Missouri Valley College, Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship celebrate 10 years

Monday, April 18, 2016
(From left to right) Missouri Valley College President Bonnie Humphrey and Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship International Advisor Benoit Wesly are awarded a resolution honoring the 10-year anniversary of the institute by State Representative Dean Dohrman on behalf of the Missouri General Assembly Monday, April 18. MVC and MIE also received recognition from the office of Governor Jay Nixon, who issued a proclamation in commemoration of the anniversary.(Arron Hustead/Democrat-News)

For the 10th year, a group of business leaders and entrepreneurs from across the United States and The Netherlands flocked to Missouri Valley College for the Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship.

Named after the city of Maastricht in the Netherlands, the institute features lectures, seminars and round-table discussions with both domestic and international business leaders. Students and community members registered to attend the three-day institute have the opportunity to compare and contrast domestic and international business philosophies and environments with the goal of fostering an atmosphere of receptiveness and creativity toward comparative entrepreneurial processes.

"From its humble beginnings, the Maastricht Institute was really a concept in the minds of three campus leaders -- Benoit Wesly, Ed Elliot, and... I was involved in that from the very beginning," MVC President Bonnie Humphrey said during the institute's opening remarks Monday, April 18. "They really jumped into it and did a great job designing this marvelous institute, and since that time, the entire community of learners from our campus, from the city of Marshall, the speakers themselves, Valley friends and alums from around the country, have really collaborated to make this a truly unique experience in American higher education."

The institute will continue until Wednesday, April 20, with three different business leaders or business teams serving as guest speakers during the morning lectures, as well as participating in afternoon breakout sessions and discussions.

Wesly, a European hotel magnate and founder of the Xelat Group, founded the institute and serves as its keynote speaker this year.

"Arriving here always feels like a homecoming to me," Wesly said. "Despite the long trek, this college is a warm and welcoming place to me. It also is a place where something in which I believe really is happening. This is where enlightened minds are formed, to a large degree. [These] are the minds that will determine our future. This is a place of optimism."

In a commemorative video played during the opening session, Wesly spoke from the World War II Netherlands American Cemetery, the final resting place for more than 104,000 American troops, explaining his reasons for founding the institute.

"We had been liberated by your American guys in September 1944, and I wanted to do something in return because you give me back our freedom, our light," Wesley said. "This is why I came to the Midwest -- to show my appreciation, to thank the people of the greatest nation on Earth by sharing knowledge, by sharing experience, and I'm very grateful that Missouri Valley College gave me this wonderful opportunity."

In honor of the anniversary, the college and institute received special recognition Monday from Governor Jay Nixon, as well as the Missouri General Assembly. Humphrey and Benoit accepted framed copies of a gubernatorial proclamation and a resolution from the state legislature.

"More than 100 professionals from the United States and the European Union have played a vital role in the success of the Maastricht Institute and the education of students and other members," Institute Director Larry Stockman read from the governor's proclamation.

Speakers throughout the week at the institute will include two MVC alumni, Kasey Chism, owner and operator of Horse Hydrator LLC, from the class of 2012 and Phillip Kassel, chief operating officer of FIT - Fully Integrated Teams, from the class of 2000. Additionally, former Marshall native Kristy Miller and her husband, Brian, founders of Hi-Fi Colour Design in Phoenix, Ariz., spoke during the Monday session. For a full schedule of speakers and events, visit moval.edu/maastricht.

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