Lassonde Institute Wins Global Recognition as an Outstanding Entrepreneur Program

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, was recognized among 12 universities for their outstanding entrepreneur programs at the 2018 Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC) Conference in Chicago, Oct. 18-20. Now in its twenty-second year, the GCEC Conference was attended by more than 540 individuals from 250 top universities from around the globe, the most in the history of the organization.

“We are honored to be recognized as one of the best entrepreneur programs in the world,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, the executive director of the Lassonde Institute and an assistant dean at the Eccles School. He attended the conference as a speaker. “We have been growing our program for years, and we are proud to offer students at the University of Utah an exceptional opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship through unique extracurricular and academic programs.”

The Lassonde Institute won the award for “Exceptional Activities in Entrepreneurship Across Disciplines.” It recognizes dedication to creating, advancing and enabling entrepreneurship education opportunities to multiple audiences across campus. Selection criteria included creativity of multidisciplinary approach, measured impact across campus, and diversity of partners and stakeholders.

Founded in 2001, the Lassonde Institute has grown into a nationally recognized entrepreneurship program. It provides thousands of students at the University of Utah and across the state of Utah with opportunities to learn entrepreneurship and grow their ideas. The Lassonde Institute offers many programs ranging from workshops and networking opportunities to grants and seminars. In 2016, the Lassonde Institute opened Lassonde Studios, a five-story building dedicated to student entrepreneurship and innovation. The building and activities inside have been featured by The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Fast Company and other international publications. All students at the U are welcome to “live, create, launch” at Lassonde Studios.

At the GCEC conference, universities specializing in venture creation and specialty programs, such as women entrepreneurship, were among the acknowledged. The award winners were selected through a rigorous nomination and evaluation process undergoing review by a panel of 35 academic peers. More than 100 university programs were nominated this year from the 250 GCEC member schools. Awards were presented in seven categories including the top award, the Nasdaq Center of Entrepreneurial Excellence award. Since 2000, Nasdaq has honored university centers that have made and will continue to make enormous contributions in advancing entrepreneurship as the force in economic growth throughout the world.   The Nasdaq award was presented by Pam Buchanan, Managing Director of Nasdaq.

“Entrepreneurship has become a central and vibrant educational component at most top universities around the world. Universities play a critical role in global innovation and economic development,” said Brad Burke, executive director of the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers and managing director of the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, Rice University. “The GCEC has been a driver of vigorous and innovative academic and experiential entrepreneurial programs. More and more institutes of higher education are recognizing that teaching entrepreneurial skills are key to the success of our students and the world’s future economy.”

Learn more about the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at

2018 Conference Winners

Exceptional Activities in Entrepreneurship Across Disciplines

Winners (two):


  • London South Bank University; Clarence Centre for Enterprise and Innovation
  • California State University, Chico; Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Purdue University; Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship

Outstanding Contributions to Venture Creation

Winners (two):

  • University in Stockholm, Sweden; Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship
  • Michigan State University; MSU Entrepreneurship


  • Babson College; Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship
  • The University of Notre Dame; The IDEA Center
  • Northern Kentucky University; Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Excellence in Specialty Entrepreneurship Education


  • Babson College; Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership


  • Syracuse University; Institute for Veterans and Military Families
  • Miami University; Institute for Entrepreneurship
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Tata Center for Design and Technology
  • University of Colorado, Boulder; Deming Center for Entrepreneurship

Excellence in Entrepreneurship Teaching and Pedagogical Innovation


  • Baylor University; John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise


  • University of Virginia; School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • North Carolina State University ; NC State Entrepreneurship
  • Wake Forest University; Center for Entrepreneurship
  • University of Wales Trinity Saint David; International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development

Outstanding Student Engagement & Leadership

Winners (two):

  • The University of Notre Dame; The IDEA Center
  • Georgetown University; Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative


  • University of North Carolina Wilmington; Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • University of Nebraska at Kearney; Center for Entrepreneurship and Rural Development
  • Cornell University; Entrepreneurship at Cornell

Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Center

Winners (three):

  • Sydney School of Entrepreneurship; Sydney School of Entrepreneurship
  • Virginia Tech; Apex Center for Entrepreneurs
  • Vanderbilt University; the Wond’ry


  • West Virginia University; LaunchLab
  • Smith College; Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center
  • Federal University of Itajuba; Entrepreneurship Center of the Federal University of Itajuba

NASDAQ Center of Entrepreneurial Excellence

  • San Diego State University; Lavin Entrepreneurship Center

About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute also manages Lassonde Studios, a new five-story innovation space and housing facility for all students, in partnership with Housing & Residential Education. Learn more at

About the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship

The GCEC is the premier academic organization addressing the emerging topics of importance to the nation’s university-based centers for entrepreneurship. It has become the vehicle by which the top, established entrepreneurship centers, as well as emerging centers, can work together to share best practices, develop programs and initiatives, and collaborate and assist each other in advancing, strengthening, and celebrating the role of universities in teaching the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. This year’s GCEC Conference was hosted by DePaul University and the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), and supported by other Chicago universities, including Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel provided the opening address to the conference, along with the Presidents of DePaul, Dr. Gabriel Esteban and IIT, Dr. Alan W. Cramb. Learn more at

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