BYU Forms Center for Economic Self-Reliance

Jun 05 2003

Brigham Young University officials announce the creation of the Center for Economic Self-Reliance to oversee and coordinate the university’s ongoing initiatives to help families throughout the world become economically self-reliant.

The new center will bring together the annual Microenterprise Conference, Journal of Microfinance and research and fieldwork support. Formation of the center was initiated by a $3 million contribution from Bob and Lynette Gay, recent recipients of BYU's 2003 President's Award for their ongoing support of BYU.

"The university is very pleased to announce the creation of the Center for Economic Self-Reliance to be housed in the Marriott School of Management," says Sandra Rogers, BYU vice president for international affairs. "BYU has a tradition of scholarship in several important aspects of family economic self-reliance. This new center has the potential to bring together scholars and students from many fields to advance the understanding of theories and methodologies that can improve economic conditions for families."

Marriott School Dean Ned C. Hill intends the new academic center to become the recognized leader and clearinghouse for information and best practices in the microenterprise movement — benefiting economically vulnerable families and their communities.

"I see it as a perfect way to combine our knowledge of management with the ideals and concerns our students and faculty have to help God’s children," Hill says.

Warner Woodworth, Marriott School professor of organizational leadership and strategy, says, "So far, our efforts have led to over 100 presentations at academic conferences, three Fulbright grants, three books, 30 published articles and two-dozen honors and masters theses at BYU." He adds, "The new center is in some ways the culmination of 10-15 years of developing new courses in microcredit, third-world studies, social entrepreneurship, non-governmental organization management, and strategies for family self-reliance."

Todd Manwaring was named managing director of the center and Gibb Dyer, O.L. Stone Professor of Entrepreneurship, was named academic director.

"I believe the Center for Economic Self-Reliance can become one of the premiere centers in the world for sponsoring research that will have a significant impact on the lives of those who are struggling to become self-reliant," Dyer says.

"Bob and I are honored to participate in the establishment of the Center for Economic Self-Reliance and encourage others to join us in building this program," says Lynette Gay. "We are excited by the center’s potential to help families break out of the cycle of poverty."

For more information about the Center for Economic Self-Reliance call 801-422-9009 or email

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems, organizational behavior and entrepreneurship. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

Contact Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938 or 787-9989
Writer: Burke Olsen (801) 422-1512