Driven to provide students with timely and relevant learning experiences, we believe that alumni in the trenches are often best situated to serve as catalysts for program creation. Our fall 2018 real estate case competition highlights this model of collaboration. Borne out of a conversation with alumni in the real estate industry, we developed an experiential learning opportunity to improve student financial literacy through the analysis of an actual real estate development project at Lafayette.
Student participation and feedback was overwhelmingly positive and shortly after the conclusion of our competition, the president of our student investment club inquired about doing a similar event around venture capital.
One of the roles of the Dyer Center is to connect fledgling student entrepreneurs to alumni who can provide helpful professional advice. As an example a student recently approached the center seeking advice on a seed funding offer he received for his educational start up. Unsure of his next steps, I connected him with an alumnus from the west coast whose legal practice focuses on venture capital. It was a great example of how one generation of pards can pay it forward to the next.
Students self-select into Dyer Center programming, which in many ways serves as a proxy for hard to measure qualities such as curiosity and ambition. Through our programming, students learn about opportunity identification and customer discovery while practicing integrative thinking, intelligent risk taking, and team building. In short our students are among the best of the best. If you work in a startup or entrepreneurial firm and are looking for new talent, I encourage you to reach out and partner with the Dyer Center.
I often jest that having a supportive college administration for your program means they will support your efforts as long as you can raise your own money to do it. In the past year we were fortunate to receive a foundational gift to support entrepreneurship at Lafayette from Bradbury Dyer ‘64. It provided us critical runway to experiment and build, but we are still in need of financial support to scale and broaden our efforts. If you share our vision that innovation and entrepreneurship is critical for individual and collective success, I encourage you to support the Dyer Center as part of your Lafayette philanthropy.