Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise to Open in New Quinlan Building

The Loyola Phoenix / April 24, 2013

Plans for the new Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise and Responsibility in the Quinlan School of Business are underway, according to John Boatright, Quinlan School of Business professor and founding director for the new center.

The university recently received an anonymous $5 million endowment to found the center, which will focus on a collaboration of mission-driven education to address pressing social needs, according to Boatright.

The center, which will take approximately three years to complete, will focus primarily on students, curriculum and extra-curricular activities, such as student organizations and internships.

While some centers have a designated location for offices, Boatright said the Baumhart Center will be located in the business school.

Eventually, the center will consist of a director with affiliated faculty who teach and do research in the area, he said.

“I’ve committed to doing this job for about 18 months, so I would expect to be the founding director through August of 2014,” Boatright said, explaining that by then the center should have a dedicated faculty member.

“Probably the following year we’ll hire a full-time director,” he said. “Within 30 months we should have a director in place.”

The field of social enterprise looks to use business in an ethical way to better the community.

While the field is a developing one, Loyola will be among top schools in the nation such as Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Duke to incorporate it into the university.

“A social enterprise provides the mission of a non-for-profit, but at the same time provides the challenges of business to be able to achieve tasks in a business-like manner, using the skills that one develops as a business student,” Boatright said.

One extra-curricular activity the center has already implemented is a case competition where students develop ideas for new companies, according to Boatright.

“Within Loyola, I think the main driver will be the students themselves. Because employers at the present time are not clamoring for people trained in social enterprise, it’s more the students themselves who would like to do good work with their education when they graduate. The movement is from the ground up,” Boatright said.

Expanding within the school of business will benefit students of all majors and minors, said Keagan Hynes, 20, a sophomore ad/PR major.

“I’m only a marketing minor, but I really appreciate everything the school of business is offering its students,” Hynes said. “It’s cool that the school is combining two important aspects of the business world, business and social enterprise, and giving us an opportunity to use those skills and hone them so that we have more doors open to us in the future.”

The university plans to promote that mission through the center’s focus on teaching, research and service, according to Boatright.

“First and foremost, we’re looking at teaching courses and curriculum that are still being developed, and we may be looking at certificates, maybe even degree programs and then research,” Boatright said.

“But we also want to be a resource to the community as well as alumni, so that when we turn out students who will go into social enterprise, the university can remain a resource for them so they can come back and share their experiences as well as draw new resources.”

The idea of the Baumhart Center offers a great beginning for current freshmen, said Nicole Wegscheid, 19, freshman, an undecided business major.

“I want to get involved for experience in anything. It would put myself out there,” Wegscheid said of the resources and opportunities that are in the plans for the new center.

At least one course will be devoted to the understanding of social enterprise, however, social enterprise is also about the task of achieving some social mission using traditional business skills so students will need to work it into other courses so that they learn the challenges of something like marketing, not only for a for-profit organization, but also for social enterprise, Boatright said.

“If I could combine my marketing minor and my advertising and public relations major, and utilize the skills of social enterprise, I think that it would only benefit me in the job market later on,” Hynes said.