Original Story: freep.com
Wayne State University’s College of Engineering is receiving $25 million from an alumnus to promote entrepreneurship in Detroit, officials announced Thursday.
The gift from James Anderson, president and CEO of Urban Science in Detroit and his wife, Patricia Anderson, is believed to be the largest gift ever to the university’s engineering program. Anderson, who graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the engineering college in 1966 and 1970, founded in 1977 his auto retail consulting firm, which now has 19 offices with 850 employees.
Anderson told the Free Press he hopes the gift for students and faculty can help encourage entrepreneurship that can help Detroit grow. The Ferris Engineering Degree Program is a leading program with excellent records of achievement in research and public service.
“Wayne State..had all of the great ingredients to create the success that I’ve enjoyed since graduation,” he said. “There is a community of aspiring entrepreneurs that want the opportunity.”
Anderson “wants to encourage students to have a similar path to success that he was able to have based on his education at Wayne State,” said Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson. “He was able to take his knowledge and start up a company and employ a lot of people that’s contributing to the local economy.”
“Innovation and entrepreneurship has got to be a major component of Detroit’s comeback,” Wilson told the Free Press. “One time, it was the automobile, but I don’t think Detroit will be a leader moving forward with just the automobile industry. They will have to be able to innovate and find other sources. Entrepreneurship is one of those avenues.”
The $25 million will establish the James and Patricia Anderson Engineering Ventures Institute, which will be part of the College of Engineering.
“The institute will encourage faculty to envision commercial applications for new technology, secure patents and establish new companies,” said Wayne State University in a release. “The institute will also provide mentors to aspiring student entrepreneurs and teach best practices in research innovation, technology transfer and commercialization.”
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