Shining Jewel

UT Austin appoints millionaire jewelry designer to prestigious faculty position

UT Austin appoints millionaire jewelry designer to faculty position

Kendra Scott headshot
Kendra Scott joins UT's faculty as a professor of practice. Photo courtesy of UT College Fine Arts

Kendra Scott has a new job to add to her CV: university professor. The Austin-based jewelry designer, entrepreneur, and member of Forbes' America's Richest Self-Made Women list, is now a member of the University of Texas at Austin faculty. 

Scott joins the prestigious school as a professor of practice at UT College of Fine Arts. The college is also home to Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) Institute, a partnership between the CEO and the university that launched in 2019 as a multi-disciplinary program designed to empower women in business. The institute's specially designed space opens this semester in the Doty Fine Arts Building.

For the fall 2020 semester, Scott will co-teach Women in Entrepreneurship alongside Jan Ryan, who also serves as WEL's executive director. According to a news release, the new three-credit course "is designed to provide hands-on, tangible tools to equip and empower female entrepreneurs" and will consist of lectures, experiential exercises, and guest speakers — including many from the Kendra Scott brand. 

“I’m honored to join the university as a professor of practice, and am so excited for the opportunity to work directly with this next generation of courageous leaders,” Scott said. “We’ve seen a real hunger for programming and classes that lift up and support aspiring female entrepreneurs, and I am eager to further our work with the WEL Institute by bringing my own experience and expertise to the classroom.”

"The class," notes a release, "will immerse students in the core tenets of creating a new business, will expose the obstacles and challenges women face in contemporary society and will offer strategies to overcome them."

Joining the students will be Scott and members of her executive team who will provide real-world examples of decision making and problem solving. Scott famously built her $1 billion brand beginning in 2002 with just $500 in capital. Today, Kendra Scott boasts more than 100 stores — including its South Congress flagship — and Forbes calculates Scott's personal empire to be worth more than $500 million.

“Uniquely, this class will allow us to offer a ‘live’ case study of one of the most innovative brands in retail today,” Ryan said. “We want students in this class to walk away with the tools they need to feel empowered to take control of their careers.”

Like the institute itself, the class is open to UT students of all genders and majors. The inaugural session will have 30 students, all of whom signed up last semester, and will be taught remotely due to COVID-19. Eventually, it will be held on campus at the institute's center in Doty.