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Don Daseke '61 Receives McDermond Medal for Excellence in Entrepreneurship

May 6, 2015

Don R. Daseke, president and CEO of Daseke Inc. and 1961 graduate of DePauw University, was tonight presented with his alma mater's Robert C. McDermond Medal for Excellence in Entrepreneurship.  The presentation was made as Daseke, who is a member of DePauw's Board of Trustees, presented the the McDermond Lecture to the University's Management Fellows in the Memorial Student Union Building. (photo: Don Daseke with DePauw President Brian W. Casey)

The Robert C. McDermond Medal is named for the 1931 graduate of DePauw who endowed the University's Center for Management and Entrepreneurship and the Management Fellows Program. It is awarded to individuals who have played a key role in the formation or growth of an entrepreneurial business venture and/or assisted others in establishing entrepreneurial businesses and who have displayed creativity and innovation in entrepreneurial leadership.

An economics major at DePauw, Don Daseke earned his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business and graduated from the Harvard Business School's President's Program in Leadership. He was a founding director of the McDermond Center for Management & Entrepreneurship at DePauw.

Daseke Inc. is a family of open-deck/specialty transportation companies serving 49 states, Canada and Mexico. It is the parent company of Smokey Point Distributing Inc., E. W. Wylie Corporation, J. Grady Randolph Inc., Central Oregon Truck, WTI Transport, Boyd Bros. Transportation and Lone Star Transportation.

Daseke was previously the founder, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Walden Residential Properties, Inc., a $1.7 billion real estate investment trust formerly listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the force behind the creation of the Inn at DePauw.

A regional winner of the Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2014, Don Daseke has served on the Addison, Texas Town Council as well as the Addison Planning and Zoning Commission and was Mayor Pro Tempore in 2010. He's served non-profit organizations as past president and chairman of the WaterTower Theatre; is past chairman of the Dallas chapter of the World Presidents' Organization; served on the advisory council for the Cattle Baron's DSC 4996Ball in Dallas, the largest fundraiser in the United States for the American Cancer Society; and was on the executive committee for the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society.

"It seems perfectly appropriate that we're presenting this award to Don Daseke during the 35th anniversary of the McDermond Center for Management and Entrepreneurship and of DePauw's Management Fellows Program," noted director Michele T. Villinski. "Don was an original member of the McDermond Center's board of directors and his generosity helped create the facilities we're in today.  He's also been an inspiration for many DePauw students who aspire to walk the entrepreneurial path."

Previous winners of the McDermond Medal are:

  • 2014: Beth Owens ’89, co-founder and marketing strategist, BrandEra
  • 2013: Jenny Vance ’00, co-founder and president, LeadJen; founder and CEO, PlanSoon
  • 2011: Jeffrey Harmening ’89, senior vice president, General Mills; president, Big G Cereal Division
  • 2011: Kevin McCarty, co-founder & executive vice president, West Monroe Partners, LLC
  • 2010: Jan Risi ’81, president and CEO, Independent Purchasing Cooperative
  • 2009: Angie Hicks ‘95, founder & CMO, Angie’s List
  • 2008: David Becker ‘75, CEO and chairman, First East College Dusk Oct 2008.jpg Internet Bank of Indiana
  • 2007: Frank Hagaman, president, Partners in Housing Development Corporation
  • 2006: Allan Hubbard, assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the National Economic Council; president of E & A Industries
  • 2005: Patricia R. Miller, Secretary of Commerce, Indiana Department of Commerce
  • 2004: Jan Davidson, president and co-founder, The Davidson Institute
  • 2003: William A. Cook, CEO, Cook Group, Inc.
  • 2002: Jack M. Gill, Ph.D., senior advisor of CIMIT; research scientist, lecturer, Harvard Medical School
  • 2001: Jeffrey Smulyan, president, CEO and chairman of Emmis Communications
  • 2000: Richard M. Schulze, founder, chairman, and CEO of Best Buy Company, Inc.
  • 1999: Lawrence E. Young Jr. '84, principal, Carpediem Capital, Inc.
  • 1999: James W. Emison III '52, president and CEO Western Petroleum Company, Western International Trading Company, and Emison Enterprises
  • 1998: Keith Reinhard, chairman and CEO of DDB Needham
  • 1997: Judson Green '74, president, Walt Disney Attractions

DSC 5108Established as an honors program in 1980, the Management Fellows Program is open to students in any major who are interested in pursuing careers in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. In addition to completing coursework and a major in the liberal arts, Management Fellows complete a semester-long, paid internship in top national and international settings. Management Fellows graduates have gone on to distinguished careers in top companies and organizations throughout the country and world. They also have been accepted for graduate and professional study at some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions, including Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, University of Michigan and M.I.T.

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