Dan Wildcat is named the 1998 Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner by the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Dan Wildcat has never thought of himself as an entrepreneur in the strictest sense of the word.
So when colleagues encouraged him to apply for the Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award sponsored by the University of Missouri-Kansas City Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration, Wildcat hesitated. But then he got to thinking about what being an entrepreneur really means -- taking risks -- and decided to take a chance.
Being an entrepreneur is not limited to financial wealth, said Wildcat, the director of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center, on Wednesday.
For many Native Americans, Wildcat said, wealth equals "the number of good relationships you're able to maintain. At the center we're trying to build relationships between tribes, between federal agencies, between research land grant institutions, other non-profit organizations and foundations. In a way, we're building relationships. So in that sense, I thought, maybe I am an entrepreneur."
Today, Wildcat, a faculty member of American Indian studies at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, will join USA Today founder Al Neuharth and others at an awards ceremony honoring their entrepreneurial spirit.
The Bloch school has named Wildcat the 1998 recipient of the award in recognition of his contributions to Haskell's research center and other accomplishments.
Wildcat, a Kansas University graduate and Lawrence resident who is well known for his efforts to promote cultural diversity, said he doesn't deserve all the credit for the center.
"It really honors the entire staff, who give 150 percent every day," he said.
The non-profit indigenous research center helps tribal governments and native communities gain access to technology and accurate environmental information and facilitates research opportunities for tribal college students and faculty.
The center also is involved in developing curriculum, Wildcat said.
A member of the Yuchi Tribe of Oklahoma, Wildcat is working on an interdisciplinary doctoral degree in public administration and social science at UMKC.
The awards program is set to begin at 7 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center, 2345 McGee.
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