FSU receives $100M to create the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship

Florida State University announced today the largest gift in its history — $100 million — from Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation to honor the late Jim Moran and create what will be the nation’s largest interdisciplinary, degree-granting school of entrepreneurship.

The Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship will stand alone, offering and greatly expanding the entrepreneurship courses currently taught in the College of Business and making them available to all FSU students.

The announcement followed a meeting of the FSU Board of Trustees, which unanimously approved the name of the new school.

“Gifts of this magnitude have an enormous impact on a university and change the landscape for generations to come,” said Chair Ed Burr. “The Florida State University Board of Trustees is thrilled to approve the naming of this new school, and the entire FSU family is deeply grateful to Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation for their support of entrepreneurial education.”

FSU President John Thrasher called the gift “transformational” and said entrepreneurial education in Florida and across the country will never be the same.

A significant portion of the gift, he said, will continue to fund the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, which has a long, 20-year history of serving entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout Florida. The Jim Moran Institute will remain administratively in the FSU College of Business and continue its extensive outreach mission to help bridge real-world entrepreneurship practice with entrepreneurship education provided through the new school.

“At Florida State, we are focusing hard on graduate success,” Thrasher said. “The Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship and the Jim Moran Institute, in conjunction with Florida State University, will become the focal point for collegiate entrepreneurial education and the lifeline for training and assistance to entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofits. The continuation of Jim Moran’s generosity is an investment in our students, our businesses and our state.”

Jan Moran and the late Jim Moran
Jan Moran and the late Jim Moran

“In 1995, when my husband, Jim Moran, and Dr. Melvin Stith (then dean of the FSU College of Business) established the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, the term ‘entrepreneurship’ was not commonly used,” said Jan Moran.

“Jim believed ‘The future belongs to those who prepare for it,’” she said. “With this gift, we forever secure the legacy of Jim Moran and his passion for supporting entrepreneurism so that current and future generations will have the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. I’m excited about the positive impact that the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship will have on the student entrepreneurs as they embark on their lifelong entrepreneurial journey, creating and growing successful businesses and creating jobs throughout Florida and beyond.

“I am also pleased that the Jim Moran Institute will now be able to continue the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities programs and establish them as an ongoing veteran service component,” Jan said.

Jim Moran’s legacy of giving to Florida State continues with this $100 million gift from Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation, which when added to previous gifts, including $2.5 million from JM Family Enterprises Inc., a company founded by Jim Moran, brings their total donations to Florida State to more than $109 million.

“FSU is proud to partner with The Jim Moran Foundation and Jan Moran to create the largest entrepreneurial school in America,” said Tom Jennings, vice president for Advancement and president of the FSU Foundation. “We are grateful to Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation for their vision, their commitment to quality and their support of entrepreneurship at FSU and beyond. Our students and the thousands of individuals they will influence and serve during their careers will benefit from this incredibly generous gift.”

“Virtually every profession demands a certain level of entrepreneurial thinking, but very few students actually gain entrepreneurial training and experience before they graduate from college,” said Michael D. Hartline, interim dean of the College of Business.

“Florida State is changing that. Because of the vision and generosity of Jim and Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation, Florida State students will have the unique ability to study and practice entrepreneurship from a valuable perspective in the arts, sciences, humanities, education, communication, law, medicine and, of course, business.”

Florida State currently offers an undergraduate major and minor in entrepreneurship, with both housed in the College of Business. The demand for these programs is very strong and growing, Hartline said. Simultaneously, as a part of its Entrepreneurial University Initiative, FSU also has embedded 28 entrepreneurs-in-residence (EIRs) across campus in 12 of its 16 colleges.

“Now, by establishing the new school, the university takes a bold step in ensuring the longevity of entrepreneurship by unifying all such efforts on campus,” Hartline said.

The Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship will reside under Provost Sally McRorie and operate much like a college. The school’s director and other staff members will be housed in a building in downtown Tallahassee, very close to the state capitol, local businesses and statewide associations. The Jim Moran Institute also will relocate to the same building. The prime location will ensure that the Jim Moran name is front-and-center with respect to entrepreneurship around the state. The school is expected to become the go-to resource for government leaders, trade associations, entrepreneurs, nonprofits and small businesses on a national level.

A faculty director, appointed by the provost, will lead the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship. The undergraduate entrepreneurship programs currently housed in the College of Business will be moved to the school, which will award both the Bachelor of Science degree and Bachelor of Arts degree in Entrepreneurship, along with a redesigned, interdisciplinary minor. The School will be organized across five major focal areas that will offer academic majors under the B.S. and B.A. degrees in: Arts and Humanities, STEM, Business, Allied Health, and Applied disciplines such as law, education, criminology, social work and others.

The official launch date of the school is scheduled for Aug. 8, 2018 — which would have been the 100th birthday of Jim Moran. Between now and then, FSU faculty members and the entrepreneurs-in-residence will work to create the interdisciplinary curriculum.

The university anticipates a phased approach to the development of the school leading up to 2018. It is expected that the number of entrepreneurship majors and minors will grow dramatically and that the program will admit several hundred majors by the third year.

Thrasher said FSU looks forward to grand opening day with excitement and gratitude.

“We are ready to build on the legacy of Jim Moran to create a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout the state of Florida, the region and the nation.”