The University of Evansville yesterday announced they would create a Center for Innovation Engineering in time for the upcoming school year.

University of Evansville

“The new center will intensify the practical nature of its programs, and this Kern Family Foundation-supported project will give UE engineering students an extra edge to compete in our global environment.”

From UE press release.

This puts Evansville at the crest of what seems to be a trend of entrepreneurial engineers. Related Post: Review of book "The Entrepreneurial Engineer"

I imply that it is a trend because of reports from the mainstream media. CNN published an editorial from one student who received a $100,000 fellowship to leave college and start his own business. Dale J. Stephens was one of twenty such dropout-entrepreneurs who received such seed money.

The Miami Herald reported last month that young entrepreneurs see their own businesses as their best chance to make at least a little bit of money in a portion of the country were unemployment is 13 and a half percent.

Coming back to Evansville, one of the great things about a degree in engineering is that, upon graduation, you have the skill set to be able to create any number of products that people might find useful. The problem for many engineers is that they have no idea how to go about rendering those services to potential clients. I personally see market openings in which I could have attempted to built a business. Many of my fellow graduates will probably begin to move the same way when they don't find a "job" by the end of the summer.

On another note, the fact that the College of Engineering would rather hire their own entrepreneur rather than depend on the School of Business just a hundred yards away says at least a little something. Schools of Business have been foundering in the economic climate for various reasons. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduates with degrees in finance, management, and marketing all face below-average job outlooks over the next 1-3 years. Schools of Business nationwide are facing questions on what needs to change in curricula to help their students in a "new economy." At Evansville, that means that classes in entrepreneurship are being dropped from the requirements for some degrees.

It is also important to note the importance of the Kern Foundation. The foundation is based in Wisconsin, run by the family who created Generac corporation. Evansville is one of 18 colleges to receive the grant, including some well-known names in the field (e.g. Illinois Institute of Technology, Villanova, Boston University). I see every reason to think this is another good decision by the CECS.