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In This Issue

       

Fran Jabara leaves behind a profound legacy, fond memories, admiration of many

Photo of Fran Jabara
Fran Jabara was an esteemed entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Fran Jabara’s name is forever linked to Wichita State University.

Not only did Mr. Jabara found the WSU Center for Entrepreneurship, one of the first such centers in the country, but his contributions to Wichita State’s excellence were recognized in 1996 with the naming of Jabara Hall. He received the WSU President’s Medal in 2002.

Mr. Jabara — an accounting professor at Wichita State for 40 years, dean of the business school for seven and one of the university’s most revered leaders — died July 25 at the age of 90. At Mr. Jabara’s funeral, the Very Rev. Paul O’Callaghan said that the pioneering business leader touched the lives of thousands, using his own successes to improve the fortunes of others.

“As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats,” the minister said. “His successes literally lifted thousands of others into greater prosperity and success.”

Among those who can testify to that is David MitchellDavid Mitchell, a 1972 graduate of Wichita State who took classes from Mr. Jabara on his way to earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting. Mr. Jabara was not only a mentor and friend, but he also loaned Mitchell money to make business investments and counseled him on numerous business decisions.

“I’ll always be indebted to him, because he changed the opportunities for my family and my children,” Mitchell said.

Mr. Jabara joined the faculty of the University of Wichita in 1949, a career that would span 40 years. He served as dean for seven years of the College of Business Administration, now the W. Frank Barton School of Business. In 1977, he founded the WSU Center for Entrepreneurship, one of the nation’s first university-based centers. He also co-founded the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs, the largest national organization for collegiate students interested in entrepreneurship.

In 2001, he received the Barton School of Business Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award as the most influential professor in the history of the school.

Mr. Jabara also was recognized nationally for his business acumen and his commitment to teaching entrepreneurship as a business skill and philosophy. After retiring from Wichita State in 1989, he founded Jabara Ventures Group, a private equity and investment firm, with his son Harvey. They developed many successful business deals with various associates in subsequent years.

In 1999, Mr. Jabara and his wife, GeriGeri Jabara, established the Professor Fran Jabara Endowed Scholarship in Entrepreneurship with a generous gift to Wichita State. They also created the Geri and Fran Jabara Endowed Library Fund and contributed to many other scholarships, programs and projects in support of Wichita State.

“Fran Jabara’s influence on Wichita State and the impact he had on hundreds of his students and colleagues cannot be overstated,” says Elizabeth King, president and CEO of the WSU Foundation. “His legacy is enormous and will live on for many, many years.”

Mr. Jabara graduated from Oklahoma A&M University with a degree in accounting in 1948. He earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University. His first job out of college was teaching accounting at Wichita State.

He married Geri Ablah in 1956 and together they had three children. Mr. Jabara is survived by his wife, his children and three grandsons, as well as two sisters. Memorials have been established with St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral in Wichita and the Professor Fran Jabara Endowment Scholarship Fund at Wichita State.