Collision space of ideas: Sparking entrepreneurial thinking across disciplines

With a private gift of $40 million, UCalgary establishes a new, cross-faculty hub to emphasize the skills that students need to turn ideas into practical solutions and contribute to their communities.

This generous gift from the Hunter Family Foundation will establish the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking, an interdisciplinary nucleus for activities that will support entrepreneurial student experiences, enable faculty to lead in innovation, and expand a growing community of entrepreneurs and innovators. It will also help build and outfit a dedicated space on campus where students and faculty can gain and share knowledge, build networks, and turn ideas into practical solutions that can benefit society.

“This gift reflects our core vision of ‘entrepreneurial giving’,” says Diane Hunter, UCalgary alumna and trustee of the Hunter Family Foundation, along with husband Doug and son Derrick (also an alumnus). “We invest in our community to impact change. As one of Canada’s leading research institutions, the University of Calgary is a driver of the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in our community. It fuels our next generation of talented social and technological thinkers, who will in turn energize our city, our province and our world for the future.”

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Derrick, Diane and Doug Hunter of the Hunter Family Foundation
Caption: 
The new Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking at the University of Calgary is supported by a generous gift from the Hunter Family Foundation: Derrick, Diane, and Doug Hunter.

Programs and projects that will be supported by the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking include entrepreneurship camps and summer incubators, foundational courses in entrepreneurial thinking, collision courses and experiential learning initiatives, new venture competitions and seed funding, entrepreneurs-in-residence, speakers, workshops and training programs.

The UCalgary student experience will be enriched by investment in new teaching and learning strategies, targeted programming and expanded curriculum. This includes the development of a new entrepreneurial certificate that will be available to students in all areas of study.

“This could not come at a better time as we talk about increasing diversification in Calgary and building resiliency in our community. This is really going to prepare the graduates of the future to contribute in a very significant way,” says President Elizabeth Cannon. “We are truly grateful to the Hunter Family Foundation for sparking such transformational change on campus and for helping us immerse our students – at every level – in research opportunities, interdisciplinary collaboration and hands-on learning.”

The new hub will encourage and teach students to think courageously, identify opportunities, collaborate effectively, build partnerships, cherish diversity and embrace sustainability – essential skills for today’s global workforce.  It will build on work already happening at the university – including at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Haskayne School of Business, which was made possible in part by a separate gift from the Hunter Family Foundation in 2012.

“The Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking really helps move us along a path our students have said very clearly they want to take,” says Cannon. “We are creating a collision space of ideas and opportunities to help drive the entrepreneurial culture on our campus.”

This gift contributes directly to Energize: the Campaign for Eyes High, a $1.3-billion fundraising campaign publicly launched by the university in April 2016. The campaign, which supports the institution’s strategic vision and aims to make the University of Calgary Canada’s most entrepreneurial university, is more than two-thirds of the way toward its goal.

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