December 15, President Thomas Jackson spoke to members of the university and Rochester area communities to announce the University of Rochester as a recipient of the Kaufman Campuses Initiative.Awarded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, the grant provides $3.5 million for the university. Through a two-to-one matching system, the original funding rises to a $10.5 million total. “The goal of the Kauffman Campuses initiative…is to transform campus life so that entrepreneurship is an integral and natural part of the college experience,” President Thomas Jackson said, conveying the message of the Kauffman Foundation. “It’s an initiative that fits this university perfectly.”Jackson cited UR’s already established entrepreneurial strengths as the main reason the university was deserving of the grant and will make good use of it.”It would be natural given our entrepreneurial history and the influence of entrepreneurs here,” Jackson said. “The ability and freedom to make critical choices, as we already provide them for our students, is…an essential ingredient of entrepreneurship…[the grant] allows us to build more broadly and deeply upon our already entrepreneurial culture.” Dean of the College William Scott Green and Dean of Faculty Thomas LeBlanc stressed the broadness of entrepreneurship, at least in its application at the university. “Entrepreneurship isn’t only about starting companies and making money,” Green said. “We responded with a proposal that took the Foundation at its word, and thus defined entrepreneurship in such a way – transforming ideas into enterprises that produce value,” Jackson said of how UR’s proposal addressed the Foundation’s challenge to transform campus life.”We came together and created a truly University-wide proposal focused on entrepreneurship in all of our schools,” Jackson said. To demonstrate the encompassing diversity of the proposal, he introduced and called up the deans of the university’s six schools.”The entire effort was a marvelous collaborative experience,” Dean and Director of Eastman Jim Undercofler said. Undercofler spoke enthusiastically of the addition of a variety of music entrepreneurial courses at Eastman, a key element of the proposal. “Such courses address challenges and issues in the not-for-profit music sector,” he said.A deeper involvement in the community supplements plans for entrepreneurial enrichment at Eastman. “We want to build on things that we’re already doing to help students learn to create enterprises in community work to improve community life,” Green said, citing the further potential of already successful programs, like the Urban Fellows Program, which models the leadership and entrepreneurialism of such past Rochester community leaders as Susan B. Anthony. “We want to build on things that we’re already doing,” Green said. “We want to help students to learn how to create enterprises in community work to improve community life.””Most communities aren’t as fortunate as we,” Tom Woony, Chief Executive of the Rochester Business Alliance, said. “Entrepreneurship is a bedrock, and we’re lucky that UR is willing to share its new programs and assets. I, as well as my fellow members of the RBA, will play whatever role the university calls upon us to play to make this commitment a success.”Other aspects of the proposal that Jackson highlighted as essential to the success of developing entrepreneurialism at UR include a fifth-year curriculum in entrepreneurship modeled after UR’s Take Five program and the creation of an entrepreneurial center at UR. “It looks really cool to create a center where everything that the university already has can be focused,” junior Neil Pawloski said. “It allows students access to resources they didn’t know they had.””I want to thank our school’s leaders for their wonderful work and vision that has made achieving this grant a reality,” Jackson concluded at the end of the press conference. “[We are] moving forward in a spirit that’s already very much part of our history and way of thinking.”Implementation of programming is pending on approval of the proposed budget by the Kauffman Foundation at a meeting in early February.Chepovetsky can be reached at

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