Duke gets $15 million for entrepreneurship

David M. Rubenstein
David M. Rubenstein

DURHAM, N.C. –David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, a global alternative-asset manager, and member of the board of trustees of Duke University, has donated $15 million to Duke to spur its Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative.

The gift from Rubenstein, a Duke graduate, will be used to establish new programs, enhance existing programs and support course development, internships, research, guest faculty and administrative operations that spur the creation of start-up ventures by faculty, staff, students and alumni.                                                         

“Every successful institution began as someone’s bright idea, and the creativity and can-do spirit of entrepreneurs are playing an ever more important role in building the economy and solving social challenges,” said Richard H. Brodhead, Duke’s president.

“In today’s economic climate, sparking and training the entrepreneurial spirit is a fundamental goal of education,” he said.

Duke announced the launch of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative in October 2010 to expand the societal impact of Duke inventions and to better serve students and faculty who seek to establish their own ventures as entrepreneurs.

Hired to lead the initiative was Kimberly Jenkins, a university alumna and former trustee who has launched entrepreneurial ventures with leading technology companies and established a prominent nonprofit organization.

Since the launch of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, the university has been working to strengthen its existing programs in entrepreneurship, establish new programs to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs, build a stronger culture of research innovation across Duke and move campus ventures to the global market and create new jobs.

Rubenstein’s gift will be used to create courses, an incubator and mentoring programs that support undergraduate, graduate and professional students in their development of important innovations and new ventures. It will also expand on programs funded, in part, with gifts from other donors.

A native of Baltimore who graduated magna cum laude from Duke in 1970 and serves as vice chair of the university’s board of trustees, Rubenstein in 2011gave Duke University Libraries its largest gift ever — $13.6 million — to support the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.

In 2009, he donated $5.75 million to the Sanford School of Public Policy to help it transition from an institute into Duke’s 10th school; and he contributed $5 million in 2002 to complete the construction of Sanford’s Rubenstein Hall.

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