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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Entrepreneur Pledges $1 Million to Give Scientists and Engineers a New Outlook

April 9, 2001

Entrepreneur Pledges $1 Million to Give Scientists and Engineers a New Outlook

Troy, N.Y. — Every graduate of a technological university should have a solid grounding in entrepreneurship, says Mike Herman, who has just invested $1 million to transform degree programs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

“The real breakthrough ideas for new products and services come from scientists and engineers,” says Herman. “They’re the creators of emerging business opportunities. That’s why they need to be immersed in entrepreneurial know-how.”

An unabashed evangelist for entrepreneurship, Herman has spent 30 years practicing and encouraging new business formation. He has developed nuclear fuels, been a venture capitalist, worked as a top executive in pharmaceuticals, headed a major league baseball club, and has long served on the board of the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation, America’s pioneering force in entrepreneurship education.

Now, Herman, his wife, Karen, and their children have committed $1 million from the Herman Family Foundation to make Rensselaer the first technological university where students in all fields will learn what it takes for companies to succeed in the 21st century.

For the Hermans, this latest gift is part of a long history of investing in entrepreneurship education at Rensselaer. They have supported numerous scholarship programs and an annual graduate fellowship for entrepreneurial women.

This generosity is the natural outgrowth of being an entrepreneur, says Herman. “You’ll find that entrepreneurs are the greatest philanthropists. Entrepreneurs want to make a difference. In general, money for them is not something to hold onto - it’s something to put to work.

”Entrepreneurship is more than just the key to better products and a robust economy,“ says Herman. ”Entrepreneurial ventures are a source of hope for people everywhere, especially the disenfranchised. It’s the young, growing companies — not the corporate giants — who provide real opportunities and jobs for single mothers, Hispanics, blacks, and other minorities.“

At Rensselaer, Herman’s $1 million grant will provide start-up funds to infuse entrepreneurship throughout the curriculum — not simply to develop new courses, but to give an entrepreneurial thrust to the entire expanse of current programs in science, engineering, architecture, information technology, management, and the humanities.

Contact: Bruce Adams
Phone: (518) 276-6531
E-mail: N/A