AUSTIN, Texas—John Sibley Butler, director of the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship and the IC2 Institute at The University of Texas at Austin, was presented the Booker T. Washington Legacy Award June 4 by The New Coalition for Economic and Social Change, a nonprofit devoted to advancing conservative multiculturalism.
Butler, a professor of management at the McCombs School of Business, was honored because of his research on the importance of business enterprise for wealth creation and job creation. As director of the Kelleher Center and the IC2 Institute, Butler has been dedicated to both the teaching and the “doing” of entrepreneurship.
“My father, who held degrees in agriculture and was a country agent and entrepreneur in Louisiana during his lifetime, considered Booker T. Washington among the greatest of all Americans,” Butler said. “It was a delight to meet Booker T. Washington’s granddaughter, who was present at the awards ceremony.”
Butler has published extensively in the area of organizational science and entrepreneurship. His publications include “Immigrant and Minority Entrepreneurship: The Continuous Birth of American Communities” (with George Kozmetsky); “All That We Can Be: Black Leadership and Racial Integration the Army Way” (with Charles C. Moskos); and “Entrepreneurship and Self-Help Among Black Americans: A Reconsideration of Race and Economics.”
The award was given in Chicago at a conference to celebrate Booker T. Washington’s 150th birthday. Booker T. Washington was the founder of the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), an institution dedicated to teaching former slaves the practical skills needed to succeed at farming or other trades. One of his major goals was to introduce students to wealth creation through entrepreneurship.
Washington’s legacy also includes hiring George Washington Carver as a professor at Tuskegee. An agricultural chemist and inventor, Carver created hundreds of applications for peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans and pecans, as well as helping southern farmers economically through improvements to practical items such as adhesives, bleach, ink, instant coffee and paper. Carver also invented the crop rotation method, which was revolutionary for southern farmers and the national economy.