1973 – Pierre Lassonde receives an MBA degree from the University of Utah. The Canadian native goes on to launch the Franco-Nevada Mining Corporation in 1983 and achieve substantial success as an entrepreneur and gold investor.
2001 – Lassonde New Venture Development Center formed with a $50,000 gift from Pierre Lassonde. The center brings together faculty inventors and graduate students who prepare business plans. Lassonde created the center in the memory of his late wife Claudette MacKay-Lassonde and their time in Utah.
2003 – The first companies launched from the Lassonde New Venture Development Center. Those companies were in industries including medical imaging and pharmaceuticals.
2006 – Pierre Lassonde raises his donation to $13 million to create the Pierre Lassonde Entrepreneur Center. The donation expands the center’s reach to include student business-plan competitions. The leading business plan competition, the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, was established in 2000 and rolled into the Lassonde Center at this time. It is open to university students across the state and awards a $40,000 grand prize provided by Zions Bank.
May, 2006 – Pierre Lassonde receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Utah.
2008 – The Pierre Lassonde Entrepreneur Center finishes renovation on what is called the “Lassonde House,” a historic building in the Fort Douglas area of the University of Utah campus. The building serves as the administrative headquarters. The original structure was built during the Civil War.
2010-2012 – The Lassonde Entrepreneur Center continues to grow with the addition of new programs, including the Foundry Utah, a business discovery center, and Bench-2-Bedside, a medical-device competition.
2010 – University of Utah ranks as the No. 1 university in the country for startup formation based on faculty technologies. The Lassonde New Venture Development Center contributed to this achievement by accelerating the commercialization of faculty inventions.
2011 – University of Utah ranks among the top-25 school in the country for entrepreneurship education by the Princeton Review.
2012 – The first students enroll in the new Lassonde Social Entrepreneurship Program. The program allows graduate students to spend a year using business skills to address global issues. Get Seeded program begins providing milestone grants to students.
Fall, 2013 – Pierre Lassonde Entrepreneur Center becomes the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. The new name reflects its growing reach and size. The institute adds related programs at the University of Utah, including Innovation Scholar, an introductory program for undergraduate students.
2014 – Pierre Lassonde donates an additional $12 million to the University of Utah, bringing his total donations to $25 million. The new gift will be used to help build an iconic new facility for student entrepreneurs.
April 2014 – The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute unveils plans for the Lassonde Studios, a place for students to “Live. Create. Launch.” The $45 million building will have 400 unique student residences and a 20,000 student innovation space for meeting, building and starting companies.
October, 2014 – Groundbreaking for Lassonde Studios.
Spring 2015 – ABC’s “Shark Tank” hosts an audition at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, with several teams advancing to appear on the program. Lassonde Institute executive director Troy D’Ambrosio receives the Utah Governor’s Science Medal for his contributions to STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
2015-2016 – Lassonde Studios continues to gain worldwide attention, being featured in such publications as the “The New York Times,” “Fast Company” and “Bloomberg.” The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute continues to grow in anticipation of the new building under construction. Programs added this period included Workshops, Hours with Experts and Meetups.
August, 2016 – Students start living and creating in the Lassonde Studios. More than 1,300 students applied to be one of the first to live here. Lassonde Institute adds numerous programs, including Make, Company Launch, Coworking, Art Entrepreneur and Food Entrepreneur.
September, 2016 – Many friends and guests gather for the dedication of the Lassonde Studios. The events marks the completion of the building and a new chapter in the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.
To be continued …