Media contact: Yvonne Taunton
The gift will offer students in the entrepreneurship program unmatched learning experiences, including the opportunity to be involved with Innovation Depot and to work directly with Patrick J. Murphy, Ph.D., Goodrich Endowed Chair in Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Collat School of Business. The endowment will eventually provide substantial scholarships for 10 students majoring in entrepreneurship each academic year.
“The shape of the world to come lies in the minds of young entrepreneurs, like those we have had the pleasure of working with at UAB for several years,” said Edward K. Aldag Jr., chairman, president and CEO of Medical Properties Trust. “Melinda and I, as well as the team at Medical Properties Trust, genuinely appreciate the opportunity to contribute to this world-class program chaired by Dr. Murphy and look forward to watching a new generation of business leadership take root right here in Birmingham.”
UAB’s entrepreneurship program has grown quickly over the last few years. Murphy joined the Collat School of Business faculty in August 2018, the same month the new facility housing the Collat School of Business and Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship opened. The entrepreneurship degree program officially launched in the fall of 2020.
“Over many years, MPT’s generosity has been tremendously impactful here in Collat,” said Dean Eric P. Jack. “As the lead donor for our award-winning new building, MPT also helped us close out our philanthropic campaign. Now this new generous endowment, personally supported by Melinda and Ed Aldag, will provide scholarships needed to successfully build a strong entrepreneurship program that is strategically vital to Birmingham’s future. We are so thankful for this generous support that will inspire innovations and improve the lives of so many in our community.”
The gift will provide much-needed financial support to entrepreneurial students. Murphy says the school hears regularly from prospective students and their families who are interested in the program but are concerned about the cost.
“This gift will enable us to launch a very attractive entrepreneurship scholars program,” Murphy said. “Overall, we will be able to dramatically enhance our capacity to deliver a rigorous entrepreneurship education that is accessible to any deserving student who is ready to work hard and work smart.”
The entrepreneurship program is designed to prepare students for success in the entrepreneurial sector with outreach-based educational experiences. Most jobs created in Alabama today come from the entrepreneurial sector, and many incoming university students are interested in entrepreneurial career paths. University entrepreneurship programs, like the one at UAB, are the best linkages between those elements, Murphy says.
“At UAB, we are building the best university entrepreneurship program in the country by thinking globally and acting locally,” Murphy said. “World-class programs offer considerable scholarship resources to their students, and that is exactly what this endowed scholarship program will enable us to do. In the years to come, the impact on our Birmingham entrepreneurial ecosystem will be tremendous.”
The Aldags and MPT are longtime supporters of UAB and the Collat School of Business. In addition to donating $4 million to the CSOB’s recent philanthropic campaign, the Aldags and MPT also created an endowed scholarship in honor of retired professor and former dean Robert Holmes, Ph.D., and his wife, Diane Holmes. MPT has also supported the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center, UAB Athletic Foundation, and the UAB School of Medicine departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery with previous gifts.
“We are grateful to the Aldags and MPT for their continued support of UAB and the Collat School of Business,” Vice President for Advancement Tom Brannan said. “This generous gift will ensure UAB’s Entrepreneurship program can attract talented students and will contribute to the continued growth of the entrepreneurship sector in Birmingham.”