News Release 

Entrepreneurship event celebrates 10th anniversary

Deshpande Symposium marks a decade of assisting, educating entrepreneurs

University of Massachusetts Lowell

Scientific Meeting Announcement

LOWELL, Mass. - More than 1,000 educators, entrepreneurs and other experts will participate in the 10th annual Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education Thursday, June 10 through Friday, June 11.

The virtual symposium is presented by its founders UMass Lowell and the Deshpande Foundation along with the Burton D. Morgan Foundation. The event - which is typically held in person each June - will be conducted virtually for the second time in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our 10th annual symposium could not come at a more important time for entrepreneurship, as startups and other new ventures will play a critical role in helping the global economy rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. We have an important role to play in encouraging their success through education and other support," said UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney, who launched the symposium with Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande, entrepreneur and co-founder of the Deshpande Foundation.

The program will feature two keynote speakers, Sethuraman Panchanathan, Ph.D., director of the National Science Foundation, an $8.3B federal agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation and STEM education, and Gilda A. Barabino, Ph.D., president of Olin College of Engineering and professor of biomedical and chemical engineering who specializes in sickle cell disease, cellular and tissue engineering, and the role of race/ethnicity and gender in science and engineering. Barabino's address will be Thursday, June 10 from 11:15 a.m. to noon. Panchanathan will speak on Friday, June 11 from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

"The National Science Foundation's core mission is to advance the frontiers of research, education and discovery. But it is the power of our partnerships and collaborations, including those with our nation's colleges and universities, that fuels the translation of discovery to social impact through innovation and entrepreneurship. As a leading voice for innovative thinking in higher education, the mission of the Deshpande Symposium aligns well with the future of NSF and the future of science across the nation," said Panchanathan.

"Educators, policymakers and industry must join together if we are to address the critical issues of our day and forums such as the Deshpande Symposium are essential to providing space for this kind of dialogue. Dismantling systemic racism and inequalities in higher education, in engineering and more broadly will require efforts to think and operate in new ways as we work toward the common goal of institutional change," said Barabino.

Registration for the symposium is being accepted at

"We welcome the community of higher ed innovators and thought leaders from hundreds of institutions around the world to this year's 10th annual Deshpande Symposium. Given the many challenges facing higher ed and the world at large, it's more important than ever that we come together to share best practices, discuss new ideas and develop strategic collaborations to advance innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives on our campuses and beyond. This year's virtual Deshpande Symposium provides a compelling opportunity to do just that via a rich program of thought-provoking panels, keynotes and plenary sessions," said organizer Tom O'Donnell, UMass Lowell's senior director of innovation initiatives.

"In April 2012, a small, energized group gathered at UMass Lowell to launch what became the Deshpande Symposium, now holding its 10th convening. Despite the pandemic issues of the past year, we are confident the firm entrepreneurial foundations laid over the past decade and shared at the symposium have helped build resilient partner institutions that are training innovative and enterprising leaders to address any future challenges. We look forward to welcoming a global audience for the next virtual Deshpande Symposium," said Raj Melville, executive director, Deshpande Foundation.

"Celebrating 10 years of advancing university-based entrepreneurship and innovation, Deshpande Symposium colleagues are excited to gather virtually this June for an important summit on how this burgeoning field can build even more steam as we emerge from the pandemic. In June 2022, Cleveland, Ohio-based Burton D. Morgan Foundation will be eager to welcome entrepreneurship champions from higher education to explore and celebrate the great promise of students everywhere gaining entrepreneurial skills and muscle," said Deb Hoover, president and CEO, Burton D. Morgan Foundation.

The symposium is organized into four tracks by focus. For 2021, these are Entrepreneurial Universities: Culture and Ecosystems, Entrepreneurship in the Curriculum, University Research Commercialization and Startups, and Emerging Trends, with each track featuring a variety of panels of presentations and discussions. Participants can decide to virtually attend all or some of the sessions based on their interests.

Highlights of the symposium will include the plenary panel "10th Anniversary Reflections" featuring Deshpande, Moloney and Judith Cone, former vice chancellor for innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development of the University of North Carolina on Thursday, June 10 from 5 to 6 p.m. The plenary panel "Looking to the Future and Cleveland Tee-Up" on Friday, June 11 from 5:15 to 5:45 p.m. will feature Hoover, along with Jim McLellan, professor of chemical engineering and academic director, Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre, Queen's University; Barry Rosenbaum, senior fellow, University of Akron Research Foundation; Chris Scotti, director of new ventures, Texas A&M University Innovation Partners; and Judy Hogan, Middlesex Community College dean of business, education and public service.

"For 10 years, Middlesex Community College has relied on the knowledge and innovative thinking we've gained at the Deshpande Symposium to inform our entrepreneurship programming, curriculum and community support initiatives. Of equal importance has been the partnerships we have formed such as our collaboration with the UMass Lowell DifferenceMaker Program and the rich experiences our students have had that never would have come to be without this event," said Hogan.

The full schedule of speakers, panelists and events can be found at

After a one-year hiatus, the symposium will again present its annual awards for excellence in various aspects of entrepreneurship education. The award winners will be announced during the symposium.


UMass Lowell is a national research university offering its more than 18,000 students bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the globe.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.