WASHINGTON, D.C. and DURANT, Okla. – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s John Massey School of Business (JMSB) as a winner of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) 2023 University Center Economic Development Program Competition.
The JMSB will instigate the creation of the Texoma Region Economic Empowerment (TREE) Center with grant and matched funds. TREE will be physically housed in the Russell Building, home to the AACSB Accredited John Massey School of Business.
The JMSB and TREE Center will receive $130,000 in FY2023 to establish and operate an EDA-designated University Center. This grant is scheduled to be renewed over a five-year period for a total award of $650,000. Including University match funds, the total funding of the TREE Center will reach $1,528,680 over the first five years.
“Our faculty and leadership in the John Massey School of Business have consistently shown excellence in educating our students, and I applaud them for their work to earn this grant and establish the Texoma Region Economic Empowerment Center,” said Southeastern President Dr. Thomas W. Newsom. “This center will be a great economic driver for our region and our state, and I’m certain that the education our students will receive in this center will prepare Southeastern alumni who will be a positive influence throughout the world after they graduate.”
The Center will consist of two labs: the Marketing and Entrepreneurship Lab and the Accounting and Finance Lab. TREE will conduct an annual Regional Conference and Competition providing support to the regional economy and business owners and preparing students for real world applications.
“The John Massey School of Business continues to transform lives and the communities we serve as our business faculty fulfill our purpose to develop, inspire, and embolden leaders,” said Dr. David Whitlock, interim dean of the John Massey School of Business. “I’m particularly proud of my colleague, Dr. Eric Kennedy – who led in the efforts to establish the Texoma Region Economic Empowerment Center and will serve as the Center Director – Dr. Arthur Tran, Dr. Rhonda Richards, and others who have also been instrumental in our successful efforts.”
“The announcement of the EDA University Center Grant for the TREE Center in the John Massey School of Business is a sign of positive things to come for students and regional businesses,” noted Dr. Eric Kennedy, chair of the department of management and marketing, who will serve as the TREE Center’s director. “The TREE Center has potential to drive economic growth through a blend of technology and business education that aligns with the evolving needs of our regional economy. A dynamic collaboration will take place between JMSB faculty and the business community, bridging the gap between traditional classroom learning and real world application of knowledge – providing students with the practical experience and expertise needed to thrive in their professional careers.”
Southeastern is one of 23 colleges and universities in 14 states announced as winners of a total of $16.5 million in grants across the Austin and Denver regions. Southeastern and Oklahoma State are the only two institutions in the state of Oklahoma to receive a grant for a University Center.
EDA prioritizes economic development planning or implementation projects that advance equity across America through investments that directly benefit traditionally underserved populations. The 23 University Centers announced today include a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTIs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Minority Serving Institutions (MSI).
“The Economic Development Administration is dedicated to boosting regional economies through place-based, locally led strategies,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “EDA is pleased to support the institutions designated or redesignated as University Centers as they help us invest in America’s future and grow opportunities to increase equity in American research institutions. Their existing university resources will be bolstered to build regional economic ecosystems that support resiliency and inclusiveness.”
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.
Founded in 1909, Southeastern Oklahoma State University provides an environment of academic excellence that enables students to reach their highest potential. By having personal access to excellent teaching, challenging academic programs, and extracurricular experiences, students will develop skills and habits that promote values for career preparation, responsible citizenship, and lifelong learning. Our over 5,000 students include 50% first-generation students and 28% students of Native American descent, with 82% receiving financial aid. Southeastern ranks amongst the most affordable schools in the region thanks to out-of-state tuition waivers, and is proud of its exceptional affordable accredited MBA program, stellar aviation program, and outstanding national ranking in graduating Native American students.