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Williams scholars in class

Williams speaking to the Stuart M. Williams Impact Scholars

According to Stuart Williams, impact entrepreneur-in-residence at the College of Charleston School of Business, he doesn’t have an “off” switch.

“My brain never shuts down because I’m always thinking about the many things that need to be fixed in the world,” says Williams, founder of impact ecosystems architecture firm, In Place Impact.

But it’s not just the problems of the planet that keep his mind abuzz; it’s their potential solutions as well.

Williams has dedicated a large portion of his professional life to impact entrepreneurship — or, making a difference through profit-based initiatives — and has created a program at the School of Business to inspire the next generation of innovators and problem solvers.

The Stuart M. Williams Impact Scholars program, which officially launched this fall, is designed to provide seven exceptional undergraduate students with the guidance, resources and network to tackle some of the most pressing issues of the 21st century.

“There are so many young people who are truly passionate about affecting change in the best way possible,” says Williams. “I want to give as many students as I can the opportunity to make those dreams a reality.”

Participants in the program have the chance to sharpen their skills through professional development, roundtable dinners, internships and tours of local impact businesses. The Scholars also meet weekly with Williams as well as other mentors and advisors, including Professor David Wyman, Professor Lancie Affonso and MBA candidate Kelly Muxworthy to discuss their respective impact projects.

The 2017 Stuart M. Williams Impact Scholars are Latosha Andrade, Mya Belden, Carlie Christenson, Kionnie Epps, Catherine Hill, Sofia Troya and Brandon Williams.

The impressive inaugural cohort, which was selected after a rigorous application and Williams Impact Scholarsinterview process, is comprised of freshmen and juniors from a diverse range of disciplines, including business, public health, political science and criminal justice.

Some of the young innovators have already launched exceedingly successful businesses, says Williams. All of them have incredible personal stories and achievements: one student carried more than 50 credits into college from high school; one came all the way from Ecuador to learn how to solve the problems in her country; and, one spent more than five years serving in the military.

Students in the program are looking to take on various social and economic issues such as eradicating poverty, improving supply chain sustainability in the coffee industry and ensuring quality primary school education for children.

“It’s all about impacting in a way that is fulfilling for you,” Williams told students at one of their first meetings.

What seems to fulfill Williams is ensuring that the School of Business is properly positioned to become one of the nation’s leading academic institutions offering impact studies.

Williams is a noticeable presence at the school, not only through his new scholars program but also through the ICAT program and the Center for Entrepreneurship. He has also successfully helped the School integrate impact studies into many of its classes.

The business school was honored to have Williams join its board of governors this year. “We owe a great deal to Stuart here at the School of Business and are thrilled he has joined our Board,” says Alan T. Shao, dean of the School of Business. “His passion for impact studies paired with his commitment to further the strategic goals of this institution have paved the way for our students to become the socially and environmentally responsible business leaders of tomorrow.”

With no “off” switch in sight for Williams and the students he continues to inspire, it’s safe to say the biggest impact is yet to come.

On any given day, the School of Business is bustling with students, faculty and staff who work hard to sustain its mission — to educate socially responsible graduates through practical undergraduate, graduate and professional programs.

But as the halls of the Beatty Center quiet down for the Thanksgiving holiday, the School would like to take the time to reflect and give thanks for a few things that make mean a lot to us.

1. Our esteemed faculty

Our faculty work each day to provide students with the tools and skills needed to become socially responsible business professionals. When they’re not molding young minds in Charleston, many of our faculty can be found abroad doing research and teaching. In fact, the College of Charleston School of Business ranks No. 1 in the world among universities for having the most Certified Global Business Professionals (CGBP). By providing experiential learning opportunities for students and through their cutting-edge research in the business field, it is safe to say that our professors are as good as it gets.

2. Our Student Success Center

With the goal of helping our students successfully transition from the classroom to the boardroom, the Student Success Center (SSC) at the School of Business helps to ensure that students are on track to succeed academically and professionally. From scholarships to internships and study abroad opportunities, the SSC is a vital resource to any business student. By offering student services such as advising, suit valet and career and professional development, it’s no secret that the academic and professional careers of business students matters to the SSC.

3. Our donors

Those who give to the School of Business both of their time and donations are a huge part of what makes this School so great. The support of these individuals enables our faculty and staff the opportunity to prepare our students for the real world. Due to their generosity, the business school has been able to launch new programs, support study abroad and establish several new scholarships. What makes us even more proud is that many of our donors are current and former Cougars. To join the ranks of our big-hearted benefactors, please visit our giving page.

4. Our one-year MBA program

The School of Business is home to a world-class, one-year MBA program prepares the next wave of global business leaders. Inside the classroom, students are developing the skills to innovative, communicate and lead — and will continue to build on those skills to create solutions that meet the needs of the business community. Outside of the classroom, the MBA cohort is gaining insights from industry leaders through the executive mentorship program. Job placements for graduates three months after graduation has consistently been 95 percent and higher. A dynamic and rigorous program, the one-year MBA at the School of Business is a game changer, and we are thankful for it.

5. Our ready-to-work students

Finally, we would be remiss not to mention our students on this list. With more than 2,000 undergraduate students and 63 graduate students, the School of Business is one of the largest schools at the College, representing nearly a quarter of its population. The top states our students hail from include New Jersey, New York and North Carolina. Outside of the U.S., full-time students come from Canada, Bermuda and the United Kingdom. Our business students are continually sharpening their tools to become successful professionals. Many are making strides in their academic and professional careers through outstanding academic performances, leadership positions and entrepreneurial endeavors. Keep up the amazing work!

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