East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, has announced a $5 million gift from alumni and entrepreneur J. Fielding Miller ('84) and his wife, Kim Grice Miller ('83), to create a school of entrepreneurship.
Described by the university as the first school of entrepreneurship in the region, the Miller School of Entrepreneurship will serve as a hub for East Carolina students preparing to bring an entrepreneurial mindset to their communities. Building on services and activities already offered by the university, including the Office of Innovation and Economic Development, Office of Technology Transfer, the Small Business Institute, and the Small Business Technology and Development Center, the school will promote a culture of innovation and leadership across the ECU campus through academic programs, workshops, research, public-private partnerships, and other activities designed to respond to the needs of small business.
The school also is expected to be a busy focal point of ECU's new millennial campus, which is designed to foster collaboration between the ECU community and private companies, advance the commercialization of research discoveries, and offer advanced training to benefit high-tech industries in the region. In addition, the Millers' gift will support a professorship in entrepreneurship and a matching funding pool designed to challenge other ECU alumni to support their alma mater.
Miller, who graduated with a degree in business marketing, is the co-founder and the CEO of CAPTRUST, a financial and investment advisory firm in Raleigh. He has served on the ECU board of trustees, the ECU Foundation board of directors, and the ECU business advisory council. "Entrepreneurship gave me the opportunity to achieve independence, the ability to profit from hard work, and the capacity to give back in a meaningful way," he said. "I hope this gift will encourage other ECU alumni and entrepreneurs to support this effort and extend the school’s impact even further."