Lesa Mitchell of the Kauffman Foundation to Discuss Innovation at RIT May 6

Discover how universities play a role in economic development and entrepreneurial growth




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Lesa Mitchell

“Universities now are expected to generate growth, rather than merely sustain it, especially through entrepreneurial companies bringing research to market.”

— Lesa Mitchell, Kauffman Foundation


Lesa Mitchell, vice president of advancing innovation with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, is an advocate for identifying new models to foster innovation.

Mitchell will be coming to Rochester Institute of Technology to discuss “The Emergence of the Innovation University” at 11 a.m. May 6 in the B. Thomas Golisano Hall auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

During her tenure at the Kauffman Foundation, Mitchell has been instrumental in the founding of the iBridge Network, the Translational Medicine Alliance and the National Academies-based University-Industry Partnership. She is also a leader in the replication of innovator-based mentor programs across the U.S.

“The Kauffman Foundation is the most influential foundation promoting entrepreneurship and the commercialization of invention,” says Richard DeMartino, director of RIT’s Albert J. Simone Center for Entrepreneurship. “Their entire process is to enable the economy to grow and for individuals to be self-empowered by the power of entrepreneurial activity. In the last several years, since we’ve had the recession, they have focused more of their efforts on how to promote jobs through entrepreneurial activity.

“An important component in the knowledge economy is the role of universities, and the Kauffman Foundation has been especially interested in RIT’s research and development programs. Lesa is a bold advocate and one of the leading minds in the processes to de-shackle the energy of a university into the national and international economy. She will discuss with us what the innovation university is, and what it can be.”

The Kauffman Foundation was established by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. The not-for-profit foundation, with more than $2 billion in assets, is the largest American foundation to focus on education and entrepreneurship. Based in Kansas City, Mo., the president and CEO is Carl Schramm.

For more information about Lesa Mitchell’s visit to RIT, contact Richard DeMartino at 585-475-5646.

Note: Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized for academic leadership in computing, engineering, imaging technology, sustainability, and fine and applied arts, in addition to unparalleled support services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. RIT enrolls 17,000 full- and part-time students in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs, and its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.

For two decades, U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIT among the nation’s leading comprehensive universities. RIT is featured in The Princeton Review’s 2011 edition of The Best 373 Colleges as well as its Guide to 286 Green Colleges. The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011 includes RIT among more than 300 of the country’s most interesting colleges and universities.

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Lesa Mitchell