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Lehigh ranked among nation’s top entrepreneurial programs

Entrepreneur magazine and the Princeton Review have released the results of a joint survey ranking the nation’s best undergraduate and graduate schools for entrepreneurs. Lehigh University and the newly formed Dexter F. Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation were recognized as one of the top 25 undergraduate programs, coming in at 16 out of more than 2,000 colleges and universities.

In addition to teaching strong entrepreneurship fundamentals in the classroom and staffing departments with instructors who are successful entrepreneurs, criteria for the school rankings included excellence in mentorship and providing experiential or entrepreneurial opportunities outside of the classroom.

“This is recognition not so much of a single program at Lehigh, but rather the wide array of opportunities all over campus and of the deep supporting infrastructure, both at Lehigh and from our community partners,” says Todd Watkins, executive director of the Baker Institute, which oversees Lehigh’s entrepreneurial programs.

“Lehigh has a host of opportunities for students in any major to develop innovative ideas for new businesses or nonprofits. This national recognition will stimulate even more students to take advantage of being in this environment to explore their own entrepreneurial ideas and change the world somehow along the way. It will also attract even more incoming students who want to join in and add to the creative and dynamic entrepreneurial energy here.”

Lehigh has built a large network of partners on campus, in the community and among alumni. Students have internship opportunities with a variety of local entrepreneurs and start-ups, where they work directly with senior-level officers and get exposure to business operations and the mindset of successful entrepreneurs.

Due in part to Lehigh’s extensive partnerships in the city, Bethlehem was named one of the best places to “Live and Launch” by Fortune Small Business Magazine in 2008. The editors wrote, “Bethlehem, once the Lehigh Valley’s steel capital, is now bustling with tech and biotech start-ups, thanks to resources stemming from Lehigh University and health care centers in the region.”

Lehigh is also noted for its interdisciplinary approach to undergraduate education. The Baker Institute provides resources and infrastructure to support the related activities of academic departments and programs across Lehigh’s four colleges. It brings students from a variety of academic concentrations together in nationally recognized cross-disciplinary programs, including Integrated Product Development, Computer Science and Business, and Integrated Business and Engineering.

The results of the survey, along with the analysis, appear in the October issue of Entrepreneur, which hits newsstands on Sept. 21.

Story by Emily Groff

Posted on Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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