Bates Center to Gain Endowed Professorship

The Randall Trust has awarded a $1.5 million gift to L&C’s Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership.

The Robert D. and Marcia H. Randall Charitable Trust has awarded $1.5 million to Lewis & Clark to fund an endowed professorship at the John E. and Susan S. Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership.

The college will match the trust’s award with an additional $1.5 million generated from the sale of the college’s investment in a start-up firm that was itself an example of the entrepreneurial promise and spirit of Lewis & Clark students. “We have been impressed by the people connected to the Bates Center and their commitment to supporting students in applying a liberal arts education to address some of the challenges facing our community and society at large,” commented Marcia Randall.

The Randall Charitable Trust was established in 2001 by Robert and Marcia Randall to “improve and enrich the lives of people in the Pacific Northwest by supporting organizations that provide opportunity to the underprivileged, promoting personal responsibility and initiative through values-based programs focused on improving education, and social well-being with challenging, stimulating instruction.”

“With the exponential impact of AI, computerization, and automation, what remains is what liberal arts does best: the ability to analyze deeply, the ability to collaborate with and manage people, and the ability to tell a story,” said Bates Center Director Chrys Hutchings. “The Bates Center leverages students’ valuable liberal arts training by providing the pillars of mindset, skill sets, experiences, and networking that will prepare and launch our students for the future of work, venture, and adventure.”

Originally offered as a certificate program, the Bates Center began offering a minor in entrepreneurial leadership and innovation in 2020 and quickly grew to be the most popular minor at Lewis & Clark. Dozens of Portland organizations engage with Bates Center classes and programming yearly. Coursework is open to all students, regardless of major, and the center also offers workshops, mentorships, a campus-wide annual venture competition, and a seed grant fund to launch entrepreneurial endeavors.

The new Robert D. and Marcia H. Randall Endowed Professor of Entrepreneurial Leadership and Innovation is expected to be hired by fall 2024, following a competitive search process during the 2023–24 academic year. Read more for information about the growth and success of the Bates Center.