$5 Million Center Named For Frazier Park Man

  • Prior editor of The Mountain Enterprise, Fred Kiesner, with wife Elaine and daughter Andrea at tearful announcement.

    Prior editor of The Mountain Enterprise, Fred Kiesner, with wife Elaine and daughter Andrea at tearful announcement.

Gift to Loyola Marymount Came with Request to Honor Fred Kiesner

Our buttons are bursting with pride for a ‘local boy,’ who once helmed this newspaper, and whose name will now grace the Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount University (LMU).

LMU’s College of Business Administration accepted a $5 million endowment from the Valenta Family Trust for its Center for Entrepreneurship at a dedication last week. In keeping with the donor’s wishes, the center was renamed for its founder, one of LMU’s longest-serving professors, Fred Kiesner.

In a press release, LMU said the endowment will enable the school “to compete for the best faculty, develop new courses and complement its curriculum with speaker events, networking opportunities, hands-on experience and service activities.”

Kiesner was editor of The Mountain Enterprise during the years 1973 to 1976.

“This generous gift will guarantee that Fred Kiesner’s legacy—this highly regarded and nationally recognized program—will continue to inspire and train the business leaders of tomorrow,” said Dennis Draper, dean of the College of Business Administration.

“He gave me an opportunity. He has also done this for so many thousands of students over the decades, both before and after me: to learn and see the world with all its disappointment and wonder,” said Ron Valenta, a former student whose family created the $5 million endowment in Kiesner’s name. “His passion embodies the true entrepreneurial spirit of the United States … what a great legacy for LMU to name its Center of Entrepreneurship after him. I am so very fortunate and proud of him.”

Keisner joined the faculty of Loyola Marymount University in 1974, teaching one of the country’s first entrepreneurship courses. Kiesner met resistance to the idea of entrepreneurial studies as an academic discipline but he responded in the way he knew best: “I treated it as an entrepreneurial venture in the academic arena. And I showed them results.”

At the heart of Kiesner’s teaching success is the connection he develops with his students. His energetic delivery, irreverent wit and flair draw students to his classes just to see what he might be up to next. Many of his former students say that what sets Kiesner apart is the personal connection he develops with them.

Kiesner earned his doctorate in management and education at Claremont Graduate University in 1984, where he studied with management guru Peter Drucker.

The undergraduate and graduate entrepreneurship programs in the College of Business Administration were named among the nation’s top 25 programs this year by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine’s sixth annual Top 50 Entrepreneurial Colleges. The undergraduate program is rated 17th and the graduate program 12th.

This is part of the September 25, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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