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New investment strengthens Northeastern's entrepreneurial edge

As the national conversation focuses on America’s global competitiveness, alumni are stepping up to support a new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative at Northeastern University, including life-long entrepreneur Alan S. McKim, MBA’88, who has invested $5 million to create the McKim Entrepreneurial Ventures Program. The new program is designed to prepare all college students, regardless of their academic major, to become the risk-taking enterprisers who will power tomorrow’s global economy.

It builds on a tradition of major gifts that aim to strengthen the university’s leadership in entrepreneurship and innovation.

This commitment began with philanthropic pioneer Jean C. Tempel, H’03, who funded start up expenditures, endowment, and scholarships for Northeastern’s School of Technological Entrepreneurship.

Then, Robert J. Shillman, E’68, H’00, endowed the Robert J. Shillman Trustee Professorship in Entrepreneurship.

Last year Richard A. D’Amore, BA’76, invested $5 million to establish a forthcoming Center for Research Innovation.

“Our nation is built on innovation, creativity and imagination,” said McKim, president, chief executive officer and chairman of Clean Harbors, Inc. “Instilling an entrepreneurial mindset and skill-set in our students today is paramount to ensuring our country’s vitality tomorrow. Expanding scholarship and research opportunities around entrepreneurship is not only personally important to me, it is a national imperative.”

The McKim Entrepreneurial Ventures Program will immerse students in real-life learning experiences, both in the U.S. and globally, where they will partner with key innovation stakeholders from the worlds of academia, business, and politics to learn how to take risks, manage the results, and learn from the outcomes.

“The world’s best entrepreneurs make strategic and powerful investments,” said Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun. “The impact of Alan McKim’s philanthropy will transcend Northeastern as our graduates go on to invent new industries, create jobs, solve societal problems, and ultimately sharpen America’s competitive edge.”

Northeastern already has a broad portfolio of entrepreneurship education. At Northeastern, students across all colleges take part in co-op around the nation and the world, specialize in entrepreneurship through several degree programs, and engage in other initiatives, student groups and workshops that inspire innovation, imagination and creativity.

The gift buttresses Northeastern’s new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, and the forthcoming establishment of a Center for Research Innovation, which was established by D’Amore’s $5 million gift last year. Through the center, newly developed “Innovation Teams” of industry experts will work with faculty and students to identify commercial applications for their ideas, and guide them through the business, financial and product development stages.

“We need entrepreneurs to support innovation and we need innovation to compete,” said Diane MacGillivray, senior vice president for University Advancement. “These gifts are a great example of the synergy that results when entrepreneurially-minded alumni partner with their alma mater to solve a national challenge. It’s philanthropy at its finest.”

In 2005, Richard and Alan partnered to establish the McKim-D’Amore Distinguished Professorship of Global Management and Innovation.