Peregrine Supports Gillette College

The Peregrine Global Foundation will contribute $100,000 to Gillette College officials to help spark creative business programs starting this fall. Peregrine Global , headquartered in Gillette, works with 250 colleges and universities in the U.S. and throughout the world in 27 countries. The organization also includes the Peregrine Leadership Institute. The company pledged $100,000 to support student and faculty research in the business program at the college. That will be matched by funding from the state of Wyoming.

“I think there is a need to better understand the economic value and construct of small business within Campbell County,” said Olin Oedekoven, CEO, president and co-owner and founder of Peregrine Global. “At the same time, I think there is an opportunity at Gillette College to become more engaged in the community through applied research.” Oedekoven said he envisions research efforts applicable to the community to help engage students in Gillette and in their classrooms, and by that very nature improve their learning. At the same time, community colleges aren’t where such research usually takes place because of lack of funding. So his pledge and state match will help change that. “My idea is this is one college well positioned to assist the community with applied research and … to influence decision makers,” he said. Oedekoven said part of his motivation is to bring some of the best educational practices he’s seen in use around the world to Gillette. “Our vision is to make a difference in the community, globally and in higher education,” he added.

Scott Engel, associate dean of academics at Gillette College, said he envisions the business department providing a resource for businesses in Campbell County through marketing research, research into consumer behaviors and more. Oedekoven said one of the first broad research efforts could be to quantify the effect of small businesses in Campbell County, particularly those not based on the energy industry. “There’s businesses largely independent of the energy industry and this would help us understand that,” he said. “I’m sure there’s other companies where a large majority are coming from outside Campbell County. They’re bringing in new money.”

The effort could include looking at a variety of industries in the community, including agriculture and its impact. “It would give us a better understanding and appreciation of small businesses,” Oedekoven said. “Then with that clarity, they can explore ways we can grow and expand that.” Students also could explore a variety of what-if scenarios involving the community too, which could provide invaluable insight. “We have similar interests,” Engel said of Oedekoven. “He shares my vision of the college. It’s research that’s not just theoretical. It will benefit the community. “It’s another step, really, that just strengthens the college.”

Engel said he’s in the midst of helping to revamp the business program with two instructors retiring this year and the hiring of new instructors. He hopes to expand the night offerings in business, and include courses aimed at marketing, entrepreneurship and the financial side of things. “Gillette is a business hub,” he noted, adding that with new businesses opening in Campbell County, the economic research will be a way to also help them. “The whole concept is making it useful. … I’m really excited about this. I think it’s great. “Our vision is to be able to provide the college with the necessary funding where professors and students can go out and conduct meaningful research,” Oedekoven said. “The sky’s the limit with what they discover and add value to our community.”

Tessa Robinson, a business student at Gillette College, also was on hand when Oedekoven recently presented an enlarged check for $100,000 to Engel and the college. “I think the community support of Gillette College is great,” she said. “I think it’s good that we are growing, both on campus and in the community. I think that is really important.”

“Peregrine donates $100,000 to college for business program, research”
By KATHY BROWN News Record Senior Writer 
Original article location: