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Sue Artmeier
Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

George Vlahakis
University Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Southwest Airlines founder headlines Kelley School of Business entrepreneurial event

Jan. 30, 2008

Editors: Reporters are welcome to cover the program, which will begin at 1 p.m. in the forum of the Graduate and Executive Education Center. Kelleher will be available to meet with reporters from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. in CG 0034. Please call George Vlahakis at 812-855-0846 for more information.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Herb Kelleher, founder and executive chairman of Southwest Airlines Co., will make a return visit to Indiana University's Kelley School of Business as the Distinguished Entrepreneur in Residence of the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation on Friday, Feb. 8, in Bloomington.

He will be the keynote speaker for the center's first IU Entrepreneurial Connection program. Kelleher visited the Kelley School in the spring of 2005.

Kelleher's speech, "Southwest Airlines from the Chairman's View," will lead into a larger discussion on the making of an entrepreneur. Registration is limited to Kelley School undergraduates and MBA students and faculty and staff. The event is not open to the public.

Joining Kelleher on a panel following the keynote will be Dr. Gary J. Anderson, founder and managing general partner of TL Ventures and a venture capitalist-in-residence at IU, and William L. Haeberle, professor emeritus of management in the Kelley School. Donald F. Kuratko, the Jack M. Gill Chair of Entrepreneurship and executive director of the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will moderate the discussion.

"In order to develop a new entrepreneurial initiative for our alumni and current students, we needed a nationally renowned entrepreneur to headline the day. There is no greater entrepreneurial success story than Herb Kelleher and Southwest Airlines," Kuratko said. "I am so pleased he was willing to provide a special return visit to the Kelley School of Business."

Following the panel discussion, there will be an entrepreneurial networking program. Kelley alumni with entrepreneurial experience have been invited to participate by giving "elevator" pitches about their companies, their services, hiring or internships availabilities or mentoring interests.

"This unique networking format will encourage our alumni to interact in an open venue where everyone can benefit by their appearance," Kuratko said. "We want the entrepreneurial alumni of the Kelley School of Business to know that they are genuinely important to us and that they can be a conduit to the future successes of our entrepreneurship program."

The Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation hopes to build on the achievement of this event to create an annual entrepreneurial networking forum for Kelley School students and alumni.

Kelleher launched Southwest Airlines with three airplanes in 1971, and today it operates a fleet of 513 airplanes performing more than 3,300 flights per day. Kelleher's company has been profitable for 34 consecutive years and has never furloughed an employee. In 2002, Money magazine revealed that, during the 30-year period of 1972 to 2002, Southwest produced the highest return to shareholders of any company included in the S&P 500 during that 30-year period: $10,000 invested in Southwest in 1972 was worth $10.2 million in 2002 (an average increase of 25.99 percent per year).

For the past 11 years, Fortune magazine has recognized Southwest Airlines in its annual survey of corporate reputations, and among all industries in 2007, Fortune has listed Southwest Airlines as No. 5 among America's Top Ten most admired corporations.

Kelleher has received numerous awards and honors, including the U.S. Chamber Business Leadership Hall of Fame; CEO of the Year from Chief Executive magazine; CEO of the Century, Texas Monthly magazine; National Sales and Marketing Hall of Fame; U.S. Master Entrepreneur, Inc. magazine; CEO of the Decade-Airline Industry, Financial World magazine; Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy; and induction into San Diego Aerospace Hall of Fame; and the business halls of fame of the State of Texas, the University of Texas, Texas A&M University and the City of Dallas.

Kelleher graduated with honors from Wesleyan University, where he was an Olin Scholar and where his major was English and his minor philosophy, and from New York University Law School, where he was a Root-Tilden Scholar.

For more information, call 812-855-4248.