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Search! Cornwall no longer leads Belmont University entrepreneur center
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Jeff Cornwall, Ph.D.

JEFF CORNWALL, the bootstrap-entrepreneurship evangelist and mentor who has for years led Belmont University's Center for Entrepreneurship, has stepped-down from that post, College of Business Administration Dean Patrick Raines, Ph.D., confirmed late this afternoon.

Potential candidates to succeed Cornwall, for whom the post was a part-time complement to his academic and publishing duties, have been consulted preliminarily within and beyond Belmont walls, but no appointment is imminent, said Raines.

Reached today during a vacation break, Cornwall said he did not know the status of deliberations regarding his successor and told VNC, "I am excited to be focusing on my teaching, writing and grandchildren!" Previous Cornwall coverage is here.

He added that he will "continue to be active and support the educational mission of the Center, the College of Business and the University as the Massey Chair and Professor of Entrepreneurship," adding at another point that he loves "working with my students and alumni, and [looks] forward to many more years of the same!!"

Patrick Raines

Raines said he reluctantly honored Cornwall's request to step aside, while remaining associated with the center as faculty. He noted that the Center's program coordinator, Lisa Davis, is doing a good job dealing with administrative functions, in the wake of Cornwall's exit.

Finding a successor is complicated, the dean noted, by the fact that the directorship has, heretofore, carried only a modest stipend for compensation. Initial conversations were held with other Belmont faculty, and the informal search to identify someone to take the leadership role has now been broadened, he noted.

Prominent entrepreneurs are among those who have thus far been scouted, said Raines, who noted that, given that the post is not a standard academic slot, the vacancy did not immediately trigger formation of a formal search committee.

Even the most well-intentioned entrepreneur who might like to shoulder leadership for the center might hesitate to take the job, given the compensation issue, said Raines.

Raines said he believes that several Belmont entrepreneurial programs and initiatives have been instrumental in lifting various national rankings accorded the university. The College of Business's entrepreneurship degree program now has 200 students, he said; and, the Hatchery program, which helps incubate student-led ventures, has been extremely popular.

Though those programs are separate from the entrepreneur center long led by Cornwall, the synergies among the units have contributed to Belmont's standing among entrepreneurially minded students and faculty, he said. For more on Cornwall's academic career and earlier entrepreneurial experience in the healthcare services sector, visit his personal site.

In the course of searching for a successor, Raines said he must also consider the model for the program, itself, and how it complements services from such groups as the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, which will hold its formal opening, tomorrow (20 June).

Among other distinctions, Cornwall served a term as president of the U.S. Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE), and earlier this year he was tapped by that group as Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year. The central office of USASBE is on the Belmont campus, according to its website.

This story will be updated, as warranted. VNC

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Tags: Belmont University, education, entrepreneurship, hatchery, Jeff Cornwall, Lisa Davis, Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Patrick Raines, postsecondary, small business, USASBE

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