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February 2019

Student using VR glasses with observers behind

Student using VR glasses with observers behind

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Expands its Reach Across Campus

In a move to strengthen the “entrepreneurial mindset” necessary for adaptability and reinvention, Santa Clara University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is expanding its reach and programming across campus.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 11, 2019—A new campus-wide initiative at Santa Clara University will create a central hub to guide, coordinate and elevate the innovation and entrepreneurship efforts of students across campus— from those studying arts and humanities, to engineering students, to business or science majors.

Santa Clara University’s expanded and re-envisioned Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) will unify and build upon existing programming designed to spur innovation and entrepreneurship, such as the current startup competitions and mentoring at the Leavey School of Business; virtual- and augmented-reality experimentation underway in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Imaginarium space; the School of Engineering’s prototyping Maker Lab; and the five-year-old Entrepreneurs’ Law Clinic at the School of Law.

The University is actively soliciting significant new funding to support this bold vision, with an aim of creating an “entrepreneurial mindset” across campus.

Current programs will continue— in some cases housed in CIE—and will be supplemented by new initiatives coordinated by CIE. Among the initiatives under consideration:

  • “Design thinking” courses to emphasize the need to “question everything” and fully combine humanistic needs and desires with promising technical and business projects
  • Joint certificates or degrees in areas such as product innovation or new-venture management
  • A larger, more-robust program of speakers, tours, design challenges, and hackathons coordinated through CIE
  • Research support for faculty working on issues such as barriers to innovation or advances for innovation research.
  • Creating additional in-residence and visiting lecturer opportunities
  • Opportunities for alumni entrepreneurship affinity groups to benefit from and help shape CIE programming
  • Expanding or supplementing current courses on the ethics, theology, sociology of innovation and entrepreneurship

“The graduates of the future likely will have 10 or more jobs—in many cases in fields that have yet to be envisioned,” said Caryn Beck-Dudley, dean of the Leavey School of Business, who worked with the CIE board, entrepreneurial faculty and other partners across campus to coordinate the new CIE. “They need skills and aptitude for reinvention. Across all disciplines, our students will be more agile and adaptive if they are part of an ecosystem that instills a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship.”

“The new CIE will reflect the best of Jesuit education and Silicon Valley’s culture of ideas and business creation, and will help shape how Santa Clara students learn, grow and adapt to the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that surrounds them,” said Santa Clara University Provost Dennis Jacobs. “This campus will increasingly be a place where ideation abounds, creative discussions ensue, and innovation happens.”

As part of its mission, CIE will infuse its programming with three distinct characteristics that will set it apart from other university centers of entrepreneurship.

  • The Jesuit Perspective: teaching behaviors that reflect critical thought and responsible action on moral and ethical issues, and emphasizing ethical entrepreneurship to address genuine human need;
  • Authentic Entrepreneurial Learning Experiences: “embedding” students in companies for observation and value-added long-term projects, and encouraging and supporting student startups;
  • The Entrepreneurial Mindset: using a uniquely Jesuit lens, students will be encouraged to learn the fundamentals of value creation, including discerning whether their innovations are creating value or solving socially meaningful problems.

“CIE, with its new scope spanning the college and all of the schools at SCU, is a unique opportunity to combine the breadth of disciplines at the University, the Jesuit mission of service to others, and our location in the most innovative region of the world into a program that will enable SCU’s students to have generations-long impact on improving the world,” said Chris Norris, the veteran entrepreneur who recently became CIE’s executive director.

About Leavey School of Business
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, one of the most dynamic business environments in the world, the Leavey School of Business combines academic excellence in the 450-year Jesuit tradition, with an energetic, innovative spirit that typifies the region. For more information, see

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California's Silicon Valley, offers its more than 9,000 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering; master's degrees in business, education, counseling psychology, pastoral ministry, and theology; and law degrees and engineering doctoral degrees. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master's universities, California's oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | | 408-554-5121



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