Major Gift Establishes Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

May 05, 2017

Hampden-Sydney College announced today the establishment of the Flemming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, made possible by a $1 million gift from the Flemming Foundation and 1985 alumnus Todd Flemming of Orlando, Florida, a Hampden-Sydney trustee and Chairman of Infrasafe. The Center is named in memory of Mr. Flemming's father, Harry S. Flemming, and will incorporate the programming of the former Center for Entrepreneurship and Political Economy at H-SC.

Flemming Center"Since this College's founding more than 240 years ago, many Hampden-Sydney men have become successful entrepreneurs and business leaders," said Hampden-Sydney President Larry Stimpert. "The Flemming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will offer our students extraordinary opportunities to hone their entrepreneurial skills and harness creativity as they confront real world challenges and develop inventive business concepts. Todd's generosity will strengthen the Hampden-Sydney experience and open a world of possibilities for our students. We are also grateful to Professors Justin Isaacs '95, Tony Carilli, Greg Dempster, Geoff Lea '04, Marc Hight, and Patrick Wilson for their outstanding work with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Political Economy." 

The Flemming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will encourage student and faculty creativity and equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue entrepreneurial ideas. The vision for the Center includes a full-time director, an endowed "entrepreneur-in-residence," and the establishment of a Tiger Venture Fund, which would support student entrepreneurs by enabling them to develop prototypes and explore the commercial viability of their ideas. This vision also includes a "flex office" that will provide a professional base for visiting entrepreneurs who will be readily accessible to students and faculty, offering expertise, encouraging constructive creativity, and providing mentoring and support.  

"My father was an entrepreneur and a visionary, and he taught me so much about success in both business and life," said Flemming. "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to honor his memory. Hampden-Sydney provides a natural foundation for young men by teaching them to communicate well, to challenge their own beliefs, and to live and operate with integrity. These are key needs in the business world. I hope the Center enables the College to build on that foundation and offer students a living laboratory for testing out entrepreneurial ideas. Entrepreneurship is about thinking outside the box, about being innovative and creative. Fostering these disciplines in Hampden-Sydney students is one of my visions for the Center."  

Brown Student CenterThe Flemming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will be housed in the new Brown Student Center at Hampden-Sydney. The Brown Student Center, a state-of-the-art facility nearing completion, is an $11 million project made possible by seven individual gifts of $1 million or more. Beginning in the fall of 2017, the Brown Student Center will be the nexus of campus life at Hampden-Sydney, offering a central location for student services and activities, as well as common spaces for casual interaction and socializing. In addition to the Flemming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Brown Student Center will house the College post office, the Tiger Inn café, lounge and activity areas, student affairs and student government offices, and the Ferguson Career Education Center.  

"Like successful entrepreneurs, Hampden-Sydney men are thoughtful risk takers, balancing uncertainty with creativity, careful exploration, and discipline," President Stimpert added. "The Hampden-Sydney experience itself is a transformative process, and the opportunities available here support and challenge our students on the journey from youth to manhood. It is fitting, then, for our students to have at their fingertips the tools for transforming entrepreneurial visions into reality."  

Hampden-Sydney College's celebrated 40-year-old rhetoric program and rigorous liberal arts curriculum are complemented by many experiential and research opportunities for young men interested in careers in business or finance. Economics and Business is the College's most popular major, and past entrepreneurship contests held at Hampden-Sydney have helped prepare students for careers as entrepreneurs. In addition, the Tiger Fund, an entirely student-managed live equities portfolio, offers select Economics majors the opportunity to gain valuable experience making investment decisions for a live fund.