By Stephen Wilson

Over the last five years of change at the Dyer Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, there have been more activities in which students can think about innovation and entrepreneurship, learning the ins and outs of launching a venture into the marketplace. While many students go on to for-profit and nonprofit careers, they still enjoy exploring the startup process as one way to think about what professional life may encompass, and perhaps even for the day an idea or project takes shape and alters their professional trajectory.

It’s not only alumni contributing to this environment after launching successful startups and sharing their successes and life lessons. The College has a long track record of embedding innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship into the curricular and co-curricular experience. 

Chris Ruebeck, associate professor of economics, rattles off several professors who have been instrumental in creating the space for future entrepreneurs. Among the many are John Nestor, electrical and computer engineering; Ed Gamber, formerly in economics; Wendy Hill, former provost; Diane Ahl, art history; Fluney Hutchinson, economics; Larry Malinconico, geology; and Rex Ahene, economics. 

Keeping that history and students’ evolving interests in mind, Ruebeck has navigated new ground in his role as the inaugural faculty director at the Dyer Center. As that role finished after two years of service, he considered what he has accomplished and what the future might hold for student innovators and their faculty partners.

Strengths

“When Yusuf Dahl took the reins as director of the Dyer Center, he developed a rich set of co-curricular activities for students. Currently, that varied suite of activities continues to build steam based on student interests and involvement.”

Portrait of Dyer Center team

Chris Ruebeck, Jolene Cardassi, Yusuf Dahl in the Dyer Center

Accomplishments

He also highlights the role he played in helping launch and propel ideas forward in several areas in the center and across campus, including …

  • Connections between the Dyer Center and Landis Center. While there are aspects in which they operate in different spheres, they have many common interests, passionate engagement among students, and many areas for possible collaboration.
  • Serving as a bridge to the faculty. The center launched a social entrepreneurship course that has been taught by two leaders in not-for-profit work. Rachel Hogan Carr, executive director of Easton’s Nurture Nature Center, is looking forward to moving the course forward after teaching it this spring following its initial offering with former Entrepreneur in Residence Marty Johnson. 
  • Looking at what the future could bring. Working with many students in their leadership roles at the Dyer Center, but especially co-supervising Rabia Demirelli ’21 in her senior thesis studying social entrepreneurship pedagogy. 
  • Mentoring students who brought new clubs to life. Serving as faculty adviser to the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization and the new Consulting Club.

Valued Team

“All in all, I enjoyed working with the Dyer team—Yusuf and Jolene as well as the student fellows.”

Future Opportunities

“While some of our momentum was stalled by the pandemic, the future of innovation on campus is in the hands of the students who have an interest in the topic. There is much that they can accomplish by getting connected to the right resources and knowledge sources.” 

Done Differently

“In a moment of reflection, I would have liked to have found more ways to help faculty across campus introduce small discipline-appropriate and subject-specific elements related to entrepreneurship into a variety of classes. There are many ways to collaborate with and support the ways in which our faculty bring their subjects to students and enhance their understanding of and engagement with the world around them.”

Dyer Center

Educating the next generation of innovators

Dyer's co-curricular programs offer students an outstanding opportunity to extend knowledge and skills out of the classroom, coupled with the rich liberal art education offered at Lafayette College

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Categorized in: Dyer Center, Economics, Faculty and Staff, Faculty Profiles, Featured News, Innovation and Research, News and Features

1 Comment

  1. Jash K. Patel says:

    It is very great to see the extent of collaboration in the Dyer center. I cannot be more excited to be accepted to Lafayette and join the Dyer Center.

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