The best professors provide a spark of inspiration students carry with them.
Lynn Ennis, associate director of the Gregg Museum, made an impression on M.B.A. students in the Poole College of Management with her Creativity in Business classes. She helped students find innovative ways to solve problems and supported their ideas, including a New Orleans service trip to help small business owners following Hurricane Katrina.
The 2009 M.B.A. class, a close-knit group of three dozen graduates, was planning a reunion event when Ennis died suddenly last July.
“We knew we had to find a way to honor her,” says Kevin Idahor, who helped organize the New Orleans trip. “We asked ourselves what she would want us to do.”
Use Your M.B.A.
Fittingly, the tribute to Ennis involved a creative event that would test the group’s management skills and support the arts.
“I had just become a runner and several people in the class had been running for years, so I said, What about a 5K?” remembers Karen Bell, another 2009 graduate.
Ennis’ colleagues and friends have stepped up to help the 2009 grads. Poole College provided seed money, the Alumni Association offered support and local artist Jessie Brinkley donated her T-shirt design work.
“It’s exciting—and kind of nerve wracking, too,” says Bell, who’s helping spearhead the event. “None of us had ever organized a 5K before.”
Planners are hoping for 300 runners to tackle the course, which begins and ends at the Park Alumni Center and will be used exclusively for this event. Registration is $25 if you sign up by the Feb. 17 early deadline and $30 thereafter.
Even if you’re not a runner, you can still honor Ennis. Bell suggests volunteering to help, purchasing a T-shirt, providing a $200 corporate sponsorship or giving directly to the Gregg.
“We’re tapping into the creativity she taught us, both in the spirit and the process,” Bell says.