Indiana University is mourning the loss of the creator of one of the nation’s first collegiate entrepreneurship programs. Bill Haeberle, who taught at the Kelley School of Business for nearly 40 years, passed away last week at the age of 95.
Haeberle taught at the Kelley School from 1946 until 1984, and remained an active emeritus faculty member for several more years. His students included Kelley alumnus, Dallas Mavericks owner and AXS Television Chairman Mark Cuban.
In 1959, he organized IU’s first course in entrepreneurship, and initiated an internship program seven years later that would become the National Entrepreneurship Academies. Haeberle led the Indiana Executive Program, offering courses, coaching and certificate-to-degree opportunities, from 1958 to 1984. He also helped found what today is the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship.
Haeberle was born in 1922 in Maywood, Indiana, which is now part of Indianapolis. He graduated from Ben Davis High School and earned his bachelor’s degree in business before serving in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946. After World War II, he returned to IU to earn his Master’s and doctorate degrees.
Kelley School Dean Idie Kesner says Haeberle’s "forward-thinking mindset was the foundation" of the school’s entrepreneurship and executive education programs. He received the Indiana Heartland Entrepreneur of the Year award from Arthur Young and Inc. magazine in 1989 and was inducted into the Institute of American Entrepreneurs.
"He challenged norms and inspired his colleagues and students to go beyond their comfort zones," says Kesner, "firm in his belief that complacency and risk aversion were obstacles to personal excellence."