School navigation

Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership

Endowment Gift and New Name for Center for Entrepreneurship

November 20, 2017

  • Nina Johnson

On October 19, a board of trustees dinner turned into a celebration when Susan Bates announced that she and her husband, Life Trustee John Bates, were making a one million-dollar gift for entrepreneurship at Lewis & Clark.

“With strong leadership in place,” she said, “John and I are happy to provide a foundation of support. The Center for Entrepreneurship is so important for students and the public. With this gift we want to give them more to work with, to enhance the center’s great work and to make it soar.”

“I just couldn’t be happier,” said President Wiewel. “We can help our students, who are so motivated, to acquire even more skills and focus to be even more successful. John and Susan have been longtime supporters of Lewis & Clark. Stepping forward now and leading by example is so important.” Indeed, shortly after the announcement, another alumnus donated $50,000 to the endowment and pledged a gift of an additional $100,000 over the next two years.

In honor of John’s dedicated service to Lewis & Clark, both on the faculty and on the board of trustees, the center is being renamed the John E. and Susan S. Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership. Focusing on the liberal arts in action, the Bates Center brings together students, faculty, and alumni from all three schools at Lewis & Clark to imagine and build a better future.

“The Center seeks to help students become innovators in the field of their choice by coupling the essential liberal arts education with foundational entrepreneurial principles,” said Samir Parikh, center director, professor of law, and Kenneth H. Pierce Faculty Fellow. “I am excited to have John and Susan’s support in this endeavor.”

Since piloting an entrepreneurship boot camp in January 2012, with 20 students returning from winter break one week early to take part, the center has developed an expanding curriculum and robust programs that attracted some 300 participants during the last academic year. Courses are typically fully enrolled, and programs enjoy a high rate of participation among domestic students of color, international students, and Pell Grant recipients.

John Bates chaired the Lewis & Clark Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2007. He served as associate professor of finance at Lewis & Clark from 1975 to 1981 and was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1976. John and Susan led our overseas study program to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg in 1979. John has also held key positions on Wall Street and founded Bates Private Capital, a firm in Lake Oswego, Oregon, that grew to more than 200 employees.