The Pitch Contest: The second annual The Pitch contest expanded on its success from the augural year. Although The Pitch is organized and sponsored by the Centennial Center for Leadership, it is a program that touches on all phases of the HWS community. Over the last two years, 71 students have participated in The Pitch. Since its inception, the program has received 38 proposals from individuals as well as teams. 14 alums have served as mentors and 5 have served as judges. 14 members of our faculty and staff have served on the contest’s selection committees. Additionally, 4 local entrepreneurs have served on the selection committees. This year approximately 250 students attended the final event on March 6th and 32 viewers watched the event’s live web stream. Zach Lerman ’13 and Andrew King ’14, creators of SpaceVinyl, won the $10,000 grant against three other formidable finalists. Finalists consisted of two non-profits and two for-profits; student finalists represented a broad range of academic majors. Each finalist presented an 8 minute pitch and responded to a 5 minute Q/A. The judging panel included Sandy Gross ’85, Max Henry ‘78, Stuart Lieblein ’90, Bruce Kingma (Associate Provost of Innovation at Syracuse University) and Duncan Moore (Vice President of Entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester). SpaceVinyl is the first for-profit winner of The Pitch. On April 3rd, SpaceVinyl and a second finalist, Hempitecture, won at the regional round of the NY State Business Plan competition. 48 proposals were sent in from institutions across the Finger Lakes region and 24 were selected to compete in the regionals. Space Vinyl advanced in the for-profit category and Hempitecture advanced in the Energy/Sustainability category. Both teams will compete in the state round on April 26th in Albany, NY for a grand prize of $50,000.
HWS IdeaLab: Centennial Center for Leadership has created a new program called the HWS IdeaLab, which supports The Pitch contest and further cultivates entrepreneurial leadership on campus. 20 students applied to the first IdeaLab this spring and 10 proposals were selected by a student committee in coordination with the CCL. They participated in a six-week workshop series facilitated by faculty, alums and CCL staff. The IdeaLab is an accelerator program designed to power student ideas. Following the six workshops, students will submit proposals for the student committee to review. $3000 will be allocated to various projects as seed funding to further student ideas.
Leadership Fellowships: The Cohen Fellowship ($1500) was awarded to Subin Nepal in the Fall 2012. Subin developed and implemented an individual research project in his home country Nepal. Working with school official, Subin created a Technology Resource Center at a high school in a remote village. Subin installed two desktop computers, internet and then lead five days of teacher technology training. Click here to view Subin’s presentation and final report.
Leadership Café: On February 27th, Dr. Chris Howard was the featured guest for Leadership Café. Dr. Howard is the President of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and this year’s John Henry Hobart Fellow in Residence. Dr. Howard is one of the youngest college presidents nationwide (he is 40). He has had great success as an African-American president at a pre-dominantly white college. Dr. Howard was president of his class at the Air Force Academy, a Rhodes Scholar, Oxford Ph.D, Harvard MBA, vice president at GE and head of the honors college at the University of Oklahoma. Prior to his President’s Forum keynote, Jeanine Cryan ’15 interviewed Dr. Howard on February 26th for the Café where he addressed leadership topics, education issues and his experiences as a college president. On April 9th, renowned photographer and founder of Extreme Ice Survey, James Balog, visited the CCL as a Leadership Café guest. The Extreme Ice Survey is the most wide-ranging photographic study of glaciers ever conducted. His photographs are featured in the Oscar-winning documentary, Chasing Ice. Liam Allman ’15 interviewed Balog about his on-the-ground observations and courageous leadership.