Lassonde Executive Director Wins Governor’s Science Medal

Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah, won the Utah Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology last month for distinguished service and significant contributions to these areas. The award is the state’s highest honor in STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“It is a privilege to receive this medal,” D’Ambrosio said. “I have been fortunate to be a part of many successful ventures and help build the Lassonde Institute. We have worked tirelessly to develop programs that educate our future business leaders, and we look forward to many more successes as we open the Lassonde Studios in fall 2016.”

He will receive the medal during a ceremony on April 15. He is one of four University of Utah faculty who won half of the eight medals awarded this year.

“It is a pleasure to see that four of the winners of this year’s Medals for Science and Technology were received by faculty members at the University of Utah,” said U President David W. Pershing. “These honors show our faculty’s dedication to students, groundbreaking science and efforts to translate university research into commercial products that benefit society.”

The new awards are the 2014 medals even though they are just being announced. The awards are presented by Gov. Gary R. Herbert, along with the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative and Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

D’Ambrosio holds a presidential chair in entrepreneurship, is assistant dean of the U’s David Eccles School of Business, in addition to being executive director of the Lassonde Institute – one of the premier entrepreneur programs in the country. He also leads creation of the new Lassonde Studios, a student residence-education-entrepreneurship facility.

D’Ambrosio said the governor’s medals to himself and others “are a testament to the incredible culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Utah. We are one of the leading universities in the country for new technologies and startup companies. The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is fortunate to be part of this thriving ecosystem.”

With gifts and commitments to student programs exceeding $25 million from university alumnus, mining engineer and philanthropist Pierre Lassonde, D’Ambrosio has spearheaded a student entrepreneurship model that is imitated nationally and worldwide. He has grown Lassonde programs to involve thousands of students throughout Utah.

Those efforts include the Lassonde New Venture Development Center, which fostered 45 startup companies that got $50 million in funding; the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, which has involved over 10,000 students in events and competitions; a program that helps evaluate student ideas for companies and develop promising ideas into revenue-generating companies; and Bench-2-Bedside, in which medical, engineering and business student teams compete to create new medical device companies.

The U’s other winners are professors Phyllis “Lissy” Coley and Erik Jorgensen in biology, and Ronald Weiss in pathology. Coley and Jorgensen won in the academia category, Weiss was honored in the industry-individual category and D’Ambrosio garnered a special recognition award.

Other medal winners included: Christine Celestino, of Juan Diego Catholic High School, and computer scientist Helen Hu, of Westminster College, in the education category; Niel Holt, director of Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory, in the industry-individual category; and US Synthetic in the industry-company category.

Learn more about the prize on the website for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development:



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