The Kern Family Foundation’s Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) program has awarded Gonzaga University a $48,000 grant to start a new engineering entrepreneurship program with a long-term goal to create a concentration or minor in entrepreneurship for engineering and applied science majors.
The program is a collaborative effort between Gonzaga’s School of Business Administration, the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, and Gonzaga’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. It is expected to enhance the entrepreneurial culture at Gonzaga and leverage resources from existing programs. Students, faculty, alumni and other stakeholders will plan and implement new curriculum and co-curricular activities to increase students’ and stakeholders’ knowledge of the basics of entrepreneurship and foster an entrepreneurial mindset.
The Kern Family Foundation was created in 1998 through a gift by Robert and Patricia Kern, founders of Generac Power Systems. Its primary mission is to enrich the lives of others by promoting strong pastoral leadership, educational excellence and high-quality, innovative engineering talent. John Dacquisto, director of Gonzaga’s Center for Engineering Design, was the principal investigator; management Professor Paul Buller was the co-principal.
The KEEN program will result in Gonzaga University engineering graduates entering their profession with the technical skills, entrepreneurial values and moral leadership abilities necessary for creative, intelligent and ethical engagement in improving the global human condition, Gonzaga officials said.
To accomplish these objectives, students, faculty, alumni and other key stakeholders will plan and implement new curriculum and co-curricular activities. These activities will increase student and stakeholders’ knowledge of the fundamental elements of entrepreneurship and foster an entrepreneurial mindset. Evaluation of the KEEN program will demonstrate that Gonzaga engineering graduates enter their profession with the technical skills, entrepreneurial values and moral leadership abilities necessary for creative, intelligent and ethical engagement in improving the global human condition.
To foster an entrepreneurial mindset, Gonzaga established the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program in 2000 with support from benefactors Ed and Lynn Hogan, and a campuswide design team that included the president, academic vice president, deans of Business, Engineering, Arts and Sciences, and several faculty. These visionary founders created an entrepreneurial alternative to Gonzaga’s traditional honors program that can be taken along with any major.
The Hogan program includes a four-year academic curriculum and a variety of co-curricular activities (speaker series, business plan competitions, New Venture Lab, entrepreneurial service projects, etc.) that lead to a “Concentration in Entrepreneurial Leadership.” Admission to the program is competitive; it enrolls 25 entering freshmen each year and maintains about 100 students in the freshman through senior years. Class sizes are small and students form a strong, interdisciplinary learning community.
For more information, call John Dacquisto in Gonzaga’s School of Engineering and Applied Science at (509) 313-3556 or Gonzaga management Professor Paul Buller at 313-3438.