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Multimillion-Dollar Donation to Fund New Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Merrimack Valley


Additional contact for media: Nishith Acharya, Deshpande Foundation, 617-752-2590,

* M E D I A   A D V I S O R Y *

Details to be Announced at Event with 200 Business, Education, Community Leaders

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
9 a.m.

WHAT: More than 200 leaders from business, education, government and nonprofit organizations will gather for the first-ever Merrimack Valley Development Dialogue. At the daylong event, high-tech entrepreneur and philanthropist Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande and UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan will announce an innovative new center that will leverage expertise in all four areas to grow the next generation of entrepreneurs and agents for social change in the Merrimack Valley.

The new center will be one of only three of its kind in the world. It will be launched with a multimillion-dollar donation from the Deshpande Foundation and be based at UMass Lowell, operating in conjunction with Merrimack College, Middlesex Community College, Northern Essex Community College, Teach for America and nonprofits across the Merrimack Valley. The Stoneham-based foundation was established by Deshpande, chairman of A123 Systems and founder of Sycamore Networks, and his wife, Jaishree, a respected philanthropist who holds degrees in physics and computer science.

The program will use the same “sandbox” model pioneered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in Northwest Karnataka, India by the foundation, with a focus on cutting-edge leadership development, education in entrepreneurship and grant support for community organizations. The coalition’s programs will be geared toward college students, young professionals, displaced workers and experienced professionals, and will incubate startups in local cities, focusing on Lowell and Lawrence.

In addition to Deshpande and Meehan, the Merrimack Valley Development Dialogue will feature speakers including Chief Technology Officer of the United States Aneesh Chopra, Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Reville, Merrimack College President Christopher Hopey, Middlesex Community College President Carole Cowan, Northern Essex Community College President David Hartleb and Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria.

WHERE:   UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St., Lowell

For more information, contact or 978-934-3224