By Kathryn McNutt
Copyright © 2018, The Oklahoma Publishing Co.
NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents voted Wednesday to name entrepreneurship programs in the Price College of Business in honor of a $5 million gift from longtime university supporters Tom and Judy Love.
“I can’t think of a name that constitutes what entrepreneurship means and what risk-taking means more than the name of the Love family,” OU President David Boren said.
Tom Love, who attended OU in the 1960s, is founder and executive chairman of Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. The couple started in 1964 with one location in western Oklahoma. Today, Love’s has more than 440 locations in 41 states and employs more than 20,000 people.
The new gift from the Tom and Judy Love Foundation will support OU’s Innovation Hub, will establish an Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Program to pair student teams with industry experts, and will fund at least 20 student scholarships or “proof-of-concept” grants to students in the entrepreneurship field.
“We are grateful to the Love family for continuing to promote opportunities for our students so that they can build a better future for our state,” Boren said.
“With every passing year, the university becomes more and more dependent for its well-being on the generosity of private supporters,” he said.
Private donors this past year gave twice as much to OU — more than $200 million — than the state provided in appropriations, Boren said.
Tom Love said he was skeptical 15 years ago when talk of establishing an entrepreneurial school began.
“I wasn’t sure that you could actually teach entrepreneurship,” Love said. “But my grandson who is here with us today, David, graduated with a degree in entrepreneurship. So it took me a long time, but I finally got it.”