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Jay Ducote, runner-up on the 11th season of Food Network Star, will address the Lycoming College and Williamsport communities as the inaugural speaker of the College’s entrepreneurship lecture series. The event will take place April 24, 7 p.m., at the Community Arts Center in downtown Williamsport.
Since the program’s debut less than one year ago, Lycoming College’s entrepreneurship classes have become a sought-after, valued addition to many students’ class schedules. The program is built on the notion that any student’s core education, regardless of their academic major, can be augmented with the practical knowledge and skills necessary to take a business idea to fruition, such as innovation, digital marketing, intellectual property and financial skills.
Himself an entrepreneur, Ducote left behind a grant-writing job to pursue a career in the food and beverage industry. In addition to his stint on “Food Network Star,” Ducote has hosted the “Bite and Booze Radio Show” since 2011, and made appearances on a number of TV shows, including “Masterchef,” “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “Chopped,” “Ginormous Food,” and many others. Additionally, he established the Jay D’s line of sauces and single origin coffee, which he sources from Lycoming College, and will soon launch his first restaurant, Gov’t Taco, inside White Star Market in Baton Rouge, La. As a food and drink entrepreneur, it’s Ducote’s personal mission to celebrate culinary culture. Ducote also hosted a TEDx talk in 2017 on the topic of coffee and conscious capitalism.
“Like many entrepreneurs, I’ve found ways to create a career out of my passions,” said Ducote. “I know from my work with Warrior Coffee Project, and from traveling to the Dominican Republic with faculty and students in the program, that Lycoming students are passionate about a lot of things. Lycoming has played a key role in my own entrepreneurial aspirations, and I’m eager to share my insights with the College community.”
“Lycoming is resolute in its mission to offer students a 21st-century education, and I believe our entrepreneurship offerings are an important part of that charge. Thinking deeply and making bold decisions to do something the world has never seen, while also staying true to your passions, accurately describes the students at this institution — a truth that also closely aligns with the principles of entrepreneurship,” said Marshall D. Welch III, the Sloter Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship at Lycoming College. “Jay pursued his interests with creativity and dogged determination, and his story will be inspiration to a lot of young people who are discovering their own paths to success.”
Lycoming College’s entrepreneurship field of study was established through the vision and generosity of Joey (Hall) ’80 and Stanley Sloter ’80, chair of the board of trustees, who endowed a faculty position to help bring focused entrepreneurial education to the College.