Chesterton will join Lafayette Aug. 1
Lafayette College has named Rita Chesterton director of its Dyer Center for Innovation + Entrepreneurship. Chesterton, director of innovation and entrepreneurship programs at Muhlenberg College since 2015, will join Lafayette Aug. 1.
“It’s exciting to have Rita join Lafayette and lead our incredible Dyer Center,” says Audra Kahr, Lafayette’s executive vice president for finance and administration. “Rita is well positioned to make Dyer Center connections with entrepreneurs in Easton and throughout the Lehigh Valley. Her experience will directly benefit our students and community, and we look forward to expanding the Dyer Center’s reach under her leadership.”
“I am looking forward to joining the Lafayette College community as part of the team at the Dyer Center, helping to grow the center and expand its mission of increasing the creative capacity of students to lead and inspire change,” Chesterton says. “By embracing entrepreneurship within the liberal arts, the Dyer Center can help to equip students with invaluable skills to navigate an ever-evolving world by fostering innovation, resilience, and a lifelong passion for learning.”
In her roles as director of innovation and entrepreneurship programs and an associate professor at Muhlenberg, Chesterton has been responsible for developing and growing a new interdisciplinary program focused on integrating entrepreneurial thinking into the liberal arts curriculum. She established the curriculum for a new interdisciplinary minor in innovation and entrepreneurship and taught multiple courses across campus.
Prior to joining Muhlenberg, Chesterton served as a litigation attorney 2003-2005 and then spent seven years teaching in the Saucon Valley School District. Her desire to help classroom teachers integrate technologies more simply led her to found Skaffl, LLC, a technology startup that created tablet applications for use in K-12 classrooms. A practicing entrepreneur, Chesterton also is involved in advising multiple startups, including as a partner in Gapka Artisan Oil Paints.
Chesterton earned her B.A. in international relations with a minor in history from West Chester University, M.Ed. in instructional technology from Arcadia University, and both MBA and J.D. from Temple University. Chesterton resides in Allentown with her partner, two children, and their cat.
Bradbury Dyer, III ’64 helped establish the Dyer Center for Innovation + Entrepreneurship through a generous gift to Lafayette in 2017. The Center’s mission is to foster and sustain a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that increases the creative capacity of Lafayette students to lead and inspire change, with the primary goal of enhancing student outcomes. Additional goals are: (1) to create an innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus that encourages faculty and administrative staff to think in ways that generate novel approaches to solving societal, community, and College challenges; and (2) to foster student efforts to engage with and contribute to the local, regional, and national innovation economies by adding value to organizations, businesses, and communities.
During the past year of operation, the Dyer Center directly engaged 623 students and 52 faculty members. The Center sponsored four professionals in residence, led 14 workshops and three boot camps, consulted with over 30 student venture teams, and mentored three startups in the summer accelerator program. In addition, the Dyer team developed and delivered three academic courses and gave 20 guest lectures across a wide range of academic disciplines.