New York University today announced that it has received $10 million from the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation to create a program in social entrepreneurship that will ultimately provide fellowships for 23 graduate students and scholarships for 20 juniors and seniors each year. The program will begin in fall 2006.

Social entrepreneurship encourages taking a new approach to broad social problems, directing the drive, imagination, discipline, and accountability inherent in entrepreneurship at society’s most pressing issues, and thereby creating a mechanism for creating lasting social value. Through competitive graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships – available to students across all of NYU’s 14 schools — the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Program in Social Entrepreneurship is intended to encourage and train a new cadre of public service leaders. This program will complement NYU’s existing efforts in social entrepreneurship, specifically the Stewart Satter Program in Social Entrepreneurship at the Stern School of Business.

NYU President John Sexton said, “Universities have long time horizons; we are among the most enduring human enterprises. When we contemplate the future, we tend not to think of next year, or next decade, but of generations to come.

“This is a remarkable gift, one that fits superbly with this University, which has the motto ‘A private university in the public service.’ It holds the breath-taking prospect of creating nothing less than the next generation of social problem-solvers and leaders. When one thinks of the seemingly intractable difficulties that will confront our children and our children’s children in the decades to follow – global warming, nuclear proliferation, international competition for energy and natural resources, large and growing inequities in income in the US, spreading prosperity to the developing world, the creation of a new definition of national and international security – it is clear that a very new set of tools will be needed.

“The emerging field of social entrepreneurship offers the prospect of creating those tools: crossing disciplines and sectors to frame solutions, finding new incentive structures, applying new ideas and techniques to solving society’s most pressing problems, and offering new, exciting opportunities for public service. And it is hard to imagine a better location for such a program: New York is the world’s capital, and it is here that the best minds will be drawn to wrestle with the most difficult challenges.

“We are grateful to Catherine Reynolds not just for this gift to NYU, but for her far-sighted devotion to this idea. A generation from now, the laurels for solving some enormous problem will go to some social entrepreneur, but the true praise will belong to Catherine for believing in and supporting this approach.” Ellen Schall, dean of NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, said, “This approach embodies the very heart of the Wagner School’s approach to education, which commits us to connect learning from both theory and practice. Social entrepreneurship is a critical lens through which students as future leaders and policy makers can learn to make a difference in their communities and the world. It is a hallmark of the Wagner School’s approach that public service is work of public importance wherever it happens; the precepts of social entrepreneurship suit us well because are we accustomed to reaching across sectors in our thinking, believing that every sector has an obligation to help address the tough social problems we face. And we are particularly delighted to have the opportunity to reach across the university to engage both undergraduate and graduate students in this effort.” The Wagner School will be launching a study of high-performing social entrepreneurs funded by the Jeffrey Skoll Foundation in the coming month.

The announcement was made at the Academy of Achievement’s “International Achievement Summit” in New York City at a panel discussion on social entrepreneurship featuring Wendy Kopp (Teach for America), Congressman Ed Markey, Catherine Reynolds, John Sexton (NYU), and Lawrence Summers (Harvard). Each year, the summit gathers 250 of the world’s most talented graduate students – including three from NYU this year – to meet with 50 men and women of exceptional accomplishment (20 of them new Academy “Golden Plate” honorees, and 30 of them previous honorees).

The program at NYU – which will be overseen by the Provost and administered by the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service – will have two components: graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships.

During the 2005-06 academic year, the University will begin accepting applications from NYU sophomores for the Reynolds Scholarships in Social Entrepreneurship. Those accepted will receive $20,000 per year for their junior and senior year, support for a public interest summer internship between junior and senior year, plus participation in a specially developed NYU course on social entrepreneurship and public service, and other related activities. By the 2007-08 academic year, there will be 20 undergraduates participating.

The University will also begin accepting applications for the Reynolds Foundation Graduate Fellowships for the class entering for the 2006-07 academic year. Competition for the Reynolds Fellowships will be incorporated into the existing application process; after an internal screening, finalists will be invited to NYU for a final selection. There will be 18 two-year fellowships offered the first year and 20 thereafter. Also, a three-year fellowship will be offered each year. Fellows will receive full scholarships, develop customized courses of study, participate in a newly developed cross-disciplinary course, act as mentors to the undergraduate scholarship recipients, and attend fellowship-related activities.

New York University, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, was established in 1831 and is one of America’s leading research universities and a member of the selective Association of American Universities. It is one of the largest private universities, it is a leader in attracting international students and scholars in the U.S, and it sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its 14 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

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