The University of Utah has received a further $12m from MBA alumnus Pierre Lassonde to give budding entrepreneurs at the university a new home. The donation brings the total given by Mr Lassonde to support the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the Eccles school of business, to $25m.
The latest donation will help support the construction of the new building, which will open to students in 2016. The Lassonde Studios, as the building will be called, will cost an estimated $45m and will have 412 residences and a space for students to build prototypes and launch companies.
“The building will be as innovative and entrepreneurial as the activities inside,” according to Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.
“Students will be able to choose what type of residence they want and what type of work space they prefer, and if we don’t have what they want, we might start knocking down walls. If this building is the same five years after we open the doors, we are doing something wrong. Entrepreneurship is never static.”
Mr Lassonde, a Canadian, became a successful mining entrepreneur after leaving the university, launching Franco-Nevada Mining Corporation in 1982. He became a member of the Order of Canada in 2012. “The most important natural resource we have is not gold but our young people, our next generation,” Mr Lassonde says.
“It is vital that we support and encourage them to challenge themselves and find creative ways to work together.”