Orlando Magic founder Pat Williams to speak at Wake Forest, receive award

By Pam Barrett
April 4, 2006

Pat Williams, co-founder and senior vice president of the NBA team the Orlando Magic, will speak at Wake Forest University at 6 p.m. April 19 in Benson University Center, Room 401. The lecture, sponsored by the Wake Forest Entrepreneurship Society (E-Society), is free and open to the public.

Pat Williams

Following the lecture, Williams will be awarded the first Wake Forest Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award at an invitation-only banquet co-hosted by the Office of Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts and the E-Society. The Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, achievement and social responsibility and will serve as an inspiration to students, faculty and staff.

"Pat Williams has excelled as an entrepreneur not only in the professional sports business, but also as a writer and motivational speaker. He embodies the entrepreneurial spirit through his continuous pursuit of opportunity and his passion to encourage others," said Adam Mayer, Wake Forest sophomore and president of the E-Society.

Other awards will also be given to students, faculty and staff for extraordinary achievements in entrepreneurship. Student awards will recognize individuals who embody the entrepreneurial spirit in thought and action and who have launched new ventures in the categories of scientific, artistic, social, web-based and commercial entrepreneurship. Faculty and staff awards will be given for significant contributions to the development of new entrepreneurship programs, for incorporating entrepreneurship into liberal arts courses and for student mentoring.

Williams, a Wake Forest graduate, co-founded the Orlando Magic in 1987 and helped lead them to the NBA finals in 1995. Twenty-three of his teams have gone to the NBA play-offs, and five of them have made the NBA finals. In 1996, a national publication named Williams one of the 50 most influential people in NBA history.

Williams has served as general manager of several other NBA teams, played pro baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies and worked in baseball management for both the Phillies and the Minnesota Twins.

He came to Wake Forest on a baseball scholarship and is a member of the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame.

Today, in addition to working with the Orlando Magic, Williams is a popular motivational speaker, radio show host and author of more than 30 books.

He and his wife, Ruth, have 19 children, 14 of whom were adopted from four different nations. His family has been featured in numerous publications and television and radio shows.

The E-Society at Wake Forest became an official club in the spring of 2006. The group encourages the entrepreneurial spirit within the Wake Forest community and acts as a resource for students looking to start their own ventures. The group's speaker series helps provide insight into the real world of entrepreneurship.

For more information about the lecture, visit www.wfuesociety.com or call (336) 758-3153.