UW News

August 3, 2006

Business School gets $1.5 million gift

The UW Business School has announced the gift of $1.5 million from Robert J. Herbold, managing director of Herbold Group, LLC, to establish an endowed professorship in entrepreneurship and a venture creation laboratory within the school’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

One-third of Herbold’s gift will be used to establish the Robert J. Herbold Professor of Entrepreneurship while $1 million will be used to build the Robert J. Herbold Venture Creation Lab. Faculty members from various academic disciplines teach through the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, whose goals include providing education and training for future entrepreneurs and scholars and nurturing the development of future companies.

The retired executive vice president and chief operating officer of Microsoft believes innovation and entrepreneurship are key issues and should be elements of a business education.

“The University of Washington is a tremendous asset to our region that we should all treasure, foster and support,” said Herbold. “Regardless of what they study, I believe young people benefit greatly from exposure to innovation and entrepreneurship. Also, our society benefits tremendously when a student gets excited about business and exhibits the kind of ingenuity and creativity the UW’s entrepreneurship program fosters. I hope this gift will help make this kind of thing happen more often. I want students to get excited about business, which is fast-moving and demands ingenuity and creativity. Business is all about putting bright ideas in front of people who will pay money for them.”

Established in 1991, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship operates within the UW to promote entrepreneurship education and practice to students and faculty who are interested in creating companies. When completed, the Herbold Venture Creation Lab will provide technological resources and spaces for students from multiple disciplines who want to work collaboratively on developing business plans and analyze the commercialization of UW technologies.

Business School Dean James Jiambalvo said the creation of the Herbold Venture Lab represents a major milestone for the center and will help with the school’s efforts to recruit top faculty with entrepreneurial expertise.

“We have the entrepreneurship curriculum in place and with this very generous gift we will be able to provide students with a laboratory dedicated to venture creation,” said Jiambalvo. “Bob’s contribution will allow students from across campus to work on their new ventures, meet with an entrepreneur in residence, or practice their investor pitches.”

Herbold holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Cincinnati and earned a master’s degree in mathematics and a doctorate in computer science from Case Western Reserve University. After spending 26 years at Procter & Gamble Co., he served as chief operating officer of Microsoft from 1994 until 2001. He is managing director of Herbold Group, LLC, a consulting firm, and is a UW Business School advisory board member. An accomplished author, public speaker and consultant, he sits on the boards of several major corporations and is an adjunct professor at the National University of Singapore.

Since the Business School began its building fundraising efforts in 2002, it has raised more than $47 million from private donors, as well as a commitment of $40 million from the University toward the $120 million building project. Groundbreaking for the new building is set for 2008.