In a public letter published Thursday, President Barron announced the university’s whopping $30 million investment in “economic development and student career success.” With this new endeavor, Barron hopes to give Penn Staters’ great ideas a chance to grow into useful products, and spur job creation and economic development throughout the Commonwealth in doing so.
Where does $30 million to support Penn State entrepreneurs go? “These investments will create a powerful path to economic development, with strong local and state impact. They also will allow us to train students at the cutting edge, and place students in those emerging fields and job opportunities,” Barron’s letter said. “This investment includes a one-time, start-up and capital investment as well as annual funding of more than $5 million, although we expect that number to grow as we share our vision.”
There are already deliberate plans for that $30 million: Barron’s letter cites the hiring of enrepreneurs-in-residence, new faculty members in budding fields, and the creation of faculty innovation incentives among the university’s plans for the money, along with the creation of physical spaces across Pennsylvania to hold “entreprenurial boot camps.” The money will also hire experts to provide support for new companies, as well as an “online branded platform” to encourage outside donors to support them.
This investment truly ties together the university and the Commonwealth, Barron says. “This is what it means to be a public university that combines excellence in teaching, research and service,” he said. “It also embodies our mission of ensuring access to a top-notch education and improving the quality of life for everyone in the state, and society in general.”