Croatian people key to country’s economic success

Croatian people key to country’s economic success

In her academic life, Dr. Mariangela Vecchiarini specializes in entrepreneurship and innovation.

But the Assistant Professor of Business at LaGrange College came by her forward-looking focus the old-fashioned way – she was inspired by her father.

“My father is an entrepreneur, which has been inspiring for me for my entire life,” she said. “During a business trip with him in Canada, I realized that I wanted to study family business. I wanted to understand the intangible aspects of a business, the cultural and emotional aspects behind enterprises.”

Dr. Mariangela Vecchiarini

Dr. Mariangela Vecchiarini

Study she did, obtaining multiple degrees from universities in her native Italy, including a master’s from the University of Rome La Sapienza and a doctorate from the Second University of Naples, her hometown. Along the way, she was a visiting scholar and teaching assistant at the University of Alabama, where she heard about her present job at LaGrange College.

She describes herself as “very impressed and pleased” that LaGrange College not only offers courses in entrepreneurship but emphasizes global engagement and has a minor in international business.

“It’s a great opportunity for students,” she said.

Dr. Vecchiarini will share her international perspective and entrepreneurial expertise as the final lecturer in the college’s 3D Journeys series on Croatia.  Her April 27 presentation, set for 10 a.m. in Turner Hall, will focus on “entrepreneurial vigor” and “economic rebirth” in Croatia, the former Yugoslavia, following decades of disastrous repression and violent conflict.

“The values and norms created by the Communist and Socialist ideological system are not known for encouraging entrepreneurial values, such as independence and self-accomplishment,” she explained. “The history of this country created a sort of deficit in their entrepreneurial tradition.”

With few existing opportunities, the resilient Croatians set out to create their own, she said.

“War damages in Croatia were inestimable and industrial output was at its historic low,” she said.

But it was the difficulty in finding jobs that helped spur Croatia’s rebirth. It created an incentive for the Croatian people to find their own ways of making a living.

CroatiaIn the first years after independence, new business ventures in Croatia jumped 70 percent, she explained, and “economic rebirth” seemed a real possibility. The global financial crisis of 2008, however, has been hard for the fledgling country.

A bright spot is tourism, with Croatia currently ranked the 18th most-popular tourist destination in the world, and a top choice of European travelers.

“Croatia is a natural treasure in Europe, with 47 percent of its land and 39 percent of its sea designated as specially protected areas and areas of conservation, including many UNESCO World Heritage sites,” Dr. Vecchiarini said.

About 36 travelers from LaGrange will visit Croatia in late May as part of the optional travel opportunities offered through 3D Journeys.

CroatiaMeanwhile, Dr. Vecchiarini is fostering opportunities for LC business students. She serves as advisor to ENACTUS, a service organization in which students use and develop their business skills by helping local organizations.

The group recently attended the ENACTUS national competition in St. Louis, presenting a marketing plan they developed for New Ventures, a local non-profit employment development center for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment.

In January, Dr. Vecchiarini will help lead a study-abroad trip to Rome and Florence.

“I am very excited to get the chance to show my beautiful country to my students,” she said.

Visits to Croatia have given Dr. Vecchiarini opportunities to appreciate both its beauty and its potential.  She hopes to share that experience with the lecture audience.

“I hope to instill some more curiosity about this country that I sincerely admire.”


In the Headlines

LaGrange College golf team won its second consecutive USA South Conference tournament championship – Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, April 21, 2015

Croatian people key to country’s economic success – LaGrange Daily News, April 23, 2015

LaGrange native, author returns for library talk (Lee Walburn ’59) – LaGrange Daily News, April 17, 2015

This week’s profile

Ella Weymiller: Involved on campus like few others
“There are so many exciting opportunities that one just leads to another and another,” junior Psychological Sciences major Ella Weymiller tells prospective students during campus tours. And her personal list of activities reads like a college viewbook.

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The Panthers won their second straight USA South Tournament Championship last Sunday, winning by 19 shots over runner-up Methodist. Senior Cory Howard was low medalist for the second straight year, while sophomore Osborn Theam finished second in the individual standing. Earlier, Howard was named USA South Player of the Year, and Lee Richter was selected as Coach of the Year. Theam and sophomore Logan Lanier joined Howard on the All-Conference team. The team plays in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament on May 12-15 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C.

Softball The Panthers (25-14) won their first USA South Tournament championship last Sunday with an 11-1 win over William Peace in the deciding game. Tournament MVP Dani Gravett got the win on the mound and batted .500 for the tournament with three home runs. Christy Flick, Lindsey Hogan, Danielle Newbern and Olivia Wolfe joined Gravett on the All-Tournament team. LaGrange blanked visiting Judson by identical 8-0 scores Tuesday in a doubleheader to close out the regular season. The Panthers find out May 4 where and who they will play in the NCAA Division III National Tournament.

Baseball LaGrange (13-21) lost 10-5 to Emory on Senior Night at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium. Seniors Josh Bricker, Tyler Brooks, Caleb Cunningham, Chris Laye and Jim Reed were recognized before the game. Laye and Cain Sauls had two hits each in the game. The Panthers close out the season with three games at Methodist, beginning with a doubleheader Saturday.

Morgan McDonald
Women’s tennis 
Junior Morgan McDonald was selected to the USA South All-Conference second team. McDonald had an 11-1 record at No. 1 singles this season and is 22-4 over the past two seasons.

Math Carnival at Sunny Gables
Junior education majors Avery Shead and Sterling Ancrum work with students Boots Martin and Camp Miller during Wednesday’s Math Carnival at Sunny Gables. More than 50 homeschool and Hillside Montessori students attended, participating in games with a math focus.

Honors Day ceremonies will begin at 5:30 p.m. today at Callaway Auditorium. Graduating seniors in the day-undergraduate program are required to attend and to wear caps and gowns. Seniors should plan to gather outside the auditorium on the west side of the auditorium, facing the soccer/lacrosse field, at 5 p.m. CE event

The opening reception for the Senior Exhibition and Student Exhibition will be from 7 to 9 p.m. today at Lamar Dodd Art Center. The Senior Exhibition features the work of Julia Copes, Brenna Richardson and Megan Tipsword. The exhibitions will run through May 7.

Don’t forget the Presidential Student Ambassadors will be at Relay for Life from 6 p.m. until midnight today to host a bake sale to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Monetary donations will be accepted at the bake sale, and checks should be made out to the American Cancer Society. Individually wrapped baked goods for sale may be dropped off in the Student Engagement Conference Room (Smith Hall, Room 104) between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. today. Relay for Life is being held at the Chris Joseph Track Complex, 1700 Whitesville St.  For more information or questions, contact Leslie Traylor at

The Misanthrope
LaGrange College Theatre’s production
of “The Misanthrope” continues through Sunday. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday (today) and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. To make reservations, email or call (706) 880-8080 weekdays from noon until 4 p.m. Fine Arts CE event

Applications are being accepted for this year’s Learn 2 Serve camp, running June 8-26. The academic and service-learning camp is for rising fifth-eighth graders and will meet at the Callaway Education Building at LaGrange College. This summer’s topic is conservation, and activities will include a field trip to a floating classroom. For more information or to register, contact Rebekah Ralph at or (706) 880-8202.

This year’s Step Sing competition will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Callaway Auditorium. It will be followed with the annual May Day at the Pool celebration from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Natatorium.

“Giving It Voice,” featuring original chamber and choral works by Composition and Music Technologies majors, will be at 5 p.m. Sunday at First Presbyterian Church. Student composers are Carlos Soler, Jose Kropp, William Sandberg, Harrison Dagenhart, Jonathan Gilmer, Chris Owenby ’08 and Alex Rodriguez. Sustainability CE event

Poster presentations of research projects completed by graduate education candidates will be at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in Smith 330. Topics include issues and problems pertaining to PreK-12 curriculum and instruction, and how to design and implement a research study within a classroom.

Auditions for the college’s new marching band will be at 10 a.m. May 2. Musicians will be asked to sight read and play scales and a short étude. For more information, email Josh Roberts at or call or text him at (404) 444-7987.

Newest master recordings and world premieres from LaGrange College Composition and Music Technologies majors will be presented at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Callaway Auditorium. Sustainability CE event

The film “Blackfish” will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Lewis Library Auditorium. This documentary exposes tactics used by Sea World to obtain killer whales. Sustainability CE event

“More Than Just a Pharmacist” is the topic of a lecture by Charles Woosley, recruiter for Auburn School of Pharmacy. He will discuss opportunities in the field of pharmacy and measures schools are taking to prepare the best candidates. The event, sponsored by the Career Development Center, will be at 11:15 a.m. Thursday in Lewis Library Auditorium. CE event

Theatre Arts Professor Ashleigh Poteat, costume designer of the college’s spring theatre production, will give a presentation called “Style of the 17th Century” at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday on the play’s set in Price Theater. She will discuss period costumes, wigs and mannerisms to coincide with Moliere’s “The Misanthrope.” (Rescheduled from last week.) Fine Arts CE event