The Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes one graduate who has exhibited outstanding leadership and service in both the professional and philanthropic realms. The recipient will have also contributed significantly to the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management by donating time, energy, talent or financial support and will have built networks through class activities, regional programs such as CityOwen, board involvement and service to current students and faculty.

The Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management annually grants the Distinguished Alumnus/a Award, not only to honor worthy recipients, but also to inspire students and alumni.

 

Congratulations to W. Jackson (Jack) Long, Jr. (MBA'83)!

Jack has enjoyed considerable success as an entrepreneur in his career. That entrepreneurial spirit showed itself early – as a middle schooler, he would ride the early bus in the afternoon, stop by McDonalds to buy burgers and fries, then return to school and sell them to students on the late bus, with a healthy markup.

He’s come a long way since -- starting several businesses in his career, notably Lone Star Overnight, an air transportation company, and PeopleAdmin, an HR software provider in the education space, both of which earned spots in the Inc. 500.

Jack’s passion for flight extended beyond Lone Star – he’s an avid pilot that has flown around the globe. Aviation plays an important role in Jack’s philanthropy as well; he has flown multiple relief missions to deliver supplies and medical professionals to areas in need, such as Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010, and most recently to the British Virgin Islands after Hurricanes Harvey and Maria. An avid conservationist, he has worked with the environmental aviation non-profit LightHawk to transport endangered species like the Mexican Gray Wolf and the Orange-Breasted Falcon across North America.

On the ground, his focus on education has produced wide-ranging, positive effects in numerous communities. He’s been an adjunct professor at UT McCombs MBA program, helped launch the Acton School of Business, a b-school focused on training entrepreneurs, and started an Emerging Scholars program in Austin to help low-income students who will be the first in their families to attend college. At Owen, Jack and Carolyn have provided gifts that have seeded the Center for Entrepreneurship, resulting in new grant opportunities for student entrepreneurs at Owen and a full-time director, Michael Bryant, who came on board this spring. They also helped establish an Entrepreneurial fund for Owen in 2009, giving first-year MBAs the opportunity to pursue entrepreneurial pursuits over the summer.

It’s important to note that, through all of these efforts, Carolyn has been an indispensable partner.  She played the part of sole income-provider in the nascent days of Jack’s business building, dropped that income stream to fully support the Lone Star venture, and as that business grew, taking on leadership and fundraising roles within Austin non-profits, all while raising Adam and Carlen with Jack. They met on the first day of school at Owen, even though they attended the same middle school. Together the Longs have gone on to bring many good things to life, and the Owen community is extremely grateful for all of the good things they’ve brought to us.

The Center for Entrepreneurship has already begun making an impact at Management Hall. Three members of the MBA class of 2018 earned summer grants funded through Jack and Carolyn’s gift. Patrick Morsches used the gift to expand upon the initial launch of his concept, Let’s Room Together, which matches incoming graduate students looking for housing opportunities. Rachel Rock-Blake, who is developing a certification system dubbed Green Anchor to combat invasive species, used her funding to research, interview, and solidify her concept. Hunter Flynt used his grant to visit Tanzania and validate his concept for a mobile payments solution.

Whether these ventures boom, bust, or fall somewhere in between, the opportunity for Patrick, Rachel, and Hunter to pursue their concepts at school will be essential to their future success, and the same goes for future grant winners. Jack used his failures as motivation, to great benefit; the Long’s gift will afford Owen students the opportunity to do the same in their journeys. Thank you, Jack and Carolyn, for your continuous generosity and support, and Jack, congratulations on earning the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award!

 

Past Distinguished Alumni Recipients

2016 Virginia “Gigi” Banks Lazenby (MBA '73)

2015 Heiki Miki (MBA '96)

2014 Brent Turner (MBA '99)

2013 Eric Noll (MBA '90)

2012 Jim Sohr (BE '86, MBA '90)

2011 David B. Ingram (MBA '89)

2006 A.J. Kazimi (MBA '84)

2005 Amy Jorgensen Conlee (MBA '77)

2004 William Douglas Parker, Jr. (MBA ’86)

2003 David C. Kloeppel (MBA ’96)

2002 James H. Herring, Jr. (MBA ’89)

2000 Kimberley G. Newton (MBA ’99)

1999 Brad Williams (MBA ’94)

1998 J. Smoke Wallin (MBA ’93)

1997 Donald E. Townswick (MBA ’92)

1996 Robert W. Davis (MBA ’91)

1995 Thomas Eckert (MBA ’90)

1994 James Welch (MBA ’89)

1993 Mark Hilling (MBA ’88)

1992 Brian M. Cote (MBA ’87)

1991 Carin L. Barth (MBA ’86)

A plaque listing all Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Distinguished Alumni Award recipients hangs in Management Hall at Owen.

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