Gary Stratton is associate professor of economics and finance at Kentucky State University (KSU) and Executive Director for the KSU Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy. While Gary teaches KSU students, and K-12 instructors throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky, in the economic and financial discipline, his true passion is entrepreneurship and innovation.
Gary grew up on a Mercer County farm in Central Kentucky, and from a very young age was interested in solving problems and creating businesses. The farm experience encouraged an entrepreneurial culture and an innovative way of thinking that Gary has carried into the academic arena. Gary has been instrumental in the development of the group KSU Innovators INC which is a student group designed to encourage creativity and innovation. The group’s motto is “Create the Things We Wish Existed”.
Over the past year Gary has been working to establish a regional group called Frankfort Entrepreneurs designed to be advocates for entrepreneurial policies, as well as mentors for future entrepreneurs. The goal is to be mentors for KSU students, who could then be mentors for high school students, who could then be mentors for elementary students.
These groups have over the past year began sponsoring “Shark Tank” like business concept competitions at KSU and Frankfort High School, with plans to grow the competitions to other high schools and the community. The goal being to encourage a more innovative culture throughout the Frankfort region.
Gary’s entrepreneurial pursuits have included real estate, marketing, and financial advising. Gary studied first at the University of Louisville, and later received his Bachelors in Economics/Finance at the University of Kentucky. He then received his Master’s in economics from Murray State University and his Ph.D. in Economics from Clemson University. Gary taught for many years at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise before moving back home to Central Kentucky in 2017.