UH Receives Entrepreneurial University Award

Published on June 12, 2019

Wolff Center Honored for Innovative Education, Student Engagement

HOUSTON, June 12, 2019 – The University of Houston has received the 2019 Entrepreneurial University Award from the Deshpande Foundation. The award, announced Tuesday evening, recognizes work by the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the C. T. Bauer College of Business.

The award, the top honor bestowed by the foundation, reflects the all-encompassing nature of the entrepreneurship program, which draws students from around the university to its courses and offers both a certificate and an undergraduate degree. University officials say the program is uniquely positioned to boost Houston’s efforts to create an innovation ecosystem by building the city’s entrepreneurial workforce.

Students who have taken entrepreneurship classes at UH within the past decade have started 1,006 businesses, with identified funding of just over $238 million, said Ed Blair, chairman of the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

The Deshpande Foundation, based in Massachusetts, supports entrepreneurship and innovation in the United States, Canada and India, including offering annual awards for university programs. The winners were announced at the Deshpande Symposium for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education, held at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. 

Dave Cook, director of the Wolff Center, said entrepreneurship is crucial for the nation’s future. “It’s the future of business,” he said. “Seventy percent of all jobs created in this country are the result of entrepreneurial endeavors. Innovation, the ability to solve problems, are part of the can-do spirit of our country, and it’s a critical part of our future because change is occurring so rapidly.”

The University of Houston was honored with The Entrepreneurial University Award by the Deshpande Symposium on June 11. Shown at the awards event are, from left, Jack Wilson, former UMass system president and founder of the Jack M. Wilson Center for Entrepreneurship at UMass Lowell; Bauer College Interim Dean Tom George; and Deshpande Foundation Executive Director Raj Melville. The eighth annual conference, held June 10 through June 12, is presented by UMass Lowell and the Deshpande Foundation. (Photo credit: Tory Wesnofske for the Deshpande Symposium)

UH received the Excellence in Student Engagement award and was a finalist for the Excellence in Curriculum Innovation award in 2018. Northeastern University received the top award that year.

Paul A. Pavlou, incoming dean of the Bauer College, noted that Bauer and the Wolff Center long have been known for innovative work in entrepreneurship.

“Over the past decade, the Wolff Center’s reputation as one of the nation’s leading entrepreneurship programs has grown tremendously, and this award from the Deshpande Foundation reinforces that Bauer College is empowering students to innovate through a world-class program that emphasizes experiential learning and personalized attention by dedicated mentors,” Pavlou said.

Wolff Center students spend much of their time outside the classroom, creating business plans and, often, launching their own businesses. In addition to UH faculty – most faculty teaching in the program have entrepreneurial experience – more than 400 mentors from the business world have worked with Wolff Center students.

The undergraduate program has been ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the country by the Princeton Review for eight of the past 11 years. But Blair said what really sets the Wolff Center apart is the sheer volume of students who participate in its programs, as well as the variety of those programs: about 2,500 UH students take at least one entrepreneurship course every year, and more than 700 complete the multicourse certificate program.


About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter for excellence in undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city and one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse regions in the country, UH is a federally designated Hispanic- and Asian-American-Serving institution with enrollment of more than 46,000 students.

About the C. T. Bauer College of Business

The C. T. Bauer College of Business has been in operation for more than 60 years at the University of Houston main campus. Through its five academic departments, the college offers a full-range of undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees in business as well as executive education and community engagement initiatives. The Bauer College is fully accredited by the AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In August 2000, Houston business leader and philanthropist Charles T. (Ted) Bauer endowed the College of Business with a $40 million gift. In recognition of his generosity, the college was renamed the C. T. Bauer College of Business.