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Mark Little named executive director of Kenan Institute

Mark G. Little has been named executive director of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School.

“Mark has an outstanding talent for creating successful new initiatives,” said Gregory W. Brown, Kenan Institute director, professor of finance and Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Scholar at UNC Kenan-Flagler. “His academic and policy experience will be especially beneficial to the Kenan Institute and UNC Kenan-Flagler.”

Little has been a senior leader at the Kenan Institute since 2011 and served as both interim director and interim executive director. Under his leadership, the Kenan Institute has received increased grant funding and expanded its impact in North Carolina and beyond. Little led the development and launch of several new Kenan Institute programs: Technology Commercialization Carolina, a $1.1 million initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce; the Kenan Institute Research Fellowship, which supports the Institute’s academic research on entrepreneurship, economic progress and global business; and NCGrowth, a program funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration that seeks to radically transform North Carolina’s rural and under-served communities.

Prior to joining UNC Kenan-Flagler, Little served on the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs as a Congressional Science Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was selected as a visiting professor and Luce Scholar at the Peking University College of Environmental Sciences in China.

Little was recently elected to the governing council of the Geological Society of America, a global professional society of more than 26,000 individuals in 115 countries, and is a co-author of the United Nations’ most recent Global Environment Outlook. He received his PhD in geology and geophysics from Rice University and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in earth and planetary science.

“I am delighted to be named executive director of Kenan Institute,” said Little. “I look forward to working alongside Kenan Institute director Greg Brown to further the Institute’s work at the intersection of academics, policy and private-sector business, and to leading initiatives that will generate new knowledge, improve lives and create economic opportunity North Carolina and around the world.”

“Mark is deeply committed to the work of the Kenan Institute,” said Douglas A. Shackelford, dean and Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation at UNC Kenan-Flagler. “His genuine interest in applied research and experience in academics, business and public policy are tremendous assets to the Kenan Institute and UNC.”

Since 1985, the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise has encouraged cooperative efforts among privately owned businesses, higher education and government. More than a “think tank,” it connects people and organizations, creates opportunities and resources, and accelerates the achievements of its partners. The Institute’s work is focused on helping innovative entrepreneurs, supporting economic development in North Carolina and building bridges with other educational institutions for research activities.

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