Moloney, the first woman to lead UMass Lowell, received the Deshpande Symposium Founders Award at the 11th annual Deshpande Symposium, held this week in Cleveland, Ohio. She co-founded the conference with partners from the Deshpande
and Burton D. Morgan
“I am profoundly grateful to receive this honor from my peers. Through this symposium, together, we expand opportunities for students to think and respond like entrepreneurs on their way to becoming our next generation of leaders,” said Moloney, who shared the Founders Award this year with co-recipient Deborah Hoover, the Morgan Foundation’s president. Among leading other foundation initiatives, Hoover has been instrumental in bringing entrepreneurship programs to liberal arts college campuses across northeastern Ohio.
The event, which annually draws hundreds of educators, business professionals, government and nonprofit leaders, advances how colleges and universities drive research, entrepreneurship, business growth and economic vitality in their respective communities. UMass Lowell operates three business incubators and a student entrepreneurship program, while the Deshpande Foundation supports sustainable, scalable social and economic impact through innovation and entrepreneurship, and the Morgan Foundation champions the work of entrepreneurs of all ages across northeastern Ohio.
This year, conference participants explored the impact higher ed institutions have on regional economic and social ecosystems as well as the opportunities collegiate entrepreneurship programs create to diversify the professional talent pool and foster greater equity and inclusion in the workplace.
Offering their insights on these issues were keynote speakers Renu Khator, chancellor of the University of Houston system, and Philip Gaskin, vice president of entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Leaders from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) headlined a session on how these institutions can act as change agents for entrepreneurship, while representatives of the National Science Foundation’s new Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) Directorate outlined how institutions can best pursue collaboration and funding opportunities.
Other sessions offered participants best practices in building entrepreneurship into the curriculum of higher ed institutions as well as their culture, ecosystems, and research; pursuing commercialization opportunities; and implementing emerging trends in the field.
Along with Moloney and Hoover, the conference presented awards to one additional individual and six institutions for their exemplary work fostering entrepreneurship. Other recipients of this year’s awards included:
- Outstanding Contributions to Advancing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education Award: Prof. Nathalie Duval-Couteil, Purdue University entrepreneurship program director.
- Excellence in Curriculum Innovation in Entrepreneurship Award: The Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts University. The Rising Star award in this category went to the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program at Waynesburg University.
- The Excellence in Student Engagement in Entrepreneurship Award: Northeastern University and the Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center at the University of New Hampshire.
- The Deshpande Symposium Award for Technology Commercialization: GDC I-ncubate at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and Dal Innovates at Dalhousie University.
“This year’s awardees highlighted diversity of programming, curriculum and geography, including strong representation from Canada and India. Once again, a program was recognized for innovation and potential in their approaches with the Rising Star Award,” said Raj Melville, executive director of the Deshpande Foundation.
"We congratulate this year’s awardees, who demonstrate the solutions-oriented approach to supporting university innovation and entrepreneurship that the Deshpande Symposium is known for,” said Phil Weilerstein, president and CEO of VentureWell, which funds and trains faculty and student innovators to create successful, socially beneficial businesses. “Over the past 10 years, the accomplishments of this community of higher ed changemakers have grown.”
In 2023, VentureWell will take the lead planning and organizing the symposium while adding an event co-hosted by Arizona State University at the Skysong Scottsdale Innovation Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. “As VentureWell steps up to steward the symposium, we look forward to building on the legacy of high-impact convenings. The engagement of higher ed in the creation of a robust economic future has never been more dynamic or important,” Weilerstein said.
UMass Lowell is a national research university offering its students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the globe. www.uml.edu