New Business Division is launched


President Jem Spectar presenting Professor Raymond Wrabley with a plaque for the new division.

Bobby Scott, Editor-In-Chief

Pitt-Johnstown community members welcomed a new Business and Enterprise Division last Wednesday night as university administrators, students and citizens numbering in the hundreds packed inside the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center.

University President Jem Spectar and Social Sciences Division Chairman Ray Wrabley introduced the new division in a launch event that included speaker Andrew Yang, founder and chief executive officer of Venture for America.

Yang is a Brown University (Providence, R.I.) graduate and has a degree from Columbia Law School (New York City). He is the author of several books about helping young graduate entrepreneurs achieve success in the business world.

Venture for America is a non-profit organization in 12 cities across the country with 212 affiliate members.

They train top graduates by sending them to startup companies in cities with poor economies for two-year fellowships with the hope that the experience will make these young professionals successful. Detroit was used as an example by Yang.

Yang said that he originally worked at a law firm but left to start a business. He said he made a laptop presentation to potential investors in the business.

He admitted that before finding success professionally, he was a part of multiple failed businesses, but said he got better by working with veteran entrepreneurs.

“One trap young people fall into is that their next career choice is the choice,” Yang said.

“They believed that every step is crucially important when they should be focused on putting themselves into development in a quality organization.”

Wrabley has been named the interim Business & Enterprise Division Chairman until administrators find a suitable candidate for a permanent posting.

Many business professors offered students extra credit, hoping to ensure a decent crowd size for the unveiling of the university’s seventh academic division.

“For (the university), it has been a long journey,” President Spectar said.

“It has taken some time to get here because, if it was easy, it would have (already) been done, but it took great faculty and leaders to give the entire university a lot to be proud of.”

A business program has existed for close to 40 years in the Social Sciences Division, but, with growing enrollment numbers over the years, university administrators decided it was time for a business division, Spectar said.

Wrabley said the new division’s launch includes new initiatives.

“We are determined to participate in the development of the new entrepreneur ecosystem on our campus and in our region to nurture an entrepreneurial mind-set in our students.”

Wrabley also said that he hopes the division can prepare students to participate in the innovation it will        take to revitalize the region’s economy.

There are four, full-time, tenured faculty members with 400 students as of last Wednesday with two associate accounting professors, one assistant accounting professor and one associate finance professor, according to the university’s website.