CIE Ambassadors is a wonderful idea to engage those alumni and friends who have already shown an interest in engaging with our students and faculty to further entrepreneurship and innovation education,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the School of Business Administration. “The ambassadors will be instrumental in providing advice and support for the program and enabling students to realize their potential in starting a business or innovating in an existing business.”
Announced Oct. 2, this year’s ambassadors are Mary Susan Clinton, Jeff Conley, Gus Ezcurra, Joyce Freeland, Bill Fry, Johnny Maloney, Owens Alexander and Bill Stubblefield.
“We are pleased that our ambassadors are excited about the opportunity to help us further this educational experience for our students,” Cyree said. “I look forward to watching the success of the program increase and add value to our students.”
The ambassadors all bring a passion for entrepreneurship and Ole Miss, said Clay Dibrell, CIE executive director.
“We are grateful that each ambassador brings multiple resources to the CIE and to our students,” Dibrell said. “They want to see entrepreneurship flourish at Ole Miss, in Mississippi and the nation.”
The talent range of the ambassadors is broad, matching the needs of student entrepreneurs, he said.
For example, Clinton is an Ole Miss business school alumnus and successful entrepreneur who was chosen because she is a role model and inspiration for aspiring female student entrepreneurs. Maloney, of Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City, has an understanding of family business and a natural storytelling ability, which Dibrell said makes him a great source of information for students who may one day be working in family businesses.
“In addition to spreading the story about entrepreneurship at Ole Miss, the CIE ambassadors connect opportunities with our students, mentor our students, speak to our classes, judge our competitions and link us with other resources to aid in the development of the CIE,” he said.