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#PeopleofWKU: Dr. Dawn Bolton

“I work with great people,” said Dr. Dawn Bolton, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Mattie Newman Ford Professor and Associate Professor in Management. “I am not alone in this. There are lots of great people in my Center, my department, in my college and in this university.”

Dr. Dawn Bolton

Whenever Bolton discusses her work at WKU, joy gleams from her face and humbleness reflects through her words. Under Dr. Bolton’s leadership, WKU’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation has connected students with local entrepreneurs and business leaders like Don Vitale, Jim Martens and John Ridley.

Students who have worked with the Center’s resources won $40,000 in start-up funds this year. One student accepted an invitation to a national business plan competition where he heard from Daymond John of Shark Tank and Richard Shulze, founder of Best Buy. These achievements are in addition to the student organizations, speaker’s series and networking opportunities provided through the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Dr. Bolton attributes the Center’s success with making connections to and for entrepreneurial students to its ability to remain student-focused.

According to Dr. Bolton, the ways the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation remains student-focused include:

  • Being available to students
  • Being willing to work with students
  • Giving lots of feedback, letting them digest it and make changes, then giving more feedback
  • Getting to know them, understand who they are, and be willing to be a reference
  • Remaining supportive, positive and encouraging

Before becoming the director of the Center, Dr. Bolton served as Marketing Director for WKU’s Division of Extended Learning and Outreach and Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs – Program Development and Academic Relations.

This year, Dr. Dawn Bolton celebrates 30 years of teaching with 27 of those years teaching at WKU in the Gordon Ford College of Business.  “I have always wanted to be a teacher,” she said. When other little girls her age played house, young Dawn Bolton played school. She chose to pursue a business career after high school because of the large number of women choosing teaching careers in Wisconsin, but her desire to teach never faded. After several years gaining experience in a small business, Dr. Bolton went back to learn how to teach.

Contact: Dr. Dawn Bolton, (270) 745-4142

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