Drexel University will establish a school for entrepreneurs in order to channel the passion of students who are thinking innovatively about their lives and careers, officials said Wednesday.
The Charles D. Close School for Entrepreneurship, which will open this fall, is being created with a $12.5 million gift from the Charles and Barbara Close Foundation.
The programming and coursework will be designed for a generation of non-traditional students who are comfortable with starting new ventures and pursuing innovation, said Donna DeCarolis, the school's founding dean.
"We want to capitalize on that and give them the tools that they need so they can pursue these big ideas," DeCarolis said.
Officials had no enrollment projections, but the private university in Philadelphia plans to grow overall from 25,500 students to about 34,000 students by 2021. DeCarolis anticipated hiring two new clinical instructors to supplement joint appointments of current faculty.
This fall, the Close school will begin offering elective courses and a co-op program, in which students get academic credit for running their own businesses. Officials expect to offer joint degrees in entrepreneurship and other disciplines starting in 2014.
The school will be temporarily housed in Drexel's LeBow College of Business, though university President John Fry stressed that it is "profoundly interdisciplinary," with a mandate to attract students in all fields of study.
"Entrepreneurship is obviously not confined to the discipline of business," Fry said.
He described the school as one of a handful of entrepreneurship schools nationwide, and the only one in Philadelphia.
The late Charles Close was a 1936 Drexel alumnus who founded, led and invested in a series of technology companies.
Close Foundation trustee Mike Doyle said in a statement that the impact of the school "will be felt far beyond the boundaries of the university and the region, and would have made Charley proud." -- (AP)