As the national con­ver­sa­tion focuses on America’s global com­pet­i­tive­ness, alumni are step­ping up to sup­port a new Inno­va­tion and Entre­pre­neur­ship Ini­tia­tive at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, including life-​​long entre­pre­neur Alan S. McKim, MBA’88, who has invested $5 mil­lion to create the McKim Entre­pre­neurial Ven­tures Pro­gram. The new pro­gram is designed to pre­pare all col­lege stu­dents, regard­less of their aca­d­emic major, to become the risk-​​taking enter­prisers who will power tomorrow’s global economy.

It builds on a tra­di­tion of major gifts that aim to strengthen the university’s lead­er­ship in entre­pre­neur­ship and innovation.

This com­mit­ment began with phil­an­thropic pio­neer Jean C. Tempel, H’03, who funded start up expen­di­tures, endow­ment, and schol­ar­ships for Northeastern’s School of Tech­no­log­ical Entrepreneurship.

Then, Robert J. Shillman, E’68, H’00, endowed the Robert J. Shillman Trustee Pro­fes­sor­ship in Entrepreneurship.

Last year Richard A. D’Amore, BA’76, invested $5 mil­lion to estab­lish a forth­coming Center for Research Innovation.

Our nation is built on inno­va­tion, cre­ativity and imag­i­na­tion,” said McKim, pres­i­dent, chief exec­u­tive officer and chairman of Clean Har­bors, Inc. “Instilling an entre­pre­neurial mindset and skill-​​set in our stu­dents today is para­mount to ensuring our country’s vitality tomorrow. Expanding schol­ar­ship and research oppor­tu­ni­ties around entre­pre­neur­ship is not only per­son­ally impor­tant to me, it is a national imperative.”

The McKim Entre­pre­neurial Ven­tures Pro­gram will immerse stu­dents in real-​​life learning expe­ri­ences, both in the U.S. and glob­ally, where they will partner with key inno­va­tion stake­holders from the worlds of acad­emia, busi­ness, and pol­i­tics to learn how to take risks, manage the results, and learn from the outcomes.

The world’s best entre­pre­neurs make strategic and pow­erful invest­ments,” said North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Pres­i­dent Joseph Aoun. “The impact of Alan McKim’s phil­an­thropy will tran­scend North­eastern as our grad­u­ates go on to invent new indus­tries, create jobs, solve soci­etal prob­lems, and ulti­mately sharpen America’s com­pet­i­tive edge.”

North­eastern already has a broad port­folio of entre­pre­neur­ship edu­ca­tion. At North­eastern, stu­dents across all col­leges take part in co-​​op around the nation and the world, spe­cialize in entre­pre­neur­ship through sev­eral degree pro­grams, and engage in other ini­tia­tives, stu­dent groups and work­shops that inspire inno­va­tion, imag­i­na­tion and creativity.

The gift but­tresses Northeastern’s new Inno­va­tion and Entre­pre­neur­ship Ini­tia­tive, and the forth­coming estab­lish­ment of a Center for Research Inno­va­tion, which was estab­lished by D’Amore’s $5 mil­lion gift last year. Through the center, newly devel­oped “Inno­va­tion Teams” of industry experts will work with fac­ulty and stu­dents to iden­tify com­mer­cial appli­ca­tions for their ideas, and guide them through the busi­ness, finan­cial and product devel­op­ment stages.

We need entre­pre­neurs to sup­port inno­va­tion and we need inno­va­tion to com­pete,” said Diane MacGillivray, senior vice pres­i­dent for Uni­ver­sity Advance­ment. “These gifts are a great example of the syn­ergy that results when entrepreneurially-​​minded alumni partner with their alma mater to solve a national chal­lenge. It’s phil­an­thropy at its finest.”

In 2005, Richard and Alan part­nered to estab­lish the McKim-D’Amore Dis­tin­guished Pro­fes­sor­ship of Global Man­age­ment and Innovation.