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OBU Business Students Donate More Than $50,000 to Charities and Scholarships

May 24, 2019

OBU business students recently reached a milestone for charitable giving. The University’s introduction to business classes have raised $51,558.17 for charity in recent years through a special entrepreneurial project.

Student teams are loaned up to $500 per team to launch a business. The students then perform market research to choose a product to sell. Next, they source the product, price it and market it. At the end of the project, they close the business down, repay the loan and donate half of the profits to a charity of their choice. The other half is donated to the College of Business student scholarship fund. To date, 65 charities – including 19 in Shawnee – have received donations from the students. Additionally, 25 OBU business students have received scholarships from funds generated by the projects.

The business project was launched in fall 2006 with donations from three donors. These original investors include Joseph Atkinson of North Star Companies, LLC, in Midwest City; Shelley Sanders, CFA, of Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, in Oklahoma City; and Dr. Rich Rudebock, Robert L. and Sara Lou Cargill Chair and Professor of Business at OBU.

Originally, the teams were only loaned up to $200 each. At that time, half of the profits went to charities and the other half went back into the fund. The fund has grown to the point where each team can now receive a loan of up to $500. Beginning in 2013, half of the profits began being awarded as scholarships to OBU business students instead of going into growing the fund.

The winning team from this semester sold t-shirts and earned $713.36 in profit. Student team members included Connor Gantz, Brian Frable, Rosa Escalante, Luke Campbell and Jarrin Bartolome.

Rudebock uses this project to teach his students about running a business as well as the risks and rewards of entrepreneurship.

“This project is an excellent way for the students to learn first-hand what it is like to launch and run a small business while also practicing social responsibility,” he said. “I am extremely proud of their work and the effect that they have had on the community through their donations.”

Dr. David Houghton, dean of the Paul Dickinson College of Business, believes the students learn a great deal from this unique project.

“I don’t know of another business program where freshmen business majors get to apply their business knowledge so quickly,” he said. “The students, under Dr. Rudebock’s leadership, learn a lot about how the art of business is accomplished, quickly see how they can practice their faith through their discipline, and make a meaningful contribution to charities in our community.”