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Wichita’s Jack DeBoer to Present at Harter Business Lecture

posted Mar 29, 2012 in CAMPUS EVENTS

One of Kansas’s most prominent entrepreneurs – Jack DeBoer – will talk about his business philosophy at the McPherson College Harter Lecture noon April 17 in Mingenback Theatre.

DeBoer has summarized his story and the business principles that guide him in the book “Risk Only Money”, which encourages entrepreneurs to pursue success, but not at the expense of family, friends or reputation. His lecture will also be on this topic.

“Entrepreneurs are by nature overly optimistic,” DeBoer said. “I’m no different, but I’ve managed to pair a little bit of luck with my optimism. I live by the mantra that ‘Success is never permanent. But neither is failure.’”

He is recognized as a pioneer in the “all-suite hotel” concept – providing spacious hotel suites with multiple rooms that feel more like a comfortable apartment and offering amenities like an attached living room or kitchen. He designed the first Residence Inn all-suite hotel in 1975, co-founded Summerfield Suites in 1976 and founded Candlewood Suites in 1995. He also founded Value Place in 2002, which builds on the concept of a short-term apartment. He’s currently co-owner and chairman of the board of Hix Corporation in Pittsburg, Kan., which supplies food and printing equipment worldwide.

DeBoer started his entrepreneurial path as a teenager in Michigan, selling real estate as his summer job. After graduating from Michigan State University and serving in Korea, he partnered with his father to build homes. Later he shifted to apartments and by 1973 had built 16,000 apartments in 25 states, becoming the nation’s second-largest developer of multi-family housing.

Among his civic activities, DeBoer served as president of the Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce, served on the board of the Greater Wichita Community Foundation and helped found the Wichita State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship. He’s been awarded the “Uncommon Citizen” award from the Wichita Chamber of Commerce, was inducted to the Wichita Business Hall of Fame and was given the UCLA hotel industry Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Steve Gustafson, professor of music, coordinates the lecture series every year. He said that in addition to the formal lecture, DeBoer will meet with business students to share his experiences and business philosophies as they apply to their education and professional preparation.

“Jack DeBoer’s lecture ties well with McPherson College’s emphasis on entrepreneurship in the liberal arts and the opportunities students have to explore or carry out an original entrepreneurial idea,” Dr. Gustafson said.

The Harter Lecture in Business is named for McPherson College Alumni Jack and Eleanor Harter. The Harter’s met during their student days at McPherson, Jack served for many years as a member of the trustee board, and both have given generously of their time, leadership skills, and resources.


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