Rutgers Business School Dean Glenn Shafer announced the creation of the $3 million George F. Farris Chair in Entrepreneurship, an endowed faculty position that will enhance the school’s efforts to provide a premier program of study to new generations of entrepreneurs.
Professor George F. Farris and his wife Sukyin Agnes Farris. Professor Farris spent 31 years at Rutgers Business School.
The chair in entrepreneurship was made possible by a $1.5 million endowment from the Celia Lipton Farris and Victor W. Farris Foundation and a matching gift from an anonymous donor. In 2011, the anonymous donor pledged a total of $27 million in an “18 Chair Challenge” during the “Our Rutgers, Our Future” campaign. The pledge – the largest from an individual in the university’s history – offered a 1:1 match, enabling other donors to fund an endowed chair with a gift of $1.5 million. At Rutgers, an endowed chair typically requires a gift of $3 million.
“Taking advantage of this opportunity, Rutgers Business School aims to recruit an outstanding scholar who combines intellectual leadership in the study of entrepreneurship ecosystems with on-the-ground experience in leading high-tech startup communities,” Shafer said.
“I can’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate and perpetuate the legacy of George Farris,” Rutgers University – Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor said. “His own entrepreneurial approach to weaving together theory and practice, the technical and the social, scholarship and teaching, stretching across perceived boundaries, is precisely what we hope the Farris Chair will promulgate for generations to come in our students, our faculty, and those with whom they partner to find resilient solutions to business challenges.”
George F. Farris retired from Rutgers Business School in 2011 where he spent 31 years on the faculty. He previously taught at MIT for nine years and in Europe and Canada. At Rutgers, he was the founding director of the Technology Management Research Center and acting dean of the Graduate School of Management, which later became Rutgers Business School.
Farris was recognized as an expert in the management of technological innovation. His research was prolific and he was invited around the world to lecture on cultivating innovation in the workplace. “Innovation leads to new products and services and creates jobs. It drives the economy in many ways,” Farris said, explaining his passion for the subject. “You’re dealing with smart, creative people. It was always fun to study.”
Professor Farris is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society which has recognized him “for seminal contributions to the understanding of organizations and personnel practices in the furtherance of technological innovation and the management of technology.”
In 2011, Professor Farris became president of the Celia Lipton Farris and Victor W. Farris Foundation, which makes grants in education and research, health and well-being and arts and culture. Victor Farris, the professor’s uncle, was an inventor and entrepreneur in New Jersey, and Celia Farris had a successful music and stage career in England and America. Among Victor Farris’s many inventions are Farris valves, rotary engines and the paper milk carton.
Before her death, Celia Lipton Farris expressed a wish to make a major gift to Rutgers to honor her nephew.
Shafer said the new faculty position will help to attract other talented professors, raise the profile of RBS and foster the type of collaborations that are vital for nurturing innovation.
“I am pleased that we are now very focused on expanding our scholarship and education efforts in entrepreneurship,” Shafer said. “We are poised to take leadership in this area because we stand on the shoulders of George and other pioneers in the study of the management of science, technology and innovation.”
Through The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development, Rutgers Business School has focused on developing a new brand of urban entrepreneur who seeks a socially conscious urban renaissance. It has also placed a growing emphasis on entrepreneurship education, including courses that offer graduate and undergraduates students an opportunity to work with area business owners.
Rutgers Business School administrators expect the professor who fills the George F. Farris Chair in Entrepreneurship will run a newly created Institute for the Study of Entrepreneurship Ecosystems, connect students with innovative business leaders, launch programs to help students take their ideas to market, publish research and attract grant money to Rutgers.
About Rutgers Business School
Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick is an essential part of one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most distinguished institutions of higher learning: Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Rutgers Business School was founded in Newark in 1929.