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Bertolino Part of U.S. Commerce Dept. Initiative on Innovation

Bertolino Part of U.S. Commerce Dept. Initiative on Innovation


October 3, 2012

Lyndon State College President Joe Bertolino participated in a forum presented by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the Economic Development Administration on Monday, October 1. The project, called “The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University: Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Focus,” highlighted and discussed the growth of university-based innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization efforts.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) requested Bertolino’s participation in the project because of LSC’s “strong effort to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.” Invitations were also sent to the original signatories of a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in 2011 from university presidents through the President’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE), and the presidents of community colleges and historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) who have dedicated similar efforts to nurture entrepreneurship.

This gathering was part of an ongoing effort by leaders of America’s colleges and universities to foster a climate that promotes student and faculty innovation and entrepreneurship, actively supports university technology transfer, facilitates university-industry collaboration, and engages regional and local economic development efforts.

This was Bertolino’s second trip to the Washington since being appointed LSC’s president. In April, he and Bob Whittaker, Dean of Institutional Advancement, were guests at the White House for the Second National Summit on the Role of Education in Economic Development in Rural America, where two innovative programs at LSC were featured. Both the Leahy Center for Rural Students and the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship (CRE) were cited as “Successful Models of Partnerships.”

Lyndon State established the Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Center for Rural Students in 2009. The Center focuses on two core activities: developing a research center to better understand why rural students don’t persist through and beyond high school at a rate comparable to their urban counterparts, and implementing programs that increase the aspiration and completion rate of rural students, particularly those who are first-in-family, modest income students.

The objective of the CRE is to keep and create jobs in the area while providing real-world, hands-on experiences for LSC’s students. This is accomplished through the Incubator Without Walls, which leverages the expertise of LSC’s students and faculty to assist regional businesses and nonprofit organizations, and the NEK Manufacturing Training Program, which provides educational opportunities to ensure area businesses have a workforce prepared for the demands of 21st century manufacturing.

These programs are funded through a combination of federal and foundation grants, private gifts, corporate sponsorships, and in-kind support from LSC and project partners.