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Endowed Scholarship Expands Entrepreneurship for Oregon Students

With a gift of $1 million, Board of Trustees member Brent Hutchings BA ’84 and his wife, Chrys, are establishing the Entrepreneurship Scholars program at the John E. and Susan S. Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership.

The new endowed scholarship fund is expanding opportunities for Oregon students to study entrepreneurship as part of their liberal arts experience at Lewis & Clark. The Hutchings’ gift is also contributing to the endowed fund that sustains the center’s operations.

“We created this scholarship specifically for Oregon students because we believe in the power of entrepreneurship to impact the communities in which they live,” said Brent. “We especially want to encourage students in rural Oregon to study entrepreneurship and the liberal arts at Lewis & Clark, so they can take the skills they’ve acquired and help propel their rural economies forward.”

Brent is CEO of North River Boats, a manufacturer of recreational, commercial, and government boats in the southern Oregon city of Roseburg. In 2017, he and Chrys transferred a third of their company ownership to employees through the creation of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). They intend to make successive grants until the company is fully employee owned at no cost to the employees.

Any student who attends high school in Oregon, or is an Oregon resident attending high school elsewhere, and is passionate about entrepreneurship is encouraged to apply to be an Entrepreneurship Scholar. Oregon residents who wish to transfer from their four-year or community college are also encouraged to apply. Scholarships will be available to selected students who apply to begin school in fall 2020.

“Brent and Chrys’ generous gift reflects their understanding that the Bates Center first and foremost advances the success of all our students and the college as a whole,” said Brian Detweiler-Bedell, professor of psychology and center director. “Their leadership and support adds a new dimension and visibility to our work, and strengthens our outreach to Oregon students in particular.”

We especially want to encourage students in rural Oregon to study entrepreneurship and the liberal arts.” Brent Hutchings BA ’84

The Bates Center leverages the liberal arts to help students become the best version of themselves. One of its programs, Winterim, held every January, is a weeklong deep dive into the nuts and bolts of entrepreneurial problem solving, whether the start-up is a social-change venture or a tech product. Thirty students network with 45 professionals who serve as mentors, speakers, and judges. Winterim 2020, running from January 12 to 17, features Erika Cheung delivering a keynote on ethics in entrepreneurship. Cheung was 23 when she helped uncover massive fraud at the Silicon Valley health care company Theranos.

Said Chrys, “The common thread of all Bates Center experiences is engaging an entrepreneurial mindset to apply the adaptability, critical thinking, and problem solving of the liberal arts in new and ambiguous situations.”

For more information on the scholarship, contact Lewis & Clark’s admissions team at admissions@lclark.edu.

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