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News & Media
May 6, 2019

Kenan Scholars Alumni Gathering: Celebrating Excellence

“I would put our undergraduates up against undergraduates from any business school. Against any economic department. I would put our undergraduates up against other school’s MBA students!”

These words from Greg Brown, the director of the Kenan Institute, helped open the day’s events on April 26, as past and present Kenan scholars and leadership fellows gathered for the inaugural Kenan Scholars Alumni Gathering. The event, designed to recognize past program participants and present the ongoing research of current Kenan scholars, coincided with UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s centennial celebration.

As the revamped Kenan Scholars program prepares to graduate its first class of undergraduate scholars, Brown reflected on how the program has grown over the last few years. He said that, given the “raw intellectual horsepower” of undergraduates he has witnessed in his role as a Kenan-Flagler professor, the need for such a scholars program was great.

Brown’s description of Kenan-Flagler students was on full display as current Kenan scholars presented their research proposals to a faculty review panel and audience of alumni, fellow scholars and Kenan Institute staff. Faculty provided feedback on pitches and gave recommendations for moving forward with the research. Topics ranged from how CEO activism affects company valuations to changes in public arts education funding in New York. Junior Chris Karras pitched a project that looks at how global sportswear is responding to the “fast fashion” market. Karras plans to investigate how companies strategize marketing to promote sustainable fashion. As an example, he explained how Adidas is using ocean-harvested discarded plastics to create a sneaker made from 100% recycled materials. Karras noted that, despite this innovation, the shoe’s packaging and marketing does not emphasize this distinction.

As the Kenan Scholars alumni network grows, it is apparent that the connections former students made while in the program continue to flourish. The current Kenan scholars and program staff thank all the alumni who came out to reconnect and show their support for the program. Congratulations to all the Kenan scholars for their outstanding research pitches. We hope to see you all at next year’s Alumni Gathering!

“I would put our undergraduates up against undergraduates from any business school. Against any economic department. I would put our undergraduates up against other school’s MBA students!”

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