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Academic Entrepreneurs Gather to Innovate

Deshpande Symposium at ICC June 10-12

Desh Deshpande
Desh Deshpande is founder of the Deshpande Foundation, which supports programs focused on new and innovative forms of entrepreneurship.

By David Perry

UMass Lowell hosts one of the nation’s most forward-thinking conferences June 10 through 12, when the Third Annual Deshpande Symposium brings to Lowell some of the brightest minds in the worlds of higher education innovation and entrepreneurship.

What began as a small gathering now boasts a powerhouse lineup drawing from all facets of where the worlds of academia and business intersect.

“UMass Lowell is honored to once again host the Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education,” says UMass Lowell Executive Vice Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney. “This is a wonderful opportunity for academics, policy planners and practitioners to examine best practice in integrating entrepreneurship throughout our university community.”

The three-day event, co-hosted by the Deshpande Foundation and UMass Lowell, will bring together college and university experts to discuss and spark anew innovative initiatives in fresh ways. The conference, held at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, draws national speakers and those at the forefront of innovative strategies in higher education.

One of the conference’s keynote speakers is University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, named by Time magazine as one of the “ten best college presidents.” She is also co-chair of the national Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Prof. Vladimir Bulovic, an entrepreneur and associate dean for innovation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will deliver the other keynote address. Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki will also speak, as will UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan.

In its third year, the conference has grown in size and stature. In 2012, the debut of the conference was an intimate gathering of invited professionals. This year’s event offers 24 panel discussions and is expected to draw 200 students, faculty, administrators and business people to discuss an array of topics, including culture and ecosystems, innovation entrepreneurship curriculum, research commercialization and startup and emerging trends and topics. 

“The goals of the Deshpande Foundation and UMass Lowell dovetail perfectly in their commitment to develop a regional entrepreneurial culture and ecosystem,” says Steven Tello, the university’s associate vice chancellor of entrepreneurship and economic development. “Deshpande’s commitment to the Merrimack valley is complemented by the university commitment to programs such as DifferenceMaker, M2D2 and the Innovation Hub.”

This year’s symposium is sponsored by the National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the Morgan Foundation, Babson College and the University of Massachusetts President’s Office.
The Deshpande Foundation is dedicated to supporting programs focused on new and innovative forms of entrepreneurship. In addition to the UMass Lowell-based Merrimack Valley Sandbox, which serves Lowell and Lawrence, the foundation operates the MIT Deshpande Center in Cambridge, the Pond-Deshpande Centre at the University of New Brunswick and the Deshpande Foundation India.

For complete symposium information, please visit