Majors’ gift to encourage innovation, creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship


SUMMARY: Majors name the Major Laboratory for Innovation, Collaboration, Creativity and Entrepreneurship in the future College of Business Learning Complex.

Eric (’91) and Lara Parker (’92) Major of Purcellville, Va., have announced a seven-figure gift from the Major Family Foundation to name the Major Laboratory for Innovation, Collaboration, Creativity and Entrepreneurship in the future College of Business Learning Complex. They announced their gift Friday, Oct. 26, during the groundbreaking of the business headquarters, which was part of the public launch of Unleashed: The Campaign for James Madison University.

The College of Business Learning Complex is one of three capital priorities of the university’s $200 million comprehensive campaign. The Majors’ gift is part of the private-public partnership to fund the $78.3 million business facility. JMU donors are privately funding more than $15 million of the total, and the balance will be funded by an appropriation by the General Assembly of Virginia.

“Our donors are helping to build the very foundation for how business will be taught and how it will be practiced in a world where the stakes and the complexities are enormous,” says College of Business Interim Dean Mike Busing.

The Majors’ naming of the laboratory highlights a focus of the business college as well as a campuswide culture of innovation, collaboration, creativity and entrepreneurship.

“The Major Laboratory will be a place for students of any discipline to come together and roll up their sleeves to create solutions to problems and hatch entrepreneurial ideas,” Busing says.

The campuswide mission is what attracted the Majors to the ICCE Lab.

“We feel particularly passionate about supporting programs that have an interdisciplinary impact,” Lara Major says. “We like the fact that the lab will promote entrepreneurial thinking among students and faculty from every college.”

Eric Major started K2M Inc., NASDAQ:KTWO, and the company has hired many JMU graduates over the years. “We feel there is a strong connection between the ICCE lab and the entrepreneurial spirit of K2M’s employees, especially those who graduated from JMU,” says Eric Major, president, CEO and co-founder. “That is one of the biggest reasons we are supporting the ICCE lab.”

“We know how powerful it can be to have a group of Dukes collaborating under one roof,” she says. “If you walk through the halls of K2M, you’ll see countless JMU diplomas hanging on the walls. Eric and I have been very fortunate to benefit from the collaboration and entrepreneurial spirit of those Madison grads. We want to play a role in the growth of more JMU entrepreneurs and we believe the ICE lab will help do that.”

The Majors’ own educational and professional background demonstrates the importance of collaborating across disciplines and demonstrates the importance of a well-rounded JMU education, the dean says.

“As both of us are graduates of colleges outside of the COB, it’s important to us that our support go to an endeavor that encourages entrepreneurial thinking in students from all disciplines, not just those studying business,” Lara Major says.

Eric Major, a JMU political science graduate, serves on the College of Business Board of Advisors and the board of the Center for Entrepreneurship. K2M Inc. is a fast-growing global medical device company focused on developing innovative surgical solutions for the most complex spinal pathologies. Major previously co-founded and served as the president and CEO of American OsteoMedix Corp., a minimally invasive spinal device company that was acquired by Interpore Cross International in 2001.

Lara Major, a JMU early childhood education graduate, currently serves as vice rector of the JMU Board of Visitors and as a member of the College of Education Executive Advisory Council. She is an educational consultant and has held positions as a teacher, reading specialist and instructor at the University of Virginia.

“We are so grateful for all of the hardworking employees of K2M who have helped make the company a global success,” she says. “We feel incredibly blessed.”

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Published: Saturday, October 27, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

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