Liberal arts background helped three awardees succeed in business
September 7, 2017
By Mike Killeen
When the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University presents its seventh Entrepreneur of the Year awards to three graduates, you would tend to think that they all majored in business, accounting or economics.
After all, to succeed in the business world you need a solid business education, right?
But the three graduates who will be honored from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, at the Metropolitan Ballroom & Clubroom, 5418 Wayzata Boulevard, Golden Valley, used their broad liberal arts backgrounds they had at CSB and SJU to launch and grow their ventures.
- The CSB Entrepreneur of the Year award will be presented to Megan Junius, president and creative director at Peter Hill Design. She was an art major.
- The SJU Entrepreneur of the Year award will be presented to Scott Becker, founder and managing partner of Northstar Capital, LLC. He was a history major.
- The CSB/SJU Social Entrepreneur of the Year award will be presented to Peter Rothstein, founding artistic director of Theater Latté Da. He was a music and theater double-major.
“I come from a family of business people, and I’m the one getting an entrepreneurship award,” Rothstein said, smiling.
The CSB and SJU Entrepreneur of the Year awards recognize the achievements of CSB and SJU graduates, respectively, who best exemplify the ideals of entrepreneurship by starting and successfully managing one or more businesses in a way that demonstrates notable entrepreneurial characteristics and achievements while practicing Benedictine values in the workplace and in their lives.
The CSB/SJU Social Entrepreneur of the Year award recognizes the achievements and qualities of a CSB or SJU graduate who best exemplifies the ideals of social entrepreneurship by starting and successfully managing one or more ventures that enriches humanity or addresses a social issue in a way that demonstrates notable entrepreneurial characteristics and achievements while practicing Benedictine values in the workplace and in their lives.
By presenting these awards, the Donald McNeely Center recognizes and celebrates successful alumnae/i entrepreneurs who embody the entrepreneurial spirit and demonstrate the Benedictine values in their professional and personal lives. The awards have been presented annually since 2011.
Junius, CSB class of 1999, leads Peter Hill Design, a full-service and award-winning creative design and marketing firm with over 20 years of successful brand, promotional and advertising work.
She’s always had the entrepreneurial spirit. Growing up, she sold scrunchies made out of her old school uniforms.
“Being an art major … you always think of things differently,” Junius said. “Being an entrepreneur and trying to make money out of things wasn’t exactly always what you were trying to do, but it’s led me to where I’m at today.”
Junius said one of the most important things she did while attending CSB was be a student employee in the Office of Marketing and Communication.
“It was a great experience to get me launched into the work field,” she said.
Becker, SJU class of 1977, is a founder and managing partner of Northstar Capital, LLC.
Early on, Becker determined that education would be important. He went to night classes to receive an MBA from the University of Minnesota and a law degree from the William Mitchell College of Law.
“That was important because it allowed me to have a bit of differentiation versus others and some skill sets maybe that others didn’t have,” he said.
He also learned many skills he still uses today from former SJU football coach John Gagliardi, such as being well-prepared, making adjustments to a plan and facing adversity.
“I still carry forward a lot of the lessons that John taught us,” Becker said. “He formed us as young men in the ways of the Benedictine values, and his leadership was very instrumental, not just for me but for so many young men.”
Rothstein, a 1988 SJU graduate, works as a director of musical theater, opera and a supporter of new musical theater works. Theater Latté Da, a Twin Cities-based company dedicated to adventurous music-theater, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
He began his career at SJU considering a career in psychology, but decided instead to add theater as his second major (along with music), thanks to Sister Nancy Hynes OSB, his freshman symposium professor.
“In March or April, Sister Nancy literally took me by the hand, walked me across campus to the theater department into Kerry Lafferty’s office (then chair of the theater department) and said, ‘This is Peter and he will be a theater major.’ Truly, if it had not been for Sister Nancy, I would not have had the courage to knock on the door and say yes, I’m going to do this.
“I really credit her with knowing (theater) was my passion, and making sure I followed that,” Rothstein said.
There are three individual admission options for the event. A $75 Accelerator Admission includes event admission, two drink tickets and fast track access at the Accelerator Bar featuring CSB/SJU beverages; a $50 Event Admission includes event admission and access to cash bar stations; and a $40 Young Alum Admission includes a discounted admission for 2012-2017 class years, event admission and access to cash bar stations (limited to first 100). Tickets can be purchased online.