Miller School of Entrepreneurship names director

Dr. Mike Harris

Dr. Mike Harris has been named director of the Miller School of Entrepreneurship. (Contributed photo)

East Carolina University and the College of Business (COB) have named Dr. Mike Harris the director of the Miller School of Entrepreneurship (MSOE). Harris has served as MSOE’s interim director since January 2017.

“The removal of ‘interim’ recognizes the outstanding work he and the MSOE team have been doing,” said Dean Stan Eakins. “I look forward to working with Mike and making the school a national model for entrepreneurship education.”

Before being named MSOE director, Harris was the chair of the COB’s department of management, and for the past 18 years, he directed the college’s Small Business Institute. In 2017, he was also named a Small Business Institute Fellow.

As director of the MSOE, Harris will be responsible for curriculum and degree offerings, hiring faculty, and invigorating the entrepreneurial spirit across ECU and in eastern North Carolina.

Dr. Lee Grubb, currently the director of the COB’s Leadership Program, will serve as interim management chair.

“We’ve developed a strong team in the Miller School of Entrepreneurship,” said Harris. “I’m very excited to continue working with them, campus partners and the school’s statewide, regional advisory councils to build a destination school of entrepreneurship at ECU.

“It’s critical that we help students find their entrepreneurial passion and then connect them with the mentors and resources necessary to develop successful enterprises.”

J. Fielding Miller

J. Fielding Miller (Contributed photo)

Made possible by a generous commitment from Raleigh-area entrepreneur and COB alumnus J. Fielding Miller and his wife, Kim Grice Miller, the MSOE was established in 2015 and serves as a regional hub that prepares students to take an entrepreneurial mindset to their communities.

With the goal of being a conduit for transformation, the MSOE links the university and the region by developing and delivering entrepreneurship education and co-curricular student engagement.

“I am delighted with the decision to have Mike lead the Miller School of Entrepreneurship,” said Miller. “We did an exhaustive search and found that we had the perfect leader right in front of us. He has the creativity, work ethic and leadership qualities we need to build out a world-class program. The future is bright for future Pirate entrepreneurs with Mike at the helm.”

Transforming Indeed

MSOE’s impact in the region is evident with initiatives and programs that started since its beginning. The inaugural Pirate Entrepreneurship Challenge kicked off in 2017, allowing teams of aspiring entrepreneurs from across campus to compete for $20,000 in prize money. MSOE and COB recently announced the new James W. Chesnutt and David A. Bond professorship that will support an associate or full professor who delivers entrepreneurial skills to students.

Entrepreneurship ChallengeAdditionally, the College received a $2 million commitment in 2017 from Van and Jennifer Isley of Raleigh that will provide a “hub” that houses the MSOE and where business, engineering, technology and art students can have “creative collisions” that produce innovation and entrepreneurship.

In total, the MSOE has mentored and tutored more than 100 students who are trying to turn their ideas into realities.

According to Harris, the MSOE is building a comprehensive program that will include a new undergraduate degree in entrepreneurship to complement COB’s entrepreneurship certificate.

“Along with innovative co-curricular activities such as the Pirate Challenge and I-Corps@ECU, the Miller School of Entrepreneurship will play a pivotal role in creating a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Harris. “I truly believe the Miller School is a game changer on ECU’s campus.”


-by Michael Rudd, University Communications