Greetings Tiger Nation.
Trinity University is making great strides in building a campus culture in which students in all degree programs are challenged to bridge the gap between theory and practice–or, more precisely, between academic inquiry and real-world decision-making. Strengthening experiential learning is a key goal in the Trinity Tomorrow strategic plan. The opportunity to engage in hands-on learning allows students to apply techniques, theories, and methodologies gained through their coursework to solve problems or explore issues outside of the formal classroom while developing professional competencies and transferable skills. Students frequently tell us these experiences are a transformative point in their Trinity journeys on the path to discover, grow, and become the next generation of problem solvers, critical thinkers, and leaders.
Trinity's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship supports students who want to convert dreams and ideas into solid business concepts. The Center appears to be on a path of turning out serial entrepreneurs who create multiple businesses before they graduate. Recently, the Center awarded five $5,000 cash prizes to student startups as part of the annual Stumberg Venture Competition. Now in its fourth year, the Stumberg Competition has helped the Center launch 15 student startup businesses, 11 of which are still in operation. Each spring, five finalists are selected to receive seed money and join the summer accelerator program, where they spend ten weeks sharpening their business plans. These finalists compete for a grand prize of $25,000 in venture capital funds, awarded in the fall.
Increasingly, Stumberg finalists are entering venture competitions nationally and internationally, successfully competing against other collegiate teams around the country and the world. This week, the Trinity startup team Dbuntu, led by Alvin Mbabazi '18 and Brent Mandelkorn '18, is competing at the Global Agripreneurs Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. They are pitching their online data platform designed to help dairy farmers make smarter, more data-driven decisions. The platform is currently being beta tested in Alvin's home country of Uganda. After graduation, these two students plan to work for the company they built while Trinity students.
These opportunities would not be possible without the generous support of donors who are inspired, as we are, by what Trinity students can accomplish. Trinity Trustee Herb Stumberg '81, with his brother Eric, made a $1 million gift to create the Louis H. Stumberg Entrepreneurship Venture Fund in memory of their father, an entrepreneur and former Trinity Trustee. Trustee Emerita Barbara Pierce '78 and her husband, Douglas Pierce Jr. '78, early supporters of Trinity's student entrepreneurs, created the F.W. Olin Scholarship for Entrepreneurship in memory of her entrepreneurial great grandfather. This fund supports student teams through the critical summer accelerator program.
We believe experiential learning is an important part of how students learn to apply knowledge in a real world environment while developing essential skills to complement classroom learning. Student demand for two of Trinity's signature summer internship programs continues to grow at a remarkable rate. More than 130 students applied for 62 spots to participate in Students+Startups. This competitive internship program is supported by a grant from the 80/20 Foundation in partnership with San Antonio's co-working space, Geekdom. Trinity students are paired with San Antonio tech startup companies and entrepreneurs, in most cases working with the founder or CEO, and provided an immersive experience that connects them directly with San Antonio’s burgeoning startup ecosystem.
In partnership with the Center for Experiential Learning and Career Success,Trinity's Arts, Letters, and Enterprise (ALE) internship program also continues to expand. Twenty-one ALE interns majoring in humanities, arts, social science, and natural science will broaden their business literacy skills by working in local arts organizations, nonprofit agencies, and in government sectors. For a growing number of Trinity students, these experiences are leading them to begin their careers right here in San Antonio.
Trinity University has a well-earned reputation for excellence in undergraduate research in the STEM disciplines. Recently, the University was awarded an $800,000 grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support initiatives aimed at improving access to and expand opportunities for undergraduate research in the arts and humanities, especially for underrepresented students. Through Trinity's Mellon Initiative, this award will strengthen our culture of undergraduate research and mentorship in the arts and humanities, an area where Trinity is quickly becoming a national leader.
The research is clear: Students who are actively involved in both academic and out-of-class activities gain more from the college experience than those who are less involved. Trinity is committed to growing the number of opportunities for experiential learning, undergraduate research, internships, and entrepreneurial pursuits for our students. I am especially grateful for alumni and Trinity supporters who have provided or identified many of the paid internship opportunities that enhance the Trinity journey for our students. And I thank the many donors whose gifts make these meaningful experiences possible as our students become ready for the world ahead.
Thank you for your continued interest and engagement with Trinity University.
As Trinity's chief storyteller, I love to share news about the University. But I also love hearing from you. Please feel free to contact me at TUPresident [at] trinity.edu.