Dinner with 12 Tigers: Entrepreneurship & Being First-gen at Princeton
Meet Prentis Hall '79. He's coming back to campus for a dinner to talk to students about his experience as a first-generation student at Princeton, the steps required to start a company, practical approaches to acquire funding, the pros and cons of having a side business while working, when to get out of a business and other questions students may have about their own future.
Dinner with 12 Tigers is a series that bring together current students and alumni of similar underrepresented backgrounds (race, identity, culture, first-gen, low socioeconomic status and more) for candid conversation over a meal. All undergraduate and graduate students are welcome. Space is limited for this event so RSVP soon!
Prentis is originally from the lower West Side of New York. His parents were blue collar workers; his father dropped out of school at the age of 13, and his mother didn't finish high school. However, education was very important in their home, and both parents stressed hard work and celebrated the children's successes in school. They lived by what they preached—Prentis' parents eventually earning their GED's later in life. Prentis recalls how hard they would work and the occasions when they would ask him or his sisters to help them with their homework. Growing up, it was normal for Prentis' parents to tell him he could be a doctor or an airline pilot, or anything else he could dream to be. Prentis believed it! That belief helped sustain him at Princeton and beyond.
Prentis graduated with a degree in chemical engineering and went directly to industry following graduation. His first job after graduation was with Procter and Gamble (which at that time was the world's #1 consumer products company). After assignments in engineering, product development and manufacturing, he quit his job to return to school, obtaining an MBA in marketing and statistics from Chicago Booth in 1984. From there, Prentis returned to industrial employment, this time with Air Products & Chemicals. He held various positions of increasing responsibility in general management and business intelligence. He became an expert in industrial marketing, competitor intelligence, and new business development.
But there is more to the story. Throughout his 30 years in corporate America, Prentis was driven to start and run his own business. He started his first business two years out of Princeton—a software company. He is now retired from industry and is running his eighth and most successful startup company, employing over 120 workers. Prentis also counsels entrepreneurs through SCORE, an organization funded by the Small Business Administration. Prentis currently resides in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. He has been married to Tynetta for over 35 hears, and they have three daughters, two of which will be graduating from college in the next 12 months.
Prentis is excited to have an opportunity to share his understanding of the steps required to start a company, practical approaches to acquire funding, the pros and cons of having a side business while working, when to get out of a business, and other questions students may have about their own future
The Dinner with 12 Tigers series introduces current students to alumni of similar underrepresented backgrounds (race, culture, gender identity, first-generation and/or low socioeconomic status). During these dinners, the alum traditionally discusses their own experience as a college student, describes their career path since leaving Princeton, and offers advice on various professional development topics. Purposely limited in size, the dinners provide students with a chance to connect more deeply with an alum and gain valuable advice for navigating Princeton and professional pursuits beyond the "Orange Bubble."