It is with deepest gratitude – and some bittersweet sadness – that we share the announcement of the retirement of Dr. Bart Victor, Faculty Director of the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures (TFC) and former Cal Turner Professor of Moral Leadership at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management.
If students are the heart of the TFC, Bart has been the Center’s backbone – promoting student development and growth, and charting a path in higher education where students can connect, seek shared understanding of our world’s most pressing problems and opportunities, and resolve together to find lasting solutions. Bart has served with great conviction as the Faculty Director of the TFC since its founding in 2015, and since its origins in the Project Pyramid interdisciplinary international consulting course beginning in 2007, which he has taught for the past sixteen years.
Bart’s research focuses on the practical and moral dimensions of enterprise approaches to the alleviation of poverty, the ethical foundations of business, as well as the social and moral consequences of new organizational forms and the process of strategy making. Thus, it was natural that Bart was the faculty member that Vanderbilt graduate students approached when they learned of social enterprise and wanted a space to further explore how business might pursue higher social purpose. Bart cares deeply for the students who dare to ask bigger questions of themselves and their professions. With his support and leadership, students received initial funding from Cal Turner, Jr. in 2007 to launch Project Pyramid, and again in 2015 to create the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures – building opportunities for students to grow as leaders, thinkers, and doers.
Bart reminds us that leaders must know that poverty is about a lack of freedom, and must thus undertake steps to not only alleviate suffering, but to create opportunities for mutual and shared strength for true progress. Bart’s lasting influence will be firmly rooted in all of the students who find their way to the TFC. Through programming, experiences, and opportunities for growth, students from all disciplines have had the chance to learn more about what it takes to lead positive, lasting change in their fields due to Bart’s leadership and encouragement. As Bart famously repeats, the work of social enterprise and poverty alleviation is hard, and it rests in our commitment to: Remember Why. Support Each Other. Learn from Experience.