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By UA Communications

The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship won the Innovator of the Year award in the academia category at the Governor’s Celebration of Innovation November 14.

The annual awards gala, hosted by the Arizona Technology Council in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority, honors technology leaders and innovators from across the state.

“This award is well-deserved recognition of the McGuire Center’s decades of impact and success as an innovation engine for the region,” said Len Jessup, Dean of the Eller College of Management. “Next year marks the center’s 30th anniversary, and there is so much more to come.”

Ranked No. 2 among public programs by U.S. News & World Report and in the top 10 by The Princeton Review, the McGuire Center is one of two U.S. entrepreneurship programs that made the cut in a recent study on entrepreneurship education issued by the World Bank.

“Receiving this award brings a special honor to the McGuire Center,” said Robert Lusch, executive director of the Center. “We have been recognized nationally and internationally for our outstanding programs, but to be recognized at home is even more meaningful. All of what we accomplish would not be possible without the hard work, ambitions and dreams that our entrepreneurship students have brought to us over three decades.”

Established in 1984 as one of the first university-based entrepreneurship programs in the country, the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program is the McGuire Center’s signature experience. Since the program’s founding, nearly 3,000 students have completed the competitive, year-long program, and have gone on to launch hundreds of business ventures.

In addition to housing the undergraduate and graduate education programs, the center also offers support and resources to research faculty in disciplines across campus and entrepreneurial students in other UA departments.

A selection committee of experts independent of the Arizona Technology Council chose the winners, commending the McGuire Center on its successful track record in educating students in effective entrepreneurial practice.

Each of the four finalists for this year’s award in the academia category was from the UA. In addition to the McGuire Center, the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, the iPlant Collaborative housed at the UA’s BIO5 Institute and the Landscape Evolution Observatory at the UA’s Biosphere 2 were in the running.

“As we begin to see improvements in the economy, innovation is more important than ever,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council.

“It is essential that we celebrate the creative spirit of Arizona by recognizing and honoring the state’s most innovative thinkers,” Zylstra said. “We congratulate all the winners and extend our thanks for their part in advancing Arizona as a top-tier technology state.”

Top image of McGuire entrepreneurship students courtesy the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program.