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Guy L. Patton, President
 
Love family $5 million gift accelerates
impact of OU entrepreneurship programs
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OU President David L. Boren and Regents Dr. Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes (left), C. Renzi Stone (fourth from left), Phil Albert (center, back) and Clay Bennett (right) thank Tom and Judy Love (center) and their family for a $5 million gift that will transform entrepreneurial education at OU.




A $5 million gift from the Tom and Judy Love Foundation will accelerate entrepreneurship activities, programs and facilities at the University of Oklahoma Michael F. Price College of Business, with the potential to impact the future of Oklahomans for decades to come.

In recognition, the OU Board of Regents has named the Division of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, the Innovation Hub, the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program, and the Center for Entrepreneurship to honor Tom Love.

"This gift is important for many reasons, not the least of which is the inspiration of our students, faculty and citizen entrepreneurs," said Daniel Pullin, dean of Price College. "This is a direct product of the Love family, which is one of the great entrepreneurial success stories in Oklahoma’s history.

"While the capital provided by the Loves’ gift will be terribly important to supporting a variety of activities, the story behind the gift is equally resonant," Pullin said. "It motivates the next generation of innovators to stay right here in Oklahoma and build the state’s future."

The Love family gift is part of a broader effort for entrepreneurship at OU’s Price College. Since 2013, the college has raised $23 million to support entrepreneurial teaching, activity and research.

Tom Love is CEO and founder of Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores. He was an OU student during the 1960s, and he and his wife, Judy, started the company with one gas station in western Oklahoma in 1964. Love’s now has more than 450 locations in 41 states and has been recognized by Forbes as one of the nation’s largest privately owned companies.

"We are fortunate to have had a successful company with sustained growth over the past 54 years, with much more in store," Tom Love said. "I know I couldn’t have done it without the visionary people we’ve hired who have an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for making a difference. I hope this investment from my family helps to further inspire the bold innovators that Oklahoma and OU are known for."

The Love family gift will help Price College expand its services to OU students across all three campuses regardless of major. For instance, the Tom Love Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program will bring "serial entrepreneurs" from such fields as energy, health care, technology and manufacturing together with student teams from a mix of academic backgrounds.

"I expect the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence to be rolling up their sleeves, working arm in arm with the students to take ideas as far as they can go," Pullin said.

Students’ ideas will be further supported by the Tom Love Endowed Scholarship in Entrepreneurship, which will provide non-equity, capital sources in the form of $5,000 "proof-of-concept" grants. These grants will speed the time from idea to prototype, funding and launch of business ventures.

OU’s Tom Love Innovation Hub, which Pullin calls an "intellectual sandbox," will be enriched by a new business accelerator, tools for rapid product prototyping using 3-D printing technology, interactive learning and other business-building capabilities.

The Love gift also will further the work of OU’s Tom Love Center for Entrepreneurship, which was ranked as a top-15 program this year by both The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine.