iSchool professor Bruce Kingma (second from right) accepts the award at the Deshpande Foundation Symposium in Lowell, Massachusetts.

By: J.D. Ross
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The Raymond von Dran Innovation and Disruptive Entrepreneurship Accelerator (RvD IDEA) received the award for Excellence in Curriculum Innovation in Entrepreneurship Award at the Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education on June 10.

The Deshpande Foundation co-hosts the Deshpande Symposium, now in its fourth year. It brings together thought leaders in higher education to discuss and share their learning on emerging strategies and successful practices that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship within the curriculum, in accelerating ideas to commercialization and engaging students on campus in entrepreneurship. Each year over 300 attendees from nearly 100 different colleges, universities and institutions come together to network, share and learn from each other.

The foundation believes the RvD IDEA is an outstanding example that represents innovation in curriculum to encourage entrepreneurship and is a great example to its peer organizations and future awardees.

Bruce Kingma, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the School of Information Studies (iSchool) accepted the award on behalf of the RvD IDEA at the symposium, held at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

“The RvD IDEA is an example of what can be accomplished when colleges collaborate,” said Kingma. “Our students dream, believe, and pursue their ideas to create new ventures, and I am thrilled that the Deshpande Foundation has acknowledged this program for excellence in entrepreneurship curriculum innovation.”

Led by faculty from the iSchool, and supported by faculty from across the campus, the RvD IDEA is open to all Syracuse University students, regardless of their major.

“We are pleased to to be recognized with this award and appreciative of all the work that Bruce did to make it happen,” said iSchool Interim Dean Jeff Station.

Since 2008, the RvD IDEA (originally called the Syracuse Student Startup Accelerator) has provided support in the form of funding, mentors, coursework and coaching to hundreds of student ventures.

In 2012, the RvD IDEA launched the Information Technology, Design, & Startups minor to enable students to pursue a startup, regardless of their academic major. That same year, the Syracuse Student Sandbox incubator, run under the RvD IDEA, was awarded the prestigious EDA University Center Award, the only such designation in New York State, by the Department of Commerce.

The annual RvD IDEA Awards competition is the largest student venture competition in New York State, with more than $200,000 awarded annually to venture owners, and serves as the Central New York semifinals for the New York State Business Plan Competition.

The RvD IDEA is named for Raymond von Dran, who served as dean of the iSchool from 1995-2007. Von Dran was a longtime academic entrepreneur who started many innovative programs in higher education and supported student innovation and entrepreneurship at Syracuse University. Shortly after von Dran passed away in 2007, his widow, Gisela von Dran, established the Raymond F. von Dran Fund. She has directed the fund to support the RvD IDEA initiative.