In August, 3 Day Startup asked you to nominate university professors who play an integral role in entrepreneurship education. Instead of focusing on national rankings and numbers, we wanted to hear it straight from the audience. We had an overwhelming response from students, alumni, university faculty, and entrepreneurs who submitted ballots with reasons why they wanted to recognize an individual at their university. Ballots with the most weight detailed why they wanted to nominate the educator and why their programs were most effective.

All professors and educators recognized are involved in entrepreneurship education through a variety of means — some of these educators teach general entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, or various interdisciplinary studies that blend entrepreneurship with other subjects. Presented in no particular order, the top 25 Entrepreneurship Professors of 2013:

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Professor Name Title School Name
Saras D. Sarasvathy, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Business Administration University of Virginia
Sarasvathy teaches courses in entrepreneurship and ethics in Darden’s MBA program. In addition, she teaches in doctoral programs not only at Darden, but also in Denmark, India, Croatia and South Africa. She is a leading scholar on the cognitive basis for high-performance entrepreneurship and developed a framework called “effectuation,” which suggests that building a business is more about using what you already know than finding the perfect market niche or opportunity.
John E. Richards Associate Director, Rollins Center Brigham Young University
Richards teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in entrepreneurship and venture finance in the Marriott School of Management. He has been an active founder, investor, mentor, coach, consultant, board member, and participant in dozens of entrepreneurial ventures and business enterprises in the community. He is currently managing partner of the oldest angel investing group in the state of Utah, the Utah Angel Investors. Richards also cofounded BoomStartup, a mentorship-driven investment program patterned after Y-Combinator and TechStars. In this program, multiple tech startup companies are mentored and provided capital.
Chris Wiggins, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics Columbia University
Wiggins cofounded hackNY in 2010 to empower students to join the New York City Startup Community. hackNY is managed by faculty at both New York University and Columbia University. The program educates students about working in and founding startups through a variety of programs. The the first program is hackNY Fellows, a ten-week internship program during which students work with well known New York City startups. The second program is a hackathon held once a semester, which brings in students from multiple Ivy League schools.
Ray Bagby, Ph.D. Associate Professor and Editor, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice Journal Baylor University
In 2010, Bagby was awarded The Max S. Wortman, Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement in Entrepreneurship by The U.S. Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship for his contributions to the study of entrepreneurship since 1982. While he was still assistant professor at the University of Baltimore, he revived a fledgling academic journal and brought it with him to Baylor, where he is still its lead editor. Today, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice is one of the top two entrepreneurship journals in the world.
Hesam Panahi, Ph.D. Clinical Assistant Professor University of Houston
Panahi is the founder of RED Labs, the university’s startup accelerator. The accelerator accepts teams of students and provides them access to a space on campus, connects them to relevant mentors and resources in the startup community, and helps them grow their ideas into scalable companies. Panahi also teaches courses in management information systems and entrepreneurship, and is the organizing faculty member for 3 Day Startup, a technology entrepreneurship education program where students start building companies over the course of three days.
Rich Sheridan Adjunct Assistant Professor, Center for Entrepreneurship University of Michigan
Sheridan cofounded Menlo Innovations in 2001, a custom-software practice in Ann Arbor. By 2007, Menlo had become one of Inc. 500’s fastest growing privately held firms in the US. The company is known for its open and collaborative work environment and Sheridan is known to sit among his employees. Sheridan currently teaches an entrepreneurship practicum course at the University of Michigan, which immerses students in the entrepreneurial process in a supportive classroom environment.
Laura Murphy, Ph.D. Clinical Associate Professor Tulane University
Murphy was named to the first class of Social Entrepreneurship professors at Tulane University in 2011. Her current research focuses on technology and social change, with work spanning strategies for mitigating deforestation in the Amazon to community-based responses to the impacts of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Her work has been funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the National Science Foundation. She currently teaches on themes that span development, population, environment; as well as on practical field research methods. Murphy also earned the President’s Award for Excellence in Professional and Graduate Teaching in 2008.
David J. BenDaniel, Ph.D. Don & Margi Berens Professor of Entrepreneurship, Professor of Management Cornell University
BenDaniel is the longest-serving professor in the Entrepreneurship@Cornell program, which he helped design. He also created the Big Red Venture Fund in 2000, an alumni-financed, student-managed venture capital fund that is considered a model by business schools nationwide. BenDaniel currently serves as a senior fellow of the Entrepreneurship and Personal Enterprise Program. In addition to his teaching and research, he has been active in investing venture capital.
Robert Metcalfe, Ph.D. Professor of Innovation, Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise The University of Texas at Austin
Metcalfe was an internet pioneer at MIT starting in 1970 and in 1973 received his Ph.D. from Harvard for “Packet Communication.” He invented Ethernet in 1973 and founded 3Com Corporation (now part of HP) in 1979. He has received numerous industry awards and was inducted into to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007. In November 2010, Metcalfe was selected to lead innovation initiatives at The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering. He began his appointment in January 2011 where he is currently teaching Longhorn Startup, a series of seminars and labs for students interested in entrepreneurship and venture creation.
Patrick Vernon Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Adjunct Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Vernon teaches courses on launching new ventures, new venture analysis, artistic entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurial consulting at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. He is also the Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, and currently directs the international Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC®), a premiere competition for venture-minded and entrepreneurial MBA students that features a network of 50 events on three continents. Prior to joining UNC Kenan-Flagler, Vernon was an entertainment entrepreneur, founding an independent record label based in Los Angeles.
Michael Marasco Director of the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Clinical Full Professor Northwestern University
Marasco helped create Northwestern’s first NUvention class which initially focused on medical innovation. The 20 week class brings together faculty from several schools and disciplines to immerses students from both the undergraduate and graduate levels to various opportunities in entrepreneurship. Since the creation of the first NUvention course, six new NUvention courses have been offered in energy, web, digital media, social entrepreneurship, analytics, and nanotechnology. Of the seven NUvention classes, Marasco teaches four of them. He also advises student startups inside and outside the classroom, and continues to be a zero and early stage investor through his venture capital company, Solesde.
Jeff Sandefer Founder, Master Teacher The Acton School of Business
Sandefer founded or cofounded five successful companies and formerly managed Sandefer Capital, an energy investment firm, before founding the Acton School of Business. While he was teaching at The University of Texas at Austin, Sandefer was ranked one of the top ten entrepreneurship professors in the country by BusinessWeek. In 2002, Sandefer and a few fellow teachers, left the university to found Acton, where all instructors are successful entrepreneurs who teach part-time.
Ken Harrington Managing Director, The Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship Washington University – St. Louis
Harrington has spent over 25 years in industry as a senior executive for seven startup companies. Since 2001 he has led the expansion of Washington University’s Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. Since 2004 the Center has supported the founding of over eighty new ventures and developed approaches to entrepreneurial community growth in Madagascar and the United States. Harrington consults on university cross-campus entrepreneurship concepts, regional development thinking, university-industry partnerships, and innovation in large organizations. He and Mr. Robert Skandalaris collaborated on a book entitled “Rebuilding the American Dream: Restoring American Jobs and Competitiveness Through Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”
Steven Kaplan, Ph.D. Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance, Faculty Director of the Polsky Center The University of Chicago
Kaplan teaches Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity and Developing a New Venture (New Venture Challenge). He has been named among the top five professors at Chicago Booth in Bloomberg Businessweek since 1992, and he is the two-time Phoenix Award winner for service to students outside of the classroom. He is also the academic dean for the Kauffman Fellows Program and serves on the boards of the Illinois Venture Capital Association and Morningstar
Bruce Barringer, Ph.D. Professor, The N. Malone Mitchell Jr. Chair and Head of the School of Entrepreneurship Oklahoma State University
Barringer has been the director of the School of Entrepreneurship’s master’s program since 2010 and was recently selected to head the entrepreneurship program for the university. He has taught courses at the Spears School of Business on “Entrepreneurial Thinking and Behavior,” “Entrepreneurship and Venture Management,” “Advanced Entrepreneurship Practicum,” and “Launching a Business: The First 100 Days.” Barringer has also written a weekly column, “The Wall Street Journal Entrepreneurship Weekly Review,” for Dow Jones, Inc., since 1999. The column focuses on entrepreneurship and related issues and is emailed by the Wall Street Journal to nearly 750 professors each week during the academic year.
Kathleen Allen, Ph.D. Professor of Clinical Entrepreneurship University of Southern California
Allen directs the Marshall Center for Technology Commercialization and is the author of more than 15 books. In 2012, she received the Evan C. Thompson Award for Teaching and Learning Innovation. Her entrepreneurial endeavors include four successful companies. She is president and cofounder of N2TEC Institute, a nonprofit organization that was inspired by work she conducted under an NSF grant to develop a model for a technology commercialization ecosystem. She has been an entrepreneur-in-residence at a major aerospace company and is director of a NYSE company.
Suresh Kotha, Ph.D. Professor of Management, Olesen/Battelle Excellence Chair in Entrepreneurship and Research Director, Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship University of Washington
Kotha joined the Foster Business School in 1996 and teaches courses in competitive strategy and entrepreneurship in the school’s Executive MBA and TMMBA programs. His teaching and research interests are in the areas of competitive strategy, corporate entrepreneurship, and technology entrepreneurship. He also serves as a Field Editor for the Journal of Business Venturing, editorial board member of the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, and is a past Associate Editor of the Journal of Operations Management.
Bill Schulze, Ph.D. Professor, Management Department, David Eccles School of Business University of Utah
Schulze has been an innovator in entrepreneurship education. He had a leading role in the development of an MBA concentration in the Biosciences at the Weatherhead School of Management (the third such program in the nation at the time) and the Science Entrepreneurship program at Case Western Reserve University, and the creation of the nationally-ranked graduate and entrepreneurship programs at the University of Utah, as well as the Foundry, its award-winning business accelerator program. Prior to pursuing a career as an academic, Schulze was cofounder and vice-president of Small Byte Systems, a PC-based accounting software firm and spent six years in strategic planning and business development for Kaiser Permanente.
Dwight Carey Senior Fellow of the Institute & Instructor, Entrepreneurship Temple University
Carey started his first business immediately after receiving his undergraduate degree. For the last forty three years he has started an additional sixteen more companies both in the United States and abroad. Those companies are in service, engineering, robotics and support systems, and factory automation industries. One of these companies, American Productivity Group, LLC., of which Carey is Managing Member and President, is a joint venture with Samsung Electronics Corp. Carey teaches both undergraduate and MBA courses in the Engineering School and the Fox School of Business.
Les Charm Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship Babson College
Charm has been a partner in the firm of Youngman & Charm since 1972. The firm specializes in directorship functions for firms owned and operated by entrepreneurs and in assisting companies that are experiencing operating and/or financial problems. He has spent the last 30 years working with startups and has taught throughout the world on a variety of topics regarding entrepreneurship and governance. He is on the President’s Council at Babson, and is the recipient of the Appel Award for Entrepreneurship.​
Jim Jindrick Mentor in Residence University of Arizona
Jindrick teaches the capstone Venture Development classes and meets individually with new venture teams at least once a week throughout the year. He has developed over 40 successful high-tech products, product lines, and enterprises including internal corporate ventures, spin-off companies, and independent startups. Jindrick has also received seven U.S. utility patents and numerous international patents for innovations in automotive test and diagnostic equipment, electric power distribution automation systems, and personal computer instrumentation systems. Products he developed have generated over $750 million lifetime revenue.​
Richard Lester, Ph.D. Clinical Associate Professor, Executive Director of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship Texas A&M University
The Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship enhances student education through competitions, hands-on learning programs, and campus speakers. Recently, Lester helped launch Startup Aggieland, a student business accelerator that provides qualified students of all majors with a peer-led startup community of like-minded entrepreneurs and co-working spaces to explore business ideas. His current research interests focus on corporate governance, upper echelons, and entrepreneurship. Prior to his academic career Richard spent 25 years in primarily oil and gas related firms. His last corporate position was Vice President General Manager in Houston, Texas.
Raymond Smilor, Ph.D. Robert and Edith Schumacher Executive Faculty Fellow in Innovation and Technology, Professor of Professional Practice, Entrepreneurial Management Texas Christian University
Smilor is a nationally recognized expert, motivational speaker and lecturer on entrepreneurship. He has developed programs and conducted entrepreneurship training in several countries. His practice,
research and extensive published writings encompass national and international entrepreneurship, employee ownership, management styles, economic development in emerging economies, business incubation, and technology transfer and commercialization.
Suzanne Bergmeister Entrepreneur in Residence University of Louisville
Bergmeister teaches Entrepreneurship 600, a class open to all students enrolled in graduate programs at the university. Entrepreneurship 600 is designed to take students from diverse backgrounds such as law, engineering, medicine, as well as the arts and sciences. Students collaborate to form teams of six or seven people to start businesses. All startup ideas are student generated and vetted during the eight week course through Lean Startup methodologies. The class is based on an approach used at Stanford University.
H. Albert Napier, Ph.D. Professor of Entrepreneurship and Psychology Rice University
Napier teaches The New Enterprise course in each of the MBA degree programs. This course and other courses in the entrepreneurship curriculum are capstone courses that force students to integrate all the courses they have taken. He brings to the classroom 30 years of entrepreneurial plus 8 years of big company experience. He owned a computer consulting and education business for 21 years. Napier continues to work on Internet companies Hometown Favorites and FreeTutorialCentral.