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Chicago Energy Entrepreneur More than Doubles Gift to Chicago Booth School of Business

Chicago Booth

The namesake of the Michael P. Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business this week increased his gift to the school to $15 million. Polsky, a noted Chicago energy entrepreneur, initially donated $7 million in 2002. The additional $8 million he has now given will enable the entrepreneurship center his previous gift established to expand its efforts to foster new ventures across the entire university, the school announced.

To reflect its expanded mission, the center will now be called the Michael P. Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In addition to expanding the reach of the center, the recent addition of funds will create new multidisciplinary programs, provide for cross-campus interdisciplinary collaboration on developing new ventures and support a growing number of innovation initiatives at the university.

“This gift will enable the Polsky Center to expand its mission of encouraging entrepreneurship, which drives our economy and is the core of the American spirit,” Polsky said in a statement. A 1987 graduate of Booth’s MBA program, Polsky is the founder and chief executive of Chicago-based Invenergy, a leading global clean energy company and North America’s largest independent privately owned wind power generation company.

“Entrepreneurs lead the way in innovation and job creation, which in turn benefits our entire society,” Polsky continued. “I am proud that we are investing further in our efforts to foster and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit among the entire University of Chicago community.”

Chicago Booth Dean Sunil Kumar praised the new funding for providing more opportunities for business school students to interact with other students across the university. “This gift will allow us to have more direct impact on the commercialization of the University’s intellectual property,” he said in a statement. He added that entrepreneurship has soared in popularity among Booth MBA students – a majority of students enrolled this year listed it as their top intended concentration.

Since Polsky’s initial endowment in 2002, the center that bears his name has supported programming in six key areas: new venture creation, experiential learning and entrepreneurial education, faculty research, community outreach, innovation workshops and early stage investment. The expanded programs that will result from the additional funding from Polsky will be led by Steven Kaplan, professor of entrepreneurship and finance, and Ellen Rudnick, clinical professor of entrepreneurship, who have directed the center since its inception.

Learn more about the expanded gift to the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

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