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UMD's Labovitz School.

Gary Holmes's $6 million gift to the Carlson School will go toward "developing the next generation of entrepreneurs."

Helping the next generation

Two multimillion-dollar gifts help U students embark on entrepreneurial pursuits

From M, summer 2007

At age 12, Gary Holmes had a bright idea--he began selling light bulbs in southwest Minneapolis, enlisting his fellow boy scouts as salesmen. By age 16, he had banked enough money to acquire a set of duplexes, launching a career that would grow into one of the nation's largest real estate development, leasing, and property management companies.

Holmes, president and owner of Minneapolis-based CSM Corporation and a 2006 Minnesota Entrepreneur of the Year, is now committed to "developing the next generation of entrepreneurs." He recently gave a lead gift of $6 million to the Carlson School of Management's $9 million effort to expand entrepreneurship teaching, research, and outreach programs. The school will rename its Center of Entrepreneurial Studies the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship.

"The future vitality of our state and our country is dependent upon innovative entrepreneurs who will grow the economy," says Carlson School dean Alison Davis-Blake of the investment in entrepreneurship--the school's fastest-growing undergraduate major.

Across the river at the Institute of Technology, the U wants to make sure "businesses" are on the list of things engineers know how to make run. An anonymous $4 million gift will establish the Gemini Chair in Engineering Entrepreneurship, the holder of which will teach a course that broadens the leadership capabilities, business knowledge, and entrepreneurial skills of Institute of Technology undergraduates.

Electrical and computer engineering professor Massoud Amin, who holds the H.W. Sweatt Chair in Technological Leadership and directs the U's Center for the Development of Technological Leadership (where the Gemini Chair will reside), designed the course in consultation with leaders in the Carlson School.

"To maintain our programs among the world's finest and to continue to innovate with increased impact for our graduates, we need to prepare students for success in all aspects of their careers," says Amin. "This gift will allow us to offer a richer, more comprehensive undergraduate experience."