Thursday, April 10, 2008

End of an era

Yesterday's mailbox contained news of the end of an era in entrepreneurship research, with the death of Jeffry Timmons:

Dear Colleague:

Babson College is deeply saddened to announce the unexpected death of our dear friend, colleague, teacher, and mentor, Professor Jeffry Timmons, on April 8 at the age of 66. On Monday, April 7, Professor Timmons spent the entire day at Babson with a small team discussing the history and future of entrepreneurship. He was brilliant in the way that he shared his insights, knowledge, and enthusiasm. His passion, as always, was striking.

Professor Timmons was known internationally for his research, innovative curriculum development, and teaching in entrepreneurship, new ventures, entrepreneurial finance, and venture capital. Inc. named him the “Johnny Appleseed of Entrepreneurship Education.” His doctoral dissertation, “Entrepreneurial and Leadership Development in an Inner City Ghetto and a Rural Depressed Area (Harvard, 1971)” was the first use of the word “entrepreneurial” in a dissertation title. He believed, in his own words, that “the entrepreneurial process is not just about new companies, capital, and jobs. It’s also about fostering an ingenious human spirit and improving humankind.” He was feverishly committed to advancing entrepreneurship.

Professor Timmons’ impact and influence on Babson and the global entrepreneurial community is unparalleled and his passing is a huge loss. We are truly sorry to have to share this news with you.

Patricia Greene Ph.D., M.B.A
Professor of Entrepreneurship
The Timmons textbook (now in its 7th edition) defined the field of entrepreneurship as an academic discipline, and dominated the field to a degree that I have not seen in any other field. Timmons also co-authored books on business plans and raising capital.

His textbook and his other articles (particularly on venture capital) are highly cited in the field, and it seems unlikely that entrepreneurship academics will ever again have so dominant a figure.

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