E. J. Ourso College to Offer New Entrepreneurship Degree, Renames ISDS Department

Toni and Emmet Stephenson

Toni and Emmet Stephenson

 March 29, 2017

BATON ROUGE – The E. J. Ourso College of Business announced today that, starting with the fall 2017 semester, it will offer a new Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship that will only be available as a paired-degree. This means that it must be earned in conjunction with another bachelor’s degree from any college on the LSU campus.

Furthermore, the college’s Department of Information Systems & Decision Sciences has been renamed the Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems, in honor of benefactors Emmet and Toni Stephenson. The entrepreneurship degree will be offered through this department.

“My job as dean is to focus on the future – not mine but the 1,100 students we graduate each year,” said E. J. Ourso College Dean Richard White Jr. “Our new entrepreneurship degree is an important step in helping our graduates create new businesses, launch exciting careers and contribute to the economic development of the region.”

LSU students not wishing to pursue the paired-degree may earn a minor in entrepreneurship – previously offered by the E. J. Ourso College Rucks Department of Management.

In addition to the entrepreneurship paired-degree and minor, SDEIS boasts a number of academic offerings:
Bachelor of Science in ISDS
Concentrations in business intelligence and information technology (only available to BS ISDS students)
Minor in information technology management
Master of Science in Analytics
MBA specializations in analytics and global entrepreneurship
Online graduate certificate in analytics
PhD in business administration with a concentration in information systems
“We will empower the next generation of graduates who can inherently recognize and leverage opportunity – regardless of context,” said Edward Watson III, SDEIS department chair. “To the extent that we can keep our graduates in Louisiana, we will ultimately further enhance the entrepreneurial culture and economic development opportunities within our state.

“This will benefit students of all disciplines across all industry segments, whether their interests are in starting their own business, working in a corporation or the public sector, fighting for social change, or growing their family business.”

Indeed, the value of a paired-degree in entrepreneurship has already created a buzz outside of the E. J. Ourso College, according to LSU Engineering Dean Judy Wornat, who said this will help make engineering graduates more competitive in the workforce.

“Students in the College of Engineering are very excited about the new entrepreneurship program,” Wornat said. “For our students, being able to complement their technical education in engineering, computer science or construction management with the business acumen they will gain from the E. J. Ourso College through the entrepreneurship program will make so much difference for them when it comes to the careers that are open to them when they graduate.

“It is a great option for them and will help LSU attract more great students.”

Todd Queen, dean of the College of Music & Dramatic Arts, echoed Wornat’s sentiments.

“The College of Music & Dramatic Arts is pleased to be partnering with the E. J. Ourso College on the new entrepreneurship paired-degree program,” Queen said. “There are thousands of jobs available in the United States in the arts & entertainment industry and having a paired-degree in business and the arts will put our students at a competitive advantage in the job market. We anticipate that this will be a very popular combination with our students.”

The name change for ISDS was part of a $6 million gift made in 2016 by the Stephensons to be spaced out over 10 years. The couple previously donated $4 million in 2007 to rename and redefine the mission of the college’s entrepreneurship research division, now the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute. Today, SEI promotes and fosters entrepreneurial practice through research, outreach, and education initiatives like the Entrepreneurship Fellows Program, a year-long work/study program designed to encourage business and entrepreneurial practices in a select group of undergraduate or graduate students. 

Read more in-depth in a Baton Rouge Business Report article on the degree and name change.

About the E. J. Ourso College of Business
Since its establishment in 1928, the E. J. Ourso College of Business has continuously improved and expanded its offerings for students and alumni. Additionally, the college has made it a priority to provide its faculty with the resources it needs to further research in every aspect of the business world and to produce industry leaders for a global work environment. For more news and information about the E. J. Ourso College, visit lsu.edu/business.

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Angela McBride
LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business