The Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership recently announced that they will be offering a merit-based scholarship to prospective Lewis & Clark students who are Oregon residents. Prospective students will be able to apply for this scholarship in the fall of 2020. Once fully endowed, this scholarship will amount to about $22,500 per year to be divided across multiple scholarships. The scholarship was created by Chrys Hutchings, associate director of the Bates Center, and her husband Brent Hutchings ’84, a member of the LC Board of Trustees.
Director of the Bates Center Brian Detweiler-Bedell stated that scholarship candidates will be chosen by the faculty and board members of the Bates Center in conjunction with the admissions department.
On the LC website, Brent Hutchings emphasized the importance of fostering entrepreneurs in Oregon.
“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,” Hutchings said.
Chrys Hutchings further discussed the focus on impacting the Oregon community.
“Fewer than 10% of our students are from Oregon, but around half of our students stay in Oregon,” Hutchings said via email. “This means that our alumni network in Oregon is getting stronger and stronger every year.”
Additionally, Chrys described what skills and characteristics the ideal candidate for this scholarship will have.
“We will look not only for enthusiasm, but for ability to navigate and execute,” she said. “We are not looking for the person who took on a project to pad their resume for college. Nor are we necessarily looking for the person who raised or earned the most money. We are looking for problem solvers in the for-profit or non-profit world who can show us motivation, grit, and resilience.”
Detweiler-Bedell also spoke about the newly developing entrepreneurship minor at LC and how the opinions on the entrepreneurship department have changed throughout the years.
“‘But this is a liberal arts school?’ There was this feeling that it would be inappropriate in this environment,” Detweiler-Bedell said.
He agrees that the apprehension was partly justified, but it did not completely align with the mission of adding an entrepreneurship minor at LC.
“We should harness the strengths of the liberal arts and enable students to be change-makers, in a much broader sense,” Detweiler-Bedell said.
Adjunct Instructor at the Bates Center Sara Conte discussed the creative nature of the classes that are a part of the minor.
“The Innovation class is probably more creative than other traditional business classes,” Conte said via email. “We have the flexibility to explore all sorts of models from successful startups like Stitch Fix to social innovations like Universal Base Income.”
Ochuko Akpovbovbo ’21, co-president of the Entrepreneurship Club, explained how she thought the scholarship would change the Bates Center and the Entrepreneurship Club.
“I believe having more students attend the college who are already interested in entrepreneurship will definitely help grow the club,” she said via email. “Not just by adding those individual students, but by fostering a culture of creativity and critical thinking, combined with action — which is what the entrepreneurship club is all about.”
When discussing the future of the Bates Center and the role of entrepreneurship in a liberal arts environment, Detweiler-Bedell argues that the entrepreneurial and liberal arts mindset are more similar than one may initially think.
“These abilities — systems-thinking, creativity & design-thinking and collaboration and leadership — aren’t just the hallmark strengths of our graduates,” Detweiler-Bedell said. “They are the very core of entrepreneurship.”