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Dartmouth Expands Commitment to Entrepreneurship
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Building on a rapidly expanding network of alumni, students, and faculty who want to launch business ventures and social enterprises, Dartmouth is establishing a center for entrepreneurship, with a lead gift from Allison and Rick Magnuson ’79. The Magnusons have pledged $20 million toward the creation of the center, part of an overall $40 million investment to infuse entrepreneurship across the Dartmouth campus through endowed funding.

The College has received an additional16 gifts of $1 million from a group of alumni leaders in technology, venture capital, and private equity—creating the Dartmouth Founders Circle and bringing gifts and commitments for the center to $36 million. The new center, to be named the Magnuson Family Center for Entrepreneurship at Dartmouth College, will be a dynamic hub for faculty, student, and alumni connected to any department or school at Dartmouth.

Announced as part of The Call to Lead, Dartmouth’s $3 billion campaign, the center’s fundamental mission will be to:

  • Attract more entrepreneurial-minded students and faculty;
  • Offer students a robust mix of co-curricular programs to develop their business; skills, as well as providing programs for faculty and alumni;
  • Expand the diversity of new venture ideas across the campus;
  • Increase the placement of students in internship positions; and
  • Contribute to solving complex world problems.

From Seed Funder to Lead Funder

“The entrepreneurial spirit is flourishing throughout the Dartmouth community, as students and alumni make connections, forge brilliant ideas, and transform concepts into exciting ventures,” says President Phil Hanlon. “When we started exploring how we could create an entrepreneurship program in a way that engaged alumni and students, Rick was among the first people we contacted. Over the past four years, he has been one of the most committed supporters and advocates for this campus-wide push.”

Magnuson, founder and executive managing director of GI Partners, a San Francisco-based private equity firm, recalled how he and classmate John Saer ’79 established a transportation service while they were undergraduates at Dartmouth. The business had its successes and setbacks, he said, but was ultimately a powerful learning experience.

“I want as many Dartmouth students as possible to have the same opportunity that John and I had—and the center for entrepreneurship is going to help students, and faculty, who want to execute on their innovative ideas,” Magnuson says. “Through its co-curricular program, the center will offer students the opportunity to learn basic business skills, providing a foundation for success.”

The Dartmouth Founders Project, a network of alumni who have pledged to support Dartmouth as their businesses grow, is the first program of its kind in the Ivy League, and one of only six nationally. It has grown quickly, with 81 members joining in 10 months. Hanlon says an anonymous donor has established a prize and competition to honor Jeff Crowe ’78, a leader in the Dartmouth entrepreneurship community. The prize will be awarded annually through a startup competition to be held in Hanover.

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