Lester Center’s Engel Receives Innovation Award

Jerry Engel, faculty co-director of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, has been named the winner of the 2010 Olympus Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award.

The award recognizes a faculty member who has stimulated and inspired innovative thinking in students in academia throughout his or her career. It was created by the Olympus Corporation of the Americas, maker of Olympus cameras as well as microscopes and diagnostic testing, and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, an alliance of faculty and students working to advance the teaching of invention and innovation in American higher education.

"The judging panel was impressed by your passion and dedication for entrepreneurship education, exemplified through your development of the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation," Olympus President and CEO F. Mark Gumz wrote in a letter to Engel, who he called a "thought leader within the higher-education sector."

Since founding the Lester Center in 1991, Engel has built it into a globally recognized and vibrant hub of entrepreneurial activity. He served as the center's executive director until July 2009, when he stepped down and took on the role of faculty co-director. He continues to teach and focus on developing the Haas School's renowned entrepreneurship curriculum.

Engel has helped many dozens of budding Haas entrepreneurs launch successful businesses. He has brought the venture capital community’s support and collaboration to campus, created many career opportunities for his students, and trained faculty how to teach entrepreneurship — here at Haas and at universities around the world.

Gumz also cited Engel's willingness and generosity to help launch and improve entrepreneurship programs at other institutions, and noted his work on the Global Entrepreneurship Education Initiative, a set of programs that has trained more than 1,000 faculty worldwide how to teach entrepreneurship and stimulate entrepreneurial ecosystems at their institutions.

Engel will be presented the Lifetime of Educational Innovation Award, which includes $2,500, at a luncheon March 26 in San Francisco.

The award is part of the Olympus Innovation Awards Program, now in its sixth year, which Olympus created to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to technological innovation and education.