Dennis Barsema wins Beta Gamma Sigma's 2015 Medallion for Entrepreneurship

International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma is pleased to announce that Dennis Barsema – management instructor at Northern Illinois University and chair of the NIU Foundation – is a 2015 recipient of the prestigious Medallion for Entrepreneurship Award.

The Northern Illinois University College of Business (NIU) nominated Barsema for demonstrating “significant entrepreneurial spirit and initiative, as well as humanitarian leadership, which have led to impactful accomplishments, benefiting a large and diverse set of people across the globe.” 

Beta Gamma Sigma awards the Medallion for Entrepreneurship to outstanding individuals who combine innovative business achievement with service to humanity. The Medallion was established to provide appropriate recognition to those individuals and firms who contribute significantly to the vitality and strength of the economy, combining innovative business achievement with service to humanity.

Barsema is a leader in the for-profit corporate world with an impressive list of accomplishments in the private sector. He has subsequently applied his entrepreneurial abilities and personal resources to the area of social entrepreneurship, and is the visionary behind the development of this area of study at NIU Business. Additionally, Barsema transformed the culture of NIU’s College of Business when he funded the creation of its world-class academic facility. Barsema Hall – named in honor of Dennis and his wife Stacey Barsema – opened in 2002 and, since that time, has served tens of thousands of students in Illinois, around the country, and the world. 

Along with his long-standing achievements in business and service to humanity, Barsema is an NIU Business alumnus who believes in the university so greatly that he volunteers his time and talents as a faculty member, mentor, and leader at NIU.

“To receive the Beta Gamma Sigma Medallion for Entrepreneurship is a profound honor,” Barsema said. “It means a great deal to me to be selected by such an outstanding organization of passionate and highly regarded student scholars, faculty scholars, and colleagues from around the world. I am greatly moved by this recognition from Beta Gamma Sigma and those who have long placed their focus on the intersection of impactful business and service to humanity.” 

“Dennis is an amazing individual,” said NIU Business Dean Denise Schoenbachler. “He’s down to earth and humble and, at the same time, so visionary in the things he does. His passion for making a difference is evident in everything he’s involved in, whether it’s in business, teaching and mentoring students, on the field with social entrepreneurs, or leading and inspiring colleagues in the boardroom or in day-to-day friendships. The college and the university are so incredibly fortunate to have him. He’s truly a constant source of inspiration and pride for NIU.”

Chartered in 1985, Northern Illinois University is a comprehensive teaching and research institution with a diverse and international student enrollment of approximately 20,000. Its main DeKalb campus is located in the vibrant research and development corridor that lies between Chicago and Rockford. The university also operates education centers in Naperville, Oregon, Rockford and Hoffman Estates to offer NIU programs. 

The NIU College of Business is among an elite 1 percent group of business schools worldwide to achieve AACSB International accreditation at all levels, which the college has earned continuously since 1969. Founded in 1961, NIU Business is nationally recognized in academic and industry circles for its teaching, research, and public service. Distinguished by its ability to narrow the gap between thinking and achieving, the college provides students with broad academic excellence combined with hands-on learning situations in organizations.

Beta Gamma Sigma is the premier international honor society, serving business programs accredited by AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive in an accredited program. Beta Gamma Sigma has established 550 collegiate chapters in countries around the world, and inducted nearly 780,000 outstanding students into membership since its founding in 1913. Society members serve in corporate, government, non-profit, educational, and other management positions at every level of responsibility. Members currently reside in all 50 U.S. states and more than 160 countries around the world. For more information, see