University of Pittsburgh
September 28, 2009

University of Pittsburgh Names Inaugural Holder of the Tom W. Olofson Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies

Dennis Slevin, professor of business administration in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, will enhance entrepreneurship in Pitt classrooms, complement an already renowned outreach program
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PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business has recently named Dennis Slevin the inaugural holder of the Tom W. Olofson Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies. Slevin, a professor of business administration in the Katz School, will lead the initiative to enhance the presence of entrepreneurship instruction to complement the outreach provided by the school's already renowned Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

The chair was established by Pitt alumnus Tom Olofson and his wife, Jeanne, who donated $1.5 million to the University through the Tom W. and Jeanne H. Olofson Foundation.

"Pittsburgh is a city built by entrepreneurship," says John T. Delaney, dean of the Katz School. "Just as the steel and energy industries propelled the city forward a century ago, new companies in those industries and many others are defining our future. This rich history is one reason why entrepreneurship is one of the school's five strategic initiatives. By preparing students to participate in new ventures and teaching them an entrepreneurial mindset, we are equipping them to be the next Carnegie or Westinghouse. Dennis Slevin is the ideal person to lead our entrepreneurship initiative. He is a recognized scholar in entrepreneurship, has great business experience, and is well connected to our region's venture businesses. His appointment to the Olofson Chair is well deserved and has generated excitement at Pitt and in the community. And his efforts have already expanded opportunities for students and strengthened our links with the businesses community."

Slevin's academic interests revolve around entrepreneurship and project implementation. His research has been published in the "Journal of Business Research, International Journal of Project Management, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal," and "Journal of Business Venturing," among others. He is a member of the Academy of Management, the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and the Project Management Institute. He received the PhD in business administration from Stanford University, the SMIA degree from Carnegie Mellon University, the BS degree from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the BA degree from St. Vincent College.

Olofson earned the Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Pitt in 1963 and has shared his knowledge of entrepreneurship with Katz students as a participant in the School's Executive in Residence Program.

"It's been very clear in recent years that the students in Pitt's business schools, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, have developed an increased interest in the subject of entrepreneurship," says Tom Olofson. "Not too many years ago, more students focused on traditional career routes, which meant going to larger, more established companies. Now I see significantly more interest in entrepreneurship, not just at Pitt, but also at business schools across the country. Jeanne and I want to see the University of Pittsburgh at the leading edge of research and practice [in this field].

Olofson is chair and CEO of Epiq Systems, Inc., a software company based in Kansas City, Kan., that is a leading provider of technology-based products and services for the legal industry. He acquired the business in 1988 and managed it as a private entrepreneurial firm until he took the company public on the NASDAQ in 1997.

In recognition of Olofson's achievements, the University named him a Legacy Laureate in 2000; the Katz School named him a Distinguished Alumnus in 1997.

As an enhanced component of the Katz School's academic offerings, the Olofson Chair is expected to heighten the program's already accomplished status.

Earlier this year, the London-based "Financial Times" ranked the Katz School's full-time MBA program 1st in the United States for the third consecutive year in the "Best Value for the Money" category and 8th in the world in that category.

The Katz School's program also was ranked 9th among public U.S. universities in overall rankings, up from 27th last year. In overall worldwide rankings, the Katz School's program moved from 56th last year to 25th this year, tied with Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Management.