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By Alexis Blue, University Communications

The University of Arizona’s renowned McGuire Entrepreneurship Program at the Eller College has again been recognized as one of the best programs in the country.

U.S. News & World Report ranks the UA’s entrepreneurship program at No. 6 in the nation and No. 2 among public institutions.

In addition, the UA has made The Princeton Review’s annual list of the “Top 50 Schools for Entrepreneurship Programs,” released today. The Princeton Review ranks the UA as having the No. 14 graduate entrepreneurship program in the nation, No. 6 among public institutions. The UA’s undergraduate entrepreneurship program is ranked No. 17 in the nation, No. 8 among public institutions.

“This recognition is especially significant as the University of Arizona continues to embrace its entrepreneurial spirit, whether that be through our faculty working to move ideas to market, or through our students imagining business concepts no one else has thought of,” said UA President Ann Weaver Hart.

“The students in our entrepreneurship program truly embody that spirit with their remarkable creativity, innovation and drive, and we are proud to be able to support their success with a top-notch program,” Hart said.

The McGuire Entrepreneurship Program was established in 1984 as one of the first university-based entrepreneurship programs in the country. Since then, nearly 3,000 students have completed the competitive, yearlong program, and have gone on to launch hundreds of business ventures.

“What I find amazing about our McGuire Center of Entrepreneurship is that we take in the best and brightest from the entire University of Arizona student body, from any major on campus and from any level – whether undergraduate, masters, or doctoral – and we help them to integrate their domain expertise and great ideas with intensive, real-world education and training in entrepreneurship,” said Len Jessup, dean of the UA’s Eller College of Management, which houses the McGuire Center of Entrepreneurship and its signature entrepreneurship program.

“Even better, while our focus is education, we also have one of the best launch rates in the country,” Jessup said.

One of the program’s recent entrepreneurial success stories is that of a trio of alumni – Ross Shanken, Thomas Maguire and Austin Weiss – who developed a mobile app called Park Genius that allows people to pay for parking meters using their smartphones.

Park Genius is now available on more than 200 parking meters around the UA campus and downtown Tucson. (Read more about the app at  

Two other McGuire alumni, Connor Riley and Samantha Meis, received national attention in the spring when they presented their subscription-based coffee business, MistoBox, on the NBC reality TV show “Shark Tank.”

Riley and Meis developed the concept for MistoBox, along with classmates Collin Crowley and George Andros, while students in the entrepreneurship program. (Read more about MistoBox at

The McGuire Entrepreneurship Program is the signature experience offered by the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the UA’s Eller College of Management. In addition to housing the undergraduate and graduate education programs, the McGuire Center also offers support and resources to research faculty in disciplines across campus and entrepreneurial students in other UA departments.

“For three decades the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship has pioneered and refined collegiate entrepreneurship education,” said Robert Lusch, the center’s executive director.

“These efforts have consistently led to high national recognition and consequently increased our ability to recruit the very best students to the program, further strengthening the program,” said Lusch, also a professor of marketing and the James and Pamela Muzzy Chair in Entrepreneurship.

U.S. News & World report ranks college entrepreneurship programs as part of its Best Business Schools rankings, released annually.

The Princeton Review’s annual entrepreneurship program rankings – released in partnership with Entrepreneur Media Inc., publisher of Entrepreneur magazine – include the nation’s top 25 undergraduate programs and top 25 graduate programs. The rankings are based on a variety of factors, including a school’s levels of commitment to entrepreneurship inside and outside the classroom; the percentage of faculty, students, and alumni actively and successfully involved in entrepreneurial endeavors; the number of entrepreneurship mentorship programs; and funding for scholarships and grants for entrepreneurial studies and projects.

In addition to the McGuire Center, the UA also is home to Tech Launch Arizona, an initiative designed to support the commercialization of UA student and faculty innovations. The University’s Faculty Senate this year implemented new promotion and tenure criteria for faculty that takes into account translational research, technology commercialization and industry and community-based collaborations.

Top photo, the team behind this year’s winning venture Howdy, by Chris Richards.