Albers School of Business and Economics
Endowed Chairs and Professorships

Lawrence K. Johnson Chair

  • Background

    The Johnson Chair of Entrepreneurship is named in honor of Lawrence K. Johnson, father of Seattle University alum and local venture capitalist, Kent L. Johnson. Kent Johnson earned an MBA degree at Seattle University in 1971. He is the founder and managing director of Alexander Hutton Venture Partners.

    A native of South Dakota, Lawrence Johnson moved his family to Bremerton in 1942, where he took a job at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Following the end of World War II, the Johnson family moved several times—first to Seattle, then Shelton, where Lawrence devoted himself to establishing businesses, primarily portable sawmill and logging operations, that would support his family and partners.

    Kent Johnson says his father’s hard work, determination, and even his failures, taught him what it means to be an entrepreneur and inspired him to finish college and pursue a professional career.

    Purpose

    To prepare building entrepreneurs to better contribute to their own and others’ business success. To make sure the next generation of entrepreneurs have the leadership and business skills, as well as the ethical and moral foundation they need to succeed.

    The Entrepreneurship Center was founded in 1990 and is dedicated to developing excellence in enterprise by offering value-based teaching, research, consulting, and outreach services that meet the needs of the emerging business community. Ongoing programs include free consulting services offered to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, and public workshops that provide advice on such issues as raising new venture capital, creating a business plan, tax planning, legal issues, and marketing. The Entrepreneurship Center began in 1973 as a Small Business Institute designed to meet the business community’s critical need for affordable consulting services.

    Date Started

    Chair first occupied July 2000 (individual holds the chair for three years and may be renewed)

    Current Chair holder

    Leo Simpson, PhD 2008-2013

    Former Chair holders

    Harriet Stephenson, PhD 2000-2007