The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Gordon Ford College of Business at Western Kentucky University was honored at the Small Business Institute Annual Conference in San Diego.

Whitney Peake, Vitale Professor of Entrepreneurship and assistant professor of management, was awarded the Homer L. Saunders Mentor Award, according to a news release. The award identifies an SBI member who is deserving of recognition for outstanding contribution to the training and development of students.

Peake has been a professor at WKU since 2014.

“My personal goal has always been able to pay forward all the excellent mentoring I have received from others in any way possible, so to be presented with a mentoring award for my work with the SBI projects is an incredible honor,”  Peake said in the release.

The student group that Peake mentored through her small business analysis and strategy course took home second-place honors during the Undergraduate Project of the Year contest. Brad Chambers, Tyler Morris, Kimberly Jane Spears and Austin Stauffer consulted with Mary Jane’s Chocolates, a Bowling Green business owned by Gary and Mary Jane Meszaros. Chambers, Spears, and Stauffer traveled with Peake to the conference to showcase their project and receive the award.

Peake also won the SBI Best Practices Award for her work on integrating a systems approach into the introductory entrepreneurship course and having it recognized as a campuswide Colonnade course. Best practices were judged on the quality of content, innovativeness, positive outcomes and the presentation quality.

— Follow business reporter Charles A. Mason on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit


Charles Allen Mason is the business reporter for the Daily News. He is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a 1977 graduate of West Virginia University in Morgantown. In his spare time he enjoys reading, music, sports and cooking.

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