Mercer Hosts Regional Entrepreneurship Conference this Week

September 15, 2010

Media Contact:
Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

MACON – Mercer University’s School of Engineering will welcome students and faculty from eight engineering schools around the country to its first Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network Regional Conference on Thursday and Friday. Mercer Chancellor R. Kirby Godsey will deliver the keynote address at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in the Peyton Anderson Auditorium in Mercer’s Science and Engineering Building. The University first became part of the network in 2007.

In his address, Dr. Godsey will focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, two characteristics that marked his tenure as the University’s 17th president. Godsey served a record 27 years in office from 1979 until 2006 and oversaw the creation of seven new schools and colleges, including the School of Engineering, as well as the merger of two schools and the creation of units such as Mercer University Press and the Mercer Engineering Research Center. In addition to serving as chancellor, Dr. Godsey serves as chairman of the board of businesses such as Birch Communications and MyersMcRae Education Consulting. He continues to be a civic leader in Macon, championing numerous causes and initiatives.

In addition to Mercer engineering students and faculty, conference organizers expect 25 faculty and students from other schools, including Baylor University, St. Louis University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, Lawrence Technological University, Calvin College and the University of Detroit-Mercy. The Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network was established by The Kern Family Foundation in 2005 as a collegiate initiative to complement efforts at the K-12 level to increase the quantity and quality of U.S. engineering talent. In addition to faculty and students from the schools, Kristen Mekemson, a representative of the foundation, will be on hand for the event. Dr. Ramachandran Radharamanan, professor of industrial engineering and head of the School of Engineering’s KEEN efforts, received a special grant from Kern Family Foundation to organize the conference.

Organizers have designed the conference to bring together faculty and students from KEEN schools to discuss progress in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship and to promote better collaboration among KEEN schools. A fundamental element of the KEEN initiative is its focus on developing a network of engineering schools that can then identify and share the best practices in entrepreneurial education at the undergraduate level.

Following the keynote speech on Thursday, faculty members from the KEEN schools will conduct presentations on the program highlights at their schools. After lunch, students from each institution will present projects and papers. Friday morning, the remaining faculty will present their programs, followed by group discussions until lunch and the culmination of the conference.

KEEN’s mission is to graduate engineers equipped with an entrepreneurial mindset who will contribute to business success and transform the U.S. work force. The long-term goal is for these new engineers to catalyze a transformation in the work force and to build commerce in their communities. This focus on entrepreneurial leaders is increasingly important as the U.S. competes to maintain its economic position in a global marketplace based on innovation.

About the Kern Family Foundation
Established in 1999, the Kern Family Foundation is a prominent, strategic foundation that invests in the future through values, education and innovation. The Foundation aims to effect systematic change through broad-impact, long-term programs in order to preserve the tradition of private enterprise, which has enabled the American nation to thrive intellectually and economically. Programs include Project Lead the Way, Pastoral Ministry Program, Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network and Education Reform.

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,200 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals – Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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