VSB to present ICE award for first time

Tara Powers

The Villanova School of Business will issue the Meyer Innovation and Creative Excellence Awards for the first time this May.

The awards were endowed by alumnus Patrick Meyer, Class of ’74, and will acknowledge one faculty member and one student whose creative and innovative work has distinguished them among their peers.

The idea for the award came about when Meyer was working as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee several years ago.

At that time, Villanova’s business school was beginning to move up in the rankings, and Meyer was interested in perpetuating that ascent.

“If you really want to upgrade the school as a way of keeping the ranking going, you need to bring contemporary business to the school,” Meyer said. “The innovation idea started there, and [Dean] Jim Danko and I kept working on that and talking about it. Eventually innovation was built into the curriculum for the business school.”

Meyer’s intention was to have the award act as a reflection of VSB’s commitment to innovation and creativity as one of handful of attributes it brings to students.

The emphasis is on creating greater awareness of these two qualities among faculty and students, not just the presentation of the award itself.

“A lot of people think of innovation as just the packaging of new technology,” Meyer said. “At the end of four years, students come away with not only a great Villanova education business-wise, morality-wise, learning how to work with people, but also in learning how to be very creative and innovative in their discipline.”

Meyer himself started as an engineering student before transferring into the business school and loving the work he did there.

He also found that new ideas were a big part of what he was doing even as a student on Villanova’s campus through charity and recruitment events he handled.

After receiving his MBA from Fordham University, Meyer went on to work in brand management and marketing with companies like Gillette, Coca-Cola and Nabisco before becoming the founder/CEO of WPP Fusion 5.

Currently, Meyers works as the CEO and founding partner of NOW Inc., a consulting firm highlighted for its aggression in innovation.

Innovation and creativity are certainly the forces that drove Meyer’s path to the business world.

His father, also a Villanova graduate, was a business and engineering major who went on to patent designs for steel handling equipment.

His innovation in those designs led the company he started to become the largest manufacturer of tractor attachments.

“When women were not making lots of money in the ’50s and ’60s, my mom was head creative director of an advertising agency,” Meyer said. “When I went through ‘Nova with those kind of parents, I had a different headset.”

“For me, creating a legacy of innovation and creativity for Villanova, which is a big thing for my family, was kind of the incentive and motivation,” Meyer said.

All VSB students are eligible to either self-nominate or nominate a fellow student by submitting a summary of why the nominee deserves this recognition and how his or her business idea, concept, approach or new program furthers VSB’s commitment to innovation and creativity.

“I think you need to have innovation as part of your curriculum because every one of my clients – CEOs and chief marketing officers and presidents, everyone – is keying on innovation as a way to drive business,” Meyer said.

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges including faculty, staff, students and a member of the Meyer family.

The panel will then recommend its top three candidates to Dean Danko for final selection.

The student winner will receive a $1,000 cash award, certificate and a statuette designed by Meyer – which is currently on display in the Bartley Atrium.

The original deadline for nominations was March 1, but VSB students were notified by Dean Danko that the deadline was extended to March 23.

Awards will be presented at the VSB Graduates Recognition Ceremony in May.