Four figures anchor Rochester’s heritage and shape our unusually broad understanding of entrepreneurship. Susan B. Anthony, a Rochester resident, founded the American Equal Rights Association and in 1900 led the University to admit women. While living in Rochester, Frederick Douglass founded the North Star, America’s best-known African-American newspaper, and became the nation’s most powerful abolitionist. George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak Company, is the University’s most generous benefactor. Joseph C. Wilson, founder of Xerox Corporation and long-time Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, led Rochester’s rise to national prominence as a research university. Each of these figures turned an idea into a venture that benefited others. Thus, they are entrepreneurs in the deepest sense. Through their example, and the role they played in our heritage, the University understands entrepreneurship to mean the transformation of an idea into an enterprise that creates value—intellectual, social, cultural, or economic.
The Ain Center for Entrepreneurship, launched by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation grant awarded to the University in 2003, serves to identify and create new partnerships with students, alumni, local businesses, and non-profit organizations; coordinates and publicizes school-based experiences, including courses and signature programming; informs faculty of grant and bridging fellowship opportunities; and encourages collaboration among the schools engaged in entrepreneurship education at the University of Rochester.