Lakatos named Elingburg Professor of Business Innovation

Joseph Lakatos

Joseph Lakatos

An award-winning educator with extensive business, accounting and legal counsel experience, Joseph P. Lakatos has joined the Western Carolina University faculty as the Wesley R. Elingburg Distinguished Professor of Business Innovation and director of WCU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

WCU’s Board of Trustees confirmed Lakatos’ appointment to the faculty at its September meeting.

“WCU students will benefit not only from the wealth of experience he brings to WCU as a certified public accountant, lawyer, risk manager and merger and acquisitions expert, but also from his experience and enthusiasm as an award-winning teacher in the University of North Carolina system,” said Bob Carton, associate professor and head of the Department of Entrepreneurship, Sales and Marketing, and Hospitality and Tourism.

Lakatos comes to WCU from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, where he was an associate professor and recipient of the 2011 UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. His honors also include the 2010-11 Last Lecture Series Award for Inspirational Teaching and the 2009-10 Outstanding Professor Award, both from UNC Pembroke, and the 2008 Research Award from the International Academy of Business and Public Administration Disciplines.

At Pembroke, Lakatos developed and taught new courses in biotechnology law, corporate governance and business ethics, international business law, law for entrepreneurs, law for managers, intellectual property, and sustainability and growth.

Also while at Pembroke, he worked as a consultant for SBD Consulting Group, providing accounting, business development and legal advisory services to small businesses, and served as an adviser for Pareto Research Institute Research Team and as counsel for Biospace, a biotechnology company.

He has taught at the University of Mary Washington, Boston College’s Warren E. Carroll Graduate School of Business and School of Law, and the Boston University School of Business.

Before discovering his love of teaching at the higher education level, the Queens, N.Y., native worked as a director of risk management and corporate counsel for Fidelity Investments; as a legal assistant and auditor at New York firms; and as a law clerk for the commercial division of the Supreme Court of New York.

Lakatos was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1994, and is a certified public accountant and certified fraud examiner. He holds a master of laws degree in banking and financial law from the Boston University School of Law, a master’s degree in business administration and a juris doctor from the St. John’s University Graduate School of Business and a bachelor’s degree of business administration from the University of Notre Dame.

He has co-authored scholarly articles on topics ranging from ethical leadership in the biotechnology industry to a piece currently in development about uncovering insider accounting fraud.

In addition to his scholarly publications, Lakatos and his son, Dillon, released a children’s book in 2010 titled “Angel and Diesel: A Change in Family Plans.” Proceeds from the book’s sale support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Lakatos serves as a spokesman for the American Cancer Society and as an ambassador for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Darrell F. Parker, dean of the WCU College of Business, said Lakatos fills an important leadership position for WCU’s entrepreneurship program as the Elingburg Distinguished Professor.

“We are excited to have Joe on faculty,” said Parker. “He has already had initial meetings with the college advisory board, and we expect the visibility of this program to continue to increase.”

Lakatos said he was inspired to join the WCU community after witnessing the “Pride of the Catamounts” spirit on campus and within the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

“I look forward to collaborating with departments and programs across campus to help students of all disciplines pursue their life’s passions in entrepreneurial and innovative ways,” said Lakatos. “The CEI, alongside the Small Business and Technology Development Center, will be reaching out to the community to stir more economic development through student engagement in businesses and community organizations. It is from these successes that the ‘Catamount Pride’ will be spread further across the nation and provide the entrepreneurship program with more opportunities to help students go on to live successful careers and lives.”

Lakatos expressed gratitude to retired Greensboro businessman Wesley R. Elingburg, a 1978 graduate of WCU, for not only contributing a gift to enable creation of the endowed professorship with matching state funds, but also supporting the entrepreneurship program.

For more information, contact Lakatos at 828-227-3995 or