Cray Center for Entrepreneurial Services

The mission of the Cloud L. Cray Center for Entrepreneurial Services is to spread entrepreneurship across the Benedictine College campus, assist local businesses, and provide unique entrepreneurial opportunities for future, ethical business leaders in their communities.

Following the Transforming Culture in America Strategic Plan, the Cray Center provides for the following key areas of Formation, Extension and Profession.


  • The Cray Center offers a minor in Entrepreneurship which can be combined with virtually any major on campus.   
  • The Cray Center provides a wide variety of programs that provide academic and experiential formation in entrepreneurship. Examples:
    • “Cray Labs,” working with the Center for Service Learning teams of undergraduate students to work with various businesses in Atchison facing current issues.
    • Cray Student Grant Program provides starter grants for students to test their entrepreneurial ideas.


  • Entrepreneurship Missions, working with the Thompson Center, provides opportunities to support entrepreneurs contributing to economic development around the world.
  • The Cray Center shares its efforts with off-campus audiences through an extensive social media outreach.
  • The Cray Center has entered a partnership with the Kauffman Foundation to develop and host an entrepreneurship “boot camp” those who want to break the cycle of poverty by starting a business.  This program provides ongoing training, mentoring, consulting, assistance with accessing financing, and support for  local entrepreneurs. 


  • The Cray Center provides students with hands-on experience, internships, and numerous opportunities for students to interact with both new and established entrepreneurs.

The Center’s History

The Cray Center for Entrepreneurship is named after the most successful entrepreneurial family from the town of Atchison. Cloud L. Cray came to Atchison, Kansas, where Benedictine College is located, in the early 1900’s. He created and built what is now MGP Ingredients, the largest business in Atchison. His sons, and now grandchildren, have started or built several other local businesses.

The Cray Center was established by the generosity of the Cray foundation and the Cray family. It is in the true “Cray spirit” that the mission and approach of the Center is molded. In June of 1996, a group of successful local entrepreneurs headed by Bud and Dick Cray decided it was time to start something at Benedictine College that would encourage students to pursue entrepreneurship as a viable road to business success. You are now seeing the fruit of their labor in the continued growth of “The Cray.”


Dr. David Bryant

Dr. David W. Bryant has been the Director of the Cloud L. Cray Center for Entrepreneurial Services since June 26, 2019. He serves the community as a member of the Atchison County Dream Team, and as a board member of the Atchison Economic Development Advisory Group (EDAG), a board member of Northeast Kansas Enterprise Facilitation Group, and as a newly elected board member of Project Atchison. He also serves as a volunteer for the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Atchison County.