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Volume 1 l No. 1 l Summer 2014 Top GQP Project, page 3

WPI Business School Honors Faculty, page 4


Robert A. Foisie School of Business Named for $40 Million Donor


he School of Business has been named the Robert A. Foisie School of Business to honor Robert A. Foisie ’56, whose recently announced $40 million donation for scholarships is the largest in the history of WPI. In addition, a new Foisie Innovation Center will be located in the renovated Alumni Gym in honor of Foisie’s lifetime giving. Foisie received an honorary doctorate of engineering at the 2014 WPI Commencement. Robert A. Foisie Even before his $40 million donation, Foisie was WPI’s largest donor, having contributed $23 million in scholarships for 580 WPI students. His philanthropy includes the establishment of the Robert Foisie Scholars Fund in 2009 and he also established 17 undergraduate scholarships named in honor of WPI professors who influenced him. A trustee emeritus, Foisie, who lives in Port Saint Lucie, Fla., is an innovator and entrepreneur. Born and raised in West Hartford, Conn., he was the first member of his family to attend college when he enrolled

at WPI in 1952. He worked after school as a clerk and truck driver to pay for his education and, with scholarship assistance, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, then earned a master’s degree from Cornell University in 1958. “The financial assistance that I received during my time at WPI allowed me to stay in school and realize my potential as an innovator and entrepreneur,” said Foisie. “This university means a great deal to me, and the knowledge that I gained here, the people I engaged with, and my experiences have been invaluable to my growth as a person and a successful businessman. This gift is the fulfillment of my dream to establish a scholarship fund that would support qualified students with financial need and a burning ambition to make a difference in the world.” A Classic Entrepreneur During a ceremony announcing the naming of the innovation center and School of Business to honor Foisie, Interim President Philip B. Ryan ’65 said Foisie is a classic entrepreneur who has “a personal understanding of the difference a scholarship can make.” (continued page 6)

President Laurie Leshin greets students.

Leshin Named WPI’s 16th President


aurie Leshin, WPI’s new president, previously planned 50 space flights, managed a $4 billion budget and had an asteroid named for her. A geochemist and space scientist in addition to pursuing her career in academia, Leshin was unanimously named the 16th president of WPI by the Board of Trustees and began her tenure on June 2, 2014. Most recently, she served as dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, overseeing six departments, more than 30 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, six research centers and over 250

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Dean’s Letter

Communication Builds Relationships


elcome to the inaugural issue of the TIEs newsletter from the Robert A. Foisie School of Business at WPI. Our theme for TIEs is “communication is central to building relationships,” because, by communicating our work, we expect TIEs will help us build relationships with all of our internal and external stakeholders. TIEs stands for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship – our three major strengths. TIEs also represents the ties or connections between WPI stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. In each issue of TIEs, we will provide insights into the many contributions of each Joseph Sarkis of these groups of important stakeholders. We will include information on who we have been, who we are and who we expect to become. We have many accomplishments for which we can be proud. We have a new president. President Laurie Leshin is the 16th president of WPI and the first woman president. We have just become a named school, the Robert A. Foisie School of Business. This year, the best researcher, best teacher and best advisor at WPI are from the School of Business. Their stories are told in this issue.

Leshin Named WPI’s 16th President

(continued from page 1)

Senior Manager at NASA Before joining Rensselaer, she was a senior leader at NASA. In 2010, she joined NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C., the organization responsible for future NASA human spaceflight activities. As deputy associate administrator, she was involved in overseeing and planning the largest shift in human spaceflight activities since the end of the Apollo program. Along with WPI TIEs


Joseph Sarkis, Interim Dean Robert A. Foisie School of Business 

faculty and staff. She established new interdisciplinary research directions and opportunities at Rensselaer, implemented significant curriculum innovations, established fundraising initiatives, increased the faculty and its research, increased diversity, and improved the School of Science’s communication and outreach. While at Rensselaer, she also worked as a funded science team member for the Mars Curiosity Rover mission. She was also appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Board for the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum and by former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to the Advisory Board of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.


We will also use TIEs to introduce some of the activities our students are undertaking and some of their major qualifying projects (MQPs), interactive qualifying projects (IQPs) and graduate qualifying projects (GQPs). We plan to include a story on one or more student projects in each issue. Why? Because these real-world projects are part of a WPI education that differentiates us from a typical university education. Another important story in this issue is about former dean and now vice provost Mark P. Rice. There is a great sense of appreciation for what Mark, as founding dean of the School of Business, has helped us accomplish over these past few years. He began with a management department and shaped it into a school of business. We hope to expand on the strong foundation he has built as we move into the future. The foundation is strong, the future is bright and it is a great time to be part of the Robert A. Foisie School of Business. We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter. We look forward to your comments and future communications.

the associate administrator, she managed a $4 billion budget and a workforce exceeding 15,000. She previously served as deputy center director for science and technology at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA’s largest science organization with 3,200 employees and a $3 billion budget. As the senior scientist at NASA Goddard, she was responsible for the strategy, planning and implementation of 50 earth and space flight projects. She joined NASA in 2005 as director of science and exploration and was responsible for the strategic management and organization of more than 300 scientists working in fields ranging from high-energy astrophysics to climate change. Before that, she served as director of the Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University, which houses the largest university-based meteorite collection in the world. At ASU, she was named the Dee and John Whiteman Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences and helped lead the development of the first interdisciplinary School of Earth and Space Exploration.

President Laurie Leshin

She began her academic career in 1994 as a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA in the Department of Earth and Space Science. She spent four years at UCLA, where she was also named a W.W. Rubey Faculty Fellow. She received the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal and the Meteoritical Society’s Nier Prize. She has served on the Board of Directors of Women in Aerospace, the Council of the American Geophysical Union. The International Astronomical Union recognized her contributions to planetary science by naming an asteroid “4922 Leshin.” F 


GQP Project

Top GQP Project Could Help Cure Many Diseases


hat is an early stage biotech start-up worth? That’s not an easy question to answer, especially when a company has almost no revenues and its technology has not been fully validated. But this year’s top Graduate Qualifying Project (GQP) provided an answer for Girihlet, Inc., a Brooklyn-based company that has developed a process for sequencing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). All WPI MBA candidates are required to complete a GQP, in which they use the skills learned at WPI to develop a solution to a problem faced by a real business or non-profit organization. Mitochondria are implicated in developmental disorders and in resistance of tumors to chemotherapy, and are associated with neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson’s disease and muscular dystrophy. In developing, “Feasibility Study and Company Valuation for Girihlet Inc., An Early Start Biotechnology Startup,” the winning team not only valued the company, but conducted a feasibility

factors that go into the valuation. We wanted to give Girihlet a tangible number, as well as pointers for structuring next steps to make the company more valuable.” To estimate the company’s value, the team used two different methodologies – the venture capital method and the angel’s perspective method. “Using the venture capital method, we needed to make assumptions about how much revenue the company will be producing three to five years down the road,” team member Andrew D. Campbell said. “Investors in early stage companies want a return that’s 10 to 30 times their investment, so we used these revenue estimates to help us determine the future value of the company, and then backed out what today’s value would be in order to provide the desired return to investors.” Using the angel perspective method, they looked at other companies in the industry that received funding to determine a normal range for a prerevenue start-up. They also factored in qualitative factors, such as the perceived strength of the intellectual property and the company’s management team, to

“Since it was outside of our wheelhouse, we were really applying the straight business knowledge we had learned,” according to team member Daniel J. Geoffroy. “We had a clean view and it helped with our project a lot.” Regardless of its potential, mtDNA has not received much attention, according to Campbell, “because there were no adequate methods to sequence this type of DNA at a low cost and high level of accuracy.” Girihlet could change that, as its patent-pending methodology can be used at a low cost and it delivers the accuracy researchers need. Girihlet can develop mtDNA-sequencing toolkits for companies seeking to sequence the entire human genome, and it can sequence mtDNA in DNA samples provided to Girihlet.

Choosing Target Markets Researching three markets, the team determined that pharmaceutical companies represent by far the largest market for Girihlet at $5.8 billion a year, compared with a $122 million federal government market for research grants, and $650 million for non-profit organizations and foundations. Feasibility Study and Company Valuation for Girihlet Inc., An Early Stage Biotechnology Startup Team: Andrew D. Campbell, Daniel J. Geoffroy, Carlton Vaz, David G. Roscoe, Sitaram Ramaswamy Client: Girihlet, Inc, Brooklyn, N.Y. Business: Sequencing mtDNA

Pictured, left to right, Andrew D. Campbell, Sitaram Ramaswamy, Vice Provost Mark P. Rice, David G. Roscoe, advisor Sharon A. Wulf, Carlton Vaz and Daniel J. Geoffroy.

analysis that included identifying a target industry and market, creating a positioning statement, identifying risks and reviewing company financial statements. “Valuation of early stage companies can be all over the place,” according to team member Sitaram Ramaswamy. “Much depends on company assets – intellectual and hard assets. We also incorporated the uncertainties associated with the different

determine at which end of the range this company should be valued. Team members had no experience in the biotechnology industry, so they had to research and develop an understanding of DNA sequencing to determine whether Girihlet has a feasible business. Their lack of industry knowledge, though, proved to be an asset, because they were able to consider the company’s technology impartially, with no preconceived notions.

While pharmaceutical companies would seem like a logical market because of its size, team member Geoffroy said, “We determined that Girihlet should enter the market via government grants and nonprofits, because those markets are easier to get into and once you have success, you can publicize it. Pharmaceuticals won’t let you share anything. If you succeed, no one will ever know.” Government-funded research also made sense because of the company’s history of patent success and its recognition in the field of DNA sequencing, according to team member Carlton Vaz. (continued page 6)




Teacher of the Year Sharon A. Wulf at WPI’s graduation ceremony.

Robert A. Foisie School of Business Faculty Receive Three Awards


or the first time ever, faculty of the Robert A. Foisie School of Business have received three special awards this year, including two from the WPI Board of Trustees. Sharon A. Wulf was named Teacher of the Year, Diane M. Strong was named Researcher of the Year and Helen G. Vassallo was named Advisor of the Year. Vassallo had previously been named Teacher of the Year, but it was the first time business faculty members have received more than one trustees’ award. It was also the first time three women faculty members have received three awards. Vassallo noted that the role of women at WPI has increased significantly since she came to WPI in 1982. At the time, about 15% of students were female and there were few women faculty members. Today, the percentage of female students has doubled, women are well-represented on the faculty and the incoming president of WPI is a woman. nnn

Teacher of the Year - Sharon A. Wulf

A Lifelong Entrepreneur and Teacher


haron A. Wulf started her first business at age nine and began tutoring at age 14, so it’s not surprising that much of her career has been devoted to running a business and teaching business skills to others. Winner of the 2014 Teacher of the Year Award from the Board of Trustees, Wulf teaches a Great Problem Seminar (GPS) on The World’s Water, a course she co-designed and co-taught starting in 2012. Her GPS undergraduate students won the People’s Choice Award in the 2012 and 2013 Great Problem Seminar Competitions. She teaches graduate courses in Group and Interpersonal Dynamics in Complex Organizations and Interpersonal and Leadership Skills, and an undergraduate course in Leadership Practices, and oversees the Graduate Qualifying Project (GQP) program. She serves as the faculty advisor for major qualifying projects (MQPs) and graduate qualifying projects (GQPs), and was recognized in both 2013 and 2014 for meritorious achievements as GQP faculty advisor. 4 4


She volunteers as a faculty advisor to Sigma Phi Epsilon Massachusetts Beta, a 106-man fraternity. A professor of practice, she also founded Enterprise Systems of Framingham, Mass., an organizational consulting firm, and continues to serve as its president. During more than 22 years in business, she has delivered more than 1,000 seminars on business development and leadership in 19 countries, ranging from Brazil to Australia. She has served on for-profit boards in advisory positions, including Spacetec IMC Corporation, which was a start-up that became publicly listed on the NASDAQ and was acquired by Logitech S.A. She has also served on non-profit boards, including the M.I.T. Enterprise Forum’s Executive Board in Cambridge, Mass., the NB Star Kids Scholarship Program in New Bedford, Mass., and the English Speaking Union of the United States of America in New York City. Her passion, though, is teaching students how to practice business. In addition to serving on the WPI faculty, she has held faculty appointments at Northeastern University, Boston University, Framingham State University, Cambridge College, Endicott College, Southeastern Massachusetts University, Nichols College and Hult International Business School. She also runs the Women’s Leadership Program during Frontier’s Summer Sessions, teaching high-school-age girls how to set business goals, and become financially capable by developing budgets, and profit and loss statements. Teaching The World’s Water, Wulf ’s students learn about the geographic, economic, political, social and technological issues that make the problem of access to potable water so complex. “In America, when you ask, ‘Where does water come from?’ we just think it comes from a faucet,” she said, but 345 million people in Africa lack access to potable water and 3.4 million people worldwide die each year from water-related diseases. She views her role not as teaching about water, though, but as teaching students to think critically. “In today’s world, students need to learn self-assurance and autonomy,” she said. “It’s not enough to just take a book and read it.” The Nine-Year-Old Entrepreneur Wulf learned self-assurance and autonomy at an early age. After taking a typing course and saving allowance money from washing the family cars, the nine-year-old began advertising typing services for small businesses. While customers were surprised when they showed up at her house and learned that she was a nine year old, she developed a steady clientele, and “learned a lot about sales, customer relations, and profit and loss statements.”


Faculty Awards and Honors

Teacher of the Year

Researcher of the Year

Advisor of the Year

Sharon A. Wulf

Diane M. Strong

Helen G. Vassallo

She continued her typing business into high school and some of her customers began asking her to tutor their children in math. And now she’s passing the lessons she learned in business on to her students. Wulf sees her mission as giving students the courage and self-confidence to tackle high-risk challenges and equip them with problem-solving skills they need to succeed throughout their career.   nnn

Researcher of the Year - Diane M. Strong

Exploring the “Frontiers” of Information Technology


rofessor Diane M. Strong, director of the Management Information Systems Program, believes computers can help people live healthier lives and that healthcare is “the current frontier” for information technology. Toward that end, this year’s Researcher of the Year, chosen by the Board of Trustees based on her lifetime of research, is leading a team of researchers that is developing a smartphone app to help those with advanced type 2 diabetes manage their disease. Their research is in the third year of a four-year $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The app tracks a person’s glucose levels, weight and physical activities, and provides feedback on their progress. If, for example, someone has not exercised in two days, it will send the person a motivational message. The app also uses the phone’s camera to capture images of a patient’s diabetic foot ulcers; it analyzes the images and reports progress with healing. Strong expects the app to be ready for use by patients at the UMass Memorial Health Center in Worcester next year. Technology can be especially helpful for people with chronic diseases such as diabetes, she said, because “you cannot see your doctor every day, but you can use your app every day to manage your chronic conditions.” She previously received an NSF grant to support her studies of how healthcare providers can use electronic health records systems to improve the quality of healthcare delivery by having access to patient data whenever and wherever they need it. “Part of the reason healthcare is so interesting,” Strong said, “is that each patient is unique and may have a complex combination of health issues. When I was studying IT in manufacturing, companies could standardize their products and processes. In healthcare, standardization can be applied to processes for treating common conditions, but healthcare must also provide for the uniqueness of each patient.”

The Challenge of Implementation Her previous experience working with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in manufacturing was ideal preparation for her work in healthcare. Although ERP systems create tremendous benefits, implementing them can be “extremely unpleasant,” she said. “Doctors will say exactly the same thing: ‘I now have all these steps to do, when before I could just put a checkmark on a piece of paper.’ The transition period is unpleasant because initially there’s a large amount of new work steps to learn. The benefits come in the future.” During her years of IT research, she’s found that the challenge of using off-the-shelf ERP or health record packages is to avoid customizing them too much. “Anytime you change something, you will be forever changing it as new versions come out,” she said. Without customization, though, how can companies use software to gain a competitive advantage? “It’s not the software, it’s the data,” according to Strong. “It’s getting the data and understanding it that gives you the competitive advantage, not the software. How individuals use data to manage their own health or how healthcare organizations use data to deliver better, more efficient care to their patients – that’s where we’re heading.” Strong earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Dakota, and master’s degrees from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Carnegie Mellon University before receiving her doctorate from Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business. She joined WPI’s faculty in 1995. nnn

Advisor of the Year - Helen G. Vassallo

Living Every Day to the Fullest


he no longer flies helicopters and her 10 children are grown-up, but at age 82, Helen G. Vassallo continues to carry a full teaching load, while serving as an advisor to the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority. Vassallo has advised the sorority since the early ’80s and this year was named Advisor of the Year, an award based on a student vote. It’s one of many awards she’s received during her career, including WPI’s Goat’s Head Award for Lifetime Commitment, the Teacher of the Year Award and the Women of Strength Award. She also received the Women of Consequence Award from the City of Worcester and was (continued page 6)


Summer2014 2014 Summer

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Continued Stories (Helen G. Vassallo, continued from page 4)

named the American Business Woman of the Year by the American Business Woman’s Association. The Advisor of the Year Award is special, though, she said, “because it’s from the kids.” As advisor to Phi Sig Sig, each year she has a pizza party with incoming initiates and each term she has a tea party with sorority members in groups of eight. The teas are formal affairs with pastries from a local bakery and cloth napkins, where “I can talk toe-to-toe with each one about their hometown and where they came from, and give them inspirational speeches. These teas are just to make more contact personally for the eight people who come. They talk about their aspirations, laugh about the boys in the library, things like that.”

Drinking It Up Delivering closing remarks at the recent Student Recognition Reception in verse, from memory, she encouraged students to step outside their comfort zone. Vassallo either follows her own advice or has a broad comfort zone. Growing up, she said, “I did the things that young women weren’t supposed to do. I thought my mother would lose her mind with me, because I wasn’t a lady. I played football with the boys (not tackle), traveled a great deal, and always tried to take up something I hadn’t done before.” She learned fly casting, became certified in scuba diving and earned a blue belt in karate. She’s traveled heavily, visiting Jerusalem, Cairo and other parts of the world and has been on a safari. Vassallo came to WPI in 1967 to teach molecular biology and became the second woman to be named a full professor and the first woman elected secretary of the faculty, the highest faculty post at the university. She served as a member of the President’s Council for the Advancement of Women and Minorities, as chief justice of the Campus Hearing Board and as chair of the Committee on the Status of Women. A biologist by training, she had a corporate career at what is now Astra Zeneca for 20 years before becoming a professor. She began her career as a researcher at Astra Pharmaceutical Products and advanced to the position of director of scientific and professional information. In spite of her many personal accomplishments, she is known to many on campus simply as “The Tootsie Roll Lady,” as she passes out Tootsie Rolls to everyone from students to local police. In addition to continuing to teach, Professor Helen G. Vassallo with Provost Eric W. Overstrom she would like to write a humorous book on how to manage “term 17,” the period after graduating from college. She’s co-authored two previous books, Local Anesthetics: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Use and Intentional Revolutions: A Seven-Point Strategy for Transforming Organizations. While she has earned a doctorate in physiology from Clark University, an MBA from WPI, and a bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s in pharmacology from Tufts University, she continues to take courses, because, she said, “I’m a course taker. I would rather take a course than eat.” She said she has no intention of retiring or reducing her workload, because, “You’re a long time dead. It’s a one way street. Drink it up.” F  

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(Foisie Donation, continued from page 1)

Ryan said he believes Foisie’s gift will “allow the best and brightest students from around the globe to come to WPI, enable those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend, inspire them to take advantage of all that WPI has to offer, and instill in them the value of giving forward.” Foisie began his career as an engineer at Hamilton Standard Co. and served as chief production engineer at Pratt & Whitney in Hartford, Conn. As a young engineer, he earned a patent for simplifying the design of a fuel control valve for jet aircraft. He is the founder and former president of Matik North America Inc. in West Hartford, Conn., an import, distribution and service firm specializing in paper-processing machinery. He also owned a Swiss company that makes machinery for producing cartons and packaging. He has invested in golf courses, ski resorts and many other types of businesses, and his current entrepreneurial and business interests are in industries ranging from telecommunications to real estate. His gift supports the $200 million “if… The Campaign to Advance WPI”– the largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in university history, which was launched in 2012. F (Top GQP Project, continued from page 3)

They also decided to focus on early-stage research, because taking a new drug through clinical trials and obtaining approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration takes 10 to 20 years, and would lock Girihlet into longterm commitments. The team initially planned to develop a business plan for Girihlet, but faculty advisor Sharon A. Wulf convinced them to narrow the scope of their project. This helped the team make optimal choices about critical areas on which to focus. Having a team that had worked together previously, with the exception of Campbell, helped with organization and expectations, but the project initially took some time to come together. Unsatisfied with its grade at its second progress report, the team bore down and took advantage of the project management skills of team member David G. Roscoe. The students’ work is now being incorporated into a business plan that will be used to secure funding for the company. “We wanted to choose a project that could have an impact; to do something substantial and meaningful,” said Ramaswamy, who knew about Girihlet because he attended undergraduate school with co-founder Ravi Sachidanandam, a professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “What’s the point of studying business if you don’t apply what you’ve learned to a challenge?” F  


Back to the Books

Rice’s Career Change - A Return to Teaching


ark P. Rice turns 65 this year and has stepped down as the first dean of the School of Business, but that doesn’t mean he’s thinking about retiring. He will continue to serve as WPI’s Mark P. Rice vice provost for innovation and entrepreneurship – and will have the opportunity to return to teaching and research. “I hope this will go on for a good long time,” Rice said. Rice considers the renewal of accreditation of the Robert A. Foisie School of Business in 2013 among his most important achievements as dean. The School of Business is one of only a few in the United States with programs accredited by both the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Rice recently served as a member of the AACSB Blue Ribbon Committee on Accreditation Quality, which developed new accreditation standards that were adopted last year. He currently serves as co-chair of the AACSB 2020 Committee, which is looking at the future of business education globally and the role AACSB should play in advancing management education.

Achieving Accreditation “Only five percent of business schools are accredited,” Rice said. “It’s a mark of distinction and a mark of quality. Being part of that community allows our school of business to have a perspective about trends in our industry.” To become accredited, a business must meet strict standards covering factors such as strategic management of resources, interactions among faculty and students in the education process, and student achievement of learning goals. Being accredited provides the School of Business with external benchmarks, so it can compare itself with both peer schools and competing schools. “We learn a lot,” Rice said. “It’s a window to the outside world. People in academia tend to be inward looking, very busy people. Through AACSB, we have a strategic perspective on the development of the School of Business and a context in

which to operate. We can see where higher education is heading.” Accreditation of the School of Business took place under severe deadline pressure. WPI’s management program, which preceded the School of Business, initially was accredited by AACSB in 2003, at a time when accreditation reviews took place every 10 years. Just after that, “massive changes” in the standards took place, but it was nearly a decade before WPI was required to go through the accreditation process again. In February 2013, WPI was reviewed under the 2003 standards, and ironically the standards changed again within a couple of months – when the 2013 standards were

“Only five percent of business schools are accredited ... It’s a mark of distinction and a mark of quality.” approved. WPI’s next accreditation review will take place in early 2018. Under the 2013 standards, three new overarching themes will be assessed – innovation, reflecting changes taking place in the world; impact, within the academy and on the practice of business, and engagement, both academic and professional.

Working with Faculty As the first dean, Rice is also proud of his work with faculty. While he served as dean, several faculty were tenured and promoted to associate professor, and two others were promoted to professor. He also supported programs such as The Collaborative for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI), which led to WPI being ranked the best undergraduate business school in the country for entrepreneurship by BusinessWeek; the STEP project, a global research program for studying multigeneration family enterprises, and the Coleman Fellows program, which supports education that fosters self-employment. Programs that began during his tenure include the Healthcare Delivery Institute, a university-wide research and education collaborative focused on developing new ways to deliver quality care while lowering costs, and the UserXperience and Decision Making Lab (UXDM) which is creating innovative ways

to more fully understand the user experience of products and services offered by companies, so it can help companies improve product quality and competitiveness. Rice initiated and participated in the conversion of the distance-learning education program into a blended program, so that some education is delivered online and the remainder is delivered in person. In addition, Rice worked at building a network for the School of Business. “Great business schools have great networks,” Rice said. “We created a network for alumni and friends to support the business school through events such as the WPI Innovator of the Year Celebration and a series of annual strategy summits. We also launched the Tech Advisors Network, WPI’s virtual incubator, and the Accelerator Fund to invest in entrepreneurs, technologies and new ventures affiliated with WPI.” Alumni and friends of WPI in the School of Business network provide projects, support students and faculty, help launch new ventures and are a significant source of donations, he said.

Best-Selling Author Before joining WPI, Rice spent six years at Babson College as the Murata Dean of the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business and three additional years as the Frederic C. Hamilton Professor for Free Enterprise. Before that, he served as director of the Incubator Program and of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His dissertation research on business incubation was converted into a bestselling book, Growing New Ventures, Creating New Jobs: Principles and Practices of Successful Business Incubation. For the past 20 years, his research has focused on innovation management and the development of entrepreneurship ecosystems. The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management recently accepted an article he co-authored, “University-Based Entrepreneurship Ecosystems: A Global Study of Six Educational Institutions.” Earlier, Rice was co-founder and president of Power Kinetics Inc., a solar energy company that was one of the companies in the inaugural cohort that launched the RPI Incubator Program in 1980. F SUMMER 2014

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100 Institute Road Worcester, MA 01609

WPI Students Recognized for Awards


uring this year’s Student Recognition Reception on May 6, 2014, the following awards were presented:

Maggie Becker, associate director, Career Development Center, received the Outstanding Service Provider Award; Kathryn Remillard ’14 (MSMG) received the Thomas J. Tracy School of Business Spirit Award; José Luis Ortiz Rosero ’14 (IE) was presented with the 2014 Salisbury Prize. Rosero and Sylvia Parol ’14 (MG) were named 2014 Charles O. Thompson scholars. Sonja Kent ’14 (IE) was named to the Congress-Bundstag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, and Haotian (Annie) Zhao ’15 (MTI) was recognized for her work as the student representative on the Graduate Policy and Curriculum Committee (GPCC)

Soussan Djamasbi

The Innovation Exchange’s GRAD 2014 first place award for business and social science projects went to, “Gaze As Input: A New Way To Play Games,” from Siavash Mortazavi ’14 (IMGD) with Soussan Djamasbi as advisor, and the People’s Choice Award went to, “Theory of Technology Acceptance Model and Consumer Behavior,” from Amruta Gorhe ’15 (MTI) with Eleanor Loiacono and Purvi Shah as advisors.

Finalists for the Provost’s MQP Award included, “Opticap XL Output and Workflow Improvement: Examining Production Line Dedication,” from Marina Chevis ’14 (IE), José Luis Ortiz Rosero ’14 (IE) and Veronica Vallenilla ’14 (IE), with Renata Konrad as advisor and EMD Millipore Corporation as sponsor; “Strategy for Increasing Awareness and the Development of a Promotional Plan for a Non-Profit Organization in a University Environment,” from Joshua Croke ’14 (ID), with Sharon Wulf and John Delorey (HU) as advisors, and “Improving the Scheduling of Operating Rooms at UMass Memorial Medical Center,” from Courtney Carroll ’14 (IE), Meredith Juers ’15 (IE) and Sonja Kent ’14 (IE) with Andrew Trapp as advisor and UMass Memorial Medical Center as sponsor. Students inducted as members of Alpha Pi Mu, the honor society for industrial engineering students, were Marina Chevis, Christie Holmes, Abbas Julaih, Jiahui Li, Luis José Rovayo, Aaron Townsend and Xiaoxiao Zhang.



Students and faculty joined together at the Student Recognition Reception.

Students inducted as members of Beta Gamma Sigma, the honor society for business students, included Tyler Alexander, Stephanie Alwais, Carlos Arellano, Joseph Backus, Michael Benz, Suhas Biwalkar, Michael Blair, Marina Chevis, Lisa Claveloux, Nicole Diana, Gary Dunderdale, Bethany Faber, Kevin Griffin, Robert Hatcher, Abbas Julaih, Carl Knerr, Andrew Leone, Jonathan Levin, Jiahui Li, Megan Lindberg, Brian Litke, Elizabeth Louvat, Jiaqi Lu, Xue Luan, Brian Marino, Jacob Mastro, Aditya Nadkarni, Caroline O’Hara, Eric Polson, Sitaram Ramaswamy, Kathryn Remillard, David Roscoe, Luis José Rovayo, Yibin Su, Lan Chi Tran, Ryan Waite, Nathan Ware, Alden Whitney and Bing Yang. Athletic award recipients included, for The Ray Cherenzia ’73 Award, Joey Botelho ’14 (MG), Zach Karalis ’16 (MGE) and Sonja Kent ’14 (IE); Academic All Conference - Liberty League, Brodie Green ’15 (MGE); Academic All Conference - NEWMAC, Sonja Kent ’14 (IE); All Conference, Alex Freilich ’14 (MGE), Sam Longwell ’15 (MGE) and Mike Perruccio ’14 (MIS); All New England/All Region, Alex Freilich ’14 (MGE), Sam Longwell ’15 (MGE) and Mike Perruccio ’14 (MIS); Coaches Associations National Academic Teams, Mike Perruccio ’14 (MIS); Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Kelly Morgan ’14 (MGE); Student-Athlete Leadership Program, Emily Doherty ’16 (IE), Lisa Mendez ’16 (MGE), Richard O’Brien ’17 (MA/MG) and Laili Welton ’16 (MIS), and varsity sports captains, Joey Botelho ’14 (MG), John Kilfoil ’14 (MGE), Sonja Kent ’14 (IE), Kelly Morgan ’14 (MGE) and Mike Perruccio ’14 (MIS).

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WPI TIEs Summer 2014  

Read about the latest events and news at Worcester Polytechnic's Robert A. Foisie School of Business.

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