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Kimberly Jenkins Stepping Down as Duke's Entrepreneurship Leader
Durham, NC - Kimberly Jenkins, the technology pioneer who two years ago helped launch Duke University's initiative to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, said Tuesday she plans to step down July 1 as its leader now that it has reached a new level of prominence on campus.
Jenkins, a Duke alumna and former trustee who previously worked alongside Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and other prominent entrepreneurs, will leave Duke to join a new start-up venture. She has been serving as senior adviser to the president and provost for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Robert Calderbank, dean of the natural sciences in the College of Arts and Science, will become interim director of the campus initiative, which in May received a $15 million gift from trustee David M. Rubenstein to support several activities designed to spur start-up ventures by faculty, staff, students and alumni.
"I'm an entrepreneur at heart, so we agreed when I started that my role would be to help get this initiative off the ground, weave it into the mission of the university and assemble a team of great people to take it forward," Jenkins said. "We're now in a great place and I'm excited to see how everyone at Duke will carry on this work, from training undergraduates and graduate students to start their own businesses and social ventures to encouraging faculty to move their discoveries into the marketplace to create new jobs and industries."
Jenkins said her team recently worked with faculty, students, alumni and others to develop a strategic plan for Duke to become a national leader in this arena. The initiative has outlined a new undergraduate curriculum, established a Duke in Silicon Valley program, piloted several internships and incubator programs and engaged thousands of Duke alumni in regional "pitch events" and other activities.
In addition, Duke undergraduates can now live in a special dorm focused on entrepreneurship, whose residents created several businesses this past year, or participate in an annual Start-Up Challenge that awards prizes to the best entrepreneurial ideas. Duke collaborated with other local universities in establishing a network to boost the Research Triangle as a national center of innovation. It also received national recognition as an "Ashoka Changemaker" campus for its extensive efforts to promote social entrepreneurship.
"When Kimberly Jenkins was a trustee, she kept telling us Duke had the potential to become a major player in promoting entrepreneurship," said Duke President Richard Brodhead. "It turned out she was correct -- and she was the perfect person to point us in the right direction. Her team has accomplished so much in a short time and we are determined to build on those successes."
Provost Peter Lange, the university's chief academic officer, said, "Kimberly guided our innovation and entrepreneurship programs to a new level of visibility and enthusiasm with students, faculty and alumni, and positioned Duke to take a leadership role nationally.
"I am grateful to Robert Calderbank for taking on the important role of continuing the momentum of the past two years," Lange added.
Calderbank, an inventor with 25 patents to his name, previously served as vice president for research at AT&T, where he oversaw intellectual property issues. He said he looks forward to working with faculty and others across campus who are already active with the initiative, such as Howie Rhee of The Fuqua School of Business who helps lead the Duke Global Entrepreneurship Network (DukeGEN) that includes more than 4,200 members.
Calderbank said he also plans to welcome new participants such as Eric Toone, a Duke professor of chemistry and biochemistry and founder of two venture-backed companies who is currently leading the ARPA-E advanced research program of the U.S. Department of Energy.
"There's so much energy and activity now around entrepreneurship and innovation," Calderbank said. "We've greatly expanded the opportunities for students to learn about this and try it out for themselves. Our faculty are working together on classes and new ventures across their various departments and schools. Many of our alumni and parents have gotten involved as well. The wind is behind us and weâre going to keep this moving."
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