University of Pittsburgh
July 20, 2003

$1.5 Million Gift Creates Olofson Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies In Pitt's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

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PITTSBURGH—Entrepreneurship—taking risks, amassing capital, shepherding new ideas.

This is the spirit that inspired University of Pittsburgh alumnus Tom Olofson and his wife, Jeanne, to donate $1.5 million through the Tom W. and Jeanne H. Olofson Foundation to establish the Tom W. Olofson Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies in Pitt's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business.

"Entrepreneurship has become a subject of great interest to business school students, particularly in recent years," said Tom Olofson, who earned the Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Pitt in 1963 and who now imparts his knowledge of entrepreneurship to Katz students as a participant in the School's Executive Faculty Program. "And we would hope that the establishment of this chair would provide the Katz School with some additional expertise in the entrepreneurial area," he added.

"Entrepreneurship has always been an integral force within the U.S. economy and will unquestionably continue to play a key role in American business culture," commented Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. "With the creation of a chair in entrepreneurial studies, thanks to Tom and Jeanne Olofson's exceptional generosity, business students at the University of Pittsburgh will be even more strongly positioned to master the principles of entrepreneurial management—and to apply them in their professional lives."

The Katz School's growing prominence is reflected in the April 2003 U.S. News & World Report "Best Graduate Schools" ranking of Katz in the nation's top 50 schools of business.

"We've witnessed tremendous growth at the University—and especially within the business school's entrepreneurship field," said Frederick Winter, dean of the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. "Supporting initiatives such as the chair in entrepreneurship will ensure that this growth continues."

Tom Olofson began his career working for several Fortune 500 companies and in 1988 purchased the predecessor of his current venture, EPIQ Systems, a financial services software company based in Kansas City, Kansas. EPIQ Systems was run as a private entrepreneurial company until 1997, when it completed an initial public offering. During the past several years, EPIQ has been recognized as a leading small public company by Forbes, Fortune Small Business, and Investor's Business Daily. Tom Olofson continues to serve as EPIQ's chairman and CEO.

The Olofsons' gift brings Pitt's Discover a World of Possibilities fundraising campaign total to $602.5 million; the campaign's goal is $1 billion.